New device aiming to tackle social care crisis piloted in Telford and Wrekin

A new device means less carers are needed to look after more people.

Telford and Wrekin Council are running a pilot scheme using technology to help tackle social care problems.

The scheme, which started after the first covid pandemic, sees people given a special device that they can use to contact carers as and when they need to during the night.

A team then responds directly to the call-outs, meaning people can receive bespoke care without the need for a sit in service.

The devices differ from others on the market by being fully mobile, meaning people can use them in and out of their homes, they have GPS trackers which can help locate people who might wander, and has software which sends an automatic alert if the wearer falls.

Coral Chaproniere, who provides night shifts for the Council, says it means they can help a lot more people at once.

"Before we had the Oysta buzzers we could only do two night sits, which would be one carer in one house, another carer in another house, sitting  from 10pm til 7am, whereas now we are doing shorter visits throughout the night we can see up  to 20-30 people in the night, meaning we can help more people. 

"It's busier but it's great because we can help more people which is ultimately what we want  to do.

"Some of the people who use the buzzers told ITV News that it is a lifeline, and they don't know what they would do without it."

Mary Howsden uses it a couple of times a week, to get help using the toilet during the night.

"I don't have them out for anything else,  only if I need the toilet. and I'm desperate. They;re usually pretty quick.i don't  think I've had to wait too long and I don't. know what I'd do without it."

Paul Munro also praises the service. "It basically means that if I have a problem then I have a lifeline there to call out to and I can get that support I need, and being able to have that lifeline it means a lot.

"Previously I've had occasions where I've gone from 7o'clock in the evening to 9am in the morning. without cover and if you've had an accident or something then it's a long time to be lying there without. support and somebody to call on."

Telford and Wrekin Council say that whilst it started as a pilot service, the success means that they are going to look at expanding it to other care providers so that more people can benefit from the system.

They say it helps people leave hospital sooner, and avoids them having to go into residential care if they don't want to, as they have care on hand when they need it.

Helen Cottrell, Senior Assistive Technology and Sensory Impairment Officer for the Council, also says that whilst it isn't a cost-saving exercise,  it means that fewer carers are needed, which is useful as the area is facing the same nationwide issues with recruitment.

'This really about ensuring that people have more control about how their care is provided.  it's not about saving money or not having enough carers to provide the support.  It is about giving more choice to people about how they receive the care they need.'

The service has also been given the approval of Telford and Wrekin's Healthwatch group who says that whilst 'one size doesn't fit all' it seems an 'innovative scheme' that helps care for more people at once.