Home' Community Care Review : CCR Aug-Spt 2015 Contents Sydney company inTouch
Living has developed
a digital care platform
to facilitate social interactions
between home care clients with
similar interests and to keep
older people connected to family
Home care providers can use
the platform to offer their clients
a range of social services such
as video conferencing, two-way
messaging, online forums, photo
sharing, noticeboards, alerts and reminders and activities like brain
games and learning a new language.
InTouch Living CEO Jeremy Trouncer says it's a "huge waste"
that there were so many older people with so much experience and
wisdom who felt cut off from their communities and that digital
technology could help address this problem.
He says clients were generally very positive about using the
platform and they had a real yearning to understand and get
involved in the new technology because they heard about it from
their family and friends.
Trouncer says it's easy for care providers and their clients to get
started; all they need is a tablet or set-top box to link to a television
and connect it up via a web portal. InTouch install the equipment
and then train care providers who in turn train their clients to use
"You can start very small and have a couple of the fundamental
features like video calls and messaging, then build it up to include
discussion forums, photo sharing and games based on what the
client wants, their interests and their capabilities."
The platform helps community care providers build up their
social support services and differentiate themselves from other
care providers, giving them an edge in an increasingly crowded and
competitive market, he says.
"The key advantages compared to a more traditional social
support model are around the frequency of interactions. You can
connect more often and with a wide group of people," he says.
"Once you have that connection to your client it doesn't
have to be limited to the social connection. It could be a case
management model and you can start to use it as a remote care
channel. It's part of a service,
not a stand-alone technology."
Trouncer says the software
and platform works out at about
$45 per month and a full service,
which also includes phone-in
support and content, is around
$130 per month.
NSW community care provider
KinCare ran an inTouch pilot last
year to test out the technology
and following positive results,
it has now been rolled out to 35
clients with a couple of hundred expected to use it in the long run.
KinCare's national product sponsor Lauren Pearce says some
clients were initially cautious about learning something new but
relaxed after being coached by KinCare home care workers.
"When they realise that it wasn't that hard their confidence levels
built so then they took off," Pearce says.
Crucially, KinCare employed a dedicated worker to provide
support and troubleshooting advice so that clients didn't feel lost
or give up if something went wrong. Home care workers provide
additional training, if needed.
Pearce says the most popular features are video calls with
family overseas or interstate or those which linked up two or
three friends or people who were matched because they had
"The feedback has been that being able to see their family
members is important. You can tell in the group calls too -- when
they see each other's faces it makes it very real. They're usually
quite excited to meet other people when it's a multi-party call,"
KinCare's national business development manager Vanessa
Zamprogno says the company decided to rollout the program to
help combat the social isolation some clients experienced.
"If people are feeling low, depressed or anxious because they are
socially isolated that can have an impact on their physical health
and general wellbeing. This certainly helps them," Zamprogno says.
Since the pilot, clients have started to use their tablets in other
ways too. During the recent NSW storms a Hunter Valley couple
used their tablets to contact KinCare and assure staff that they were
safe when their phone line and power went down. n
to stay in touch
Social inclusion services utilising technology are helping to keep older
people connected with each other and with family and friends while breaking
down loneliness and isolation, writes MARIE SANSOM.
InTouch Living social care platform
44 | AUGUST 2015
Engagement, community connection & outreach
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