COBALT at Sheffield 23rd May

We had 55 attendees including older adults, health and social care staff, academics, third sector workers such as Age UK, assistive living technology (ALT) industry members and commissioning staff from the NHS and City Councils.
The day started with a Technology Interaction session where we asked attendees to work in pairs and use an item of ALT that ourselves and Docobo, City Wide Care Alarms, Simpla Solutions and Age UK Personal Alarms had supplied.
Attendees fed-back that they particularly saw a use for medication devices such as pill dispensers and the pill popper as well as the Docobo Care Portal to monitor their own health.
The themes that came out of this session were that personalisation is key and that a try before you buy scheme is something people would like to see. Following this there was a Q&A panel with Steven Haigh from the Right First Time Programme and Jayne Stocks, Clinical Lead for Assistive Technology at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust which provoked a lively debate. We then had an activity around service re-design where attendees suggested a community hub, trial service and local ALT champion as changes they would like to see.
On the afternoon session there was a presentation by Claire Bentley, Research Associate on the Barriers to Telecare project at the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). Claire discussed some of the findings from the project which has used interviews with people who are not currently telecare users including issues around cost, stigma and awareness of which telecare products are available.

We then had a Q&A with one of our Pioneer Group participants. She was more open to technology because of the group and that we should harness things such as telecare than can help as we get older. Finally we had an action planning activity where attendees detailed what they would do as a result of the day. These included collaborating with people they had met on the day and researching new technologies for themselves and service users.

Before the summary of the day attendees completed feedback forms which were overwhelmingly positive. The main theme for positive feedback was that the day had been a great networking opportunity which had given attendees the potential to work together.

This was fantastic considering the main aim of the day was to bring people together to overcome the barrier to ALT adoption of lack of service integration.
The next step is to replicate the success of this event in Swindon (13th June), Edinburgh (20th June) and Cambridge (11th July). To book your place please email Dr. Maggie Ellis on

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