74 percent of housing providers say requirements for wellbeing tech have changed due to COVID, new survey reveals
New research by technology-enabled care service (TECS) provider Appello and the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (HLIN) indicates that COVID-19 will become the catalyst for greater use of well-designed technology to support clients in supported housing.
The study, which surveyed 120 senior executives from providers of supported, sheltered and retirement housing, revealed that 85 percent of housing associations and sheltered housing providers believe their organisation’s perceptions on using technology to support resident’s wellbeing has changed for the better during the pandemic.
Painting a promising picture for the future of digital care technologies, findings also showed that almost three-quarters of housing providers claim that their requirements for wellbeing technology have changed as a result of the pandemic.
The results of the survey, which are being published in a series of reports from Appello, found that 90 percent of those surveyed planned to utilise technology further to support residents who may have to self-isolate or shield as a result of the pandemic.
“Technology and innovation can have a significant benefit on the lives of vulnerable residents, and it is evident that during COVID-19 there has been disparity between those with, and those without, access to modern technology,” commented Tim Barclay, Appello CEO.
As housing providers look forward, investing in better communication capabilities will be a priority, Appello adds, with 97 percent of respondents believing their usage of technology to communicate with residents will increase following COVID-19.
In addition, the survey outlined that the benefits of video communication have been evident in home and work life during the pandemic and housing providers are specifically looking to embrace these capabilities with their clients; 8 out of 10 housing providers feel video communication between staff and residents is becoming increasingly important.
Tim continued: “From video bingo to music being played over the emergency call system, we have seen customers really embracing technology when it has been well designed, is easy to use and is focussed on their needs.
“A great example of how tech solutions have helped support customers through self-isolation is the 192% increase in the use of video calling we have seen on our Smart Living Solutions.
“Communication is incredibly important for wellbeing, and we have been pleased that we have enabled residents to maintain their social networks and keep in contact with staff working remotely.”
The survey also highlighted that prioritisation will be critical for housing providers in their drive for greater technology usage. Top of the agenda, the research noted, will be enabling staff to work from home, whilst maintaining visibility of property and customers (89 percent) and supporting residents to maintain their social networks (89 percent).
Jeremy Porteus, Chief Executive of the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (HLIN), concluded: “2020 has put to bed any debate about the greater use of digital technology in supported housing.
“Where access to technology has been available, we have seen stories of embracement and empowerment that have helped older adults and people with support needs sustain their care and support services and remain connected with the outside world in challenging times.
“Housing providers are realising it is time to invest in technology for the benefits of their customers, staff and organisation.”