Video chat to support the vulnerable in Essex

Essex County Council, with its Local Authority Trading Company ECL (Essex Cares Ltd.), is rolling out a pilot study into the use of video calls as part of care packages for individuals using their short-term support and reablement service.

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Video chat to support the vulnerable in Essex

The study has been funded by the Local Government Association (LGA), in collaboration with NHS Digital, to use digital technology to improve social care services.

The innovative pilot will trial a secure video call system, fitted into the homes of vulnerable adults, to see how it can support people to live more independent lives and provide more cost effective and integrated care. Two different systems will be used depending on the person's needs and preference; Breezie and SpeakSet.

It aims to help people to work closer with care services using digital channels, promote independence and wellbeing, and give care workers more flexibility.

The pilot follows the recent announcement of the short term support contract, awarded to ECL and set to help up to 7,500 people across the county. This service will mean an individual's longer term needs are assessed when their situation has stabilised rather than at the point of crisis.

"It is important that we keep pace with new technology. I am pleased that Essex is trialling this system to have a positive impact on people's lives. It will allow our vulnerable adults to live independently, providing them with something that is accessible from the comfort of their own homes."

Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, Essex County Council

"We are delighted to be pioneering a new method of providing care and well-being across the county. We are also very proud that we can offer innovative methods of communication within the care sector, which will hopefully enable more people to live as independently as possible."

Keir Lynch, Chief Executive, ECL

ECL hope that video chat technology will be more convenient and prove a less intrusive method of interacting with a care worker, friends and family - strengthening access to our customers support network at a time they may be feeling vulnerable.

The pilot will be made up of 40 people, identified at the point of referral and assessment into a reablement or short term support service. Each person will receive a communication device and/or telephone and internet connection along with full training on how to use the equipment, helping them to live and enjoy life as independently as possible.

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