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Health and Social Care Staff – from Sarah

We’ve been really busy on the COBALT project in recent months and haven’t had a lot of time to write so here’s a brief summary of how we have involved Health and Social Care staff in our research this summer. First of all we did some great workshops with staff in Dundee and Sheffield where we asked them which technologies they love and hate (replicating what we had done earlier with Older Adults) and we found out some really interesting things.  We saw a whole host of professionals, with 16 in total, from Occupational Therapists in the Health and Social Care Trust and Support Workers in Extra Care. One of the most common technologies that people brought along as an example of something they loved was the good old mobile phone. These ranged from the simple Nokia 3210 to the iPhone but it seems not many people can survive without this! The second part of the session was where we tried something new – vignettes with scenarios about fictional older adults such as Ron and Jessie with Jessie being a lady who has dementia and Ron being her husband. Through this we asked staff about the referral process and which technologies they would recommend for people in those circumstances as well as the barriers and enablers to helping them adopt technologies. The people we spoke to said families are gate keepers to technology such as the ‘Just Checking’ monitoring system and that sometimes just getting in the door to see people can be a challenge and so good people skills are essential. So in summary there was a whole host of issues staff tackle on a daily basis but they viewed having the most appropriate solution for the older person as the key thing…whether it be a piece of technology such as a community alarm or a low tech solution like a tea making work station. We analysed these results into themes including ‘Enablers to Adoption’ and ‘Barriers to Adoption’ and grouped them into practical, psychological and social factors. From these sessions we thought we needed to know more about the chain of events for NHS and other Health and Social Care Trust and Extra Care staff and that is what we are doing at the minute at the sites in St Andrews and Sheffield. This is going really well and I am sure we will have lots of interesting things to share soon. Until next time!

Sarah, COBALT Researcher, Sheffield