Alcove digital tech Suffolk County Council
The Cassius Video Carephone provided a lifeline for Susan, 60, for when she couldn’t visit her day centre at Ferriers Barn in Bures during lockdown.

Digital care service Alcove has partnered with health and care transformation agency Rethink to shine a beacon on digital care with a groundbreaking rapid rollout of digital technology to help care for the elderly and vulnerable people of Suffolk.

Earlier this year, Alcove, which delivers connected care technology systems for local authorities, and its partners won a contract worth £15 million to deliver an innovative care technology service on behalf of Suffolk County Council.

In an exceptionally short time frame of just 50 days, Rethink Partners and Alcove have stated that it has already delivered training to over 500 social care practitioners in the new Cassius technology.

As well as improving lives, Suffolk County Council has saved over £170,000 off the cost of care for residents, over-achieving the agreed target and delivering ROI returns of over 300 per cent the level of investment in the technology spend.

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Key to this fast-paced impact has been the work on changing culture and staff attitudes with Rethink Partners and Alcove finding that confidence in recommending care technology as part of a care package has increased substantially.

The firms stated that by the end of training in Q3, there was a staggering 1500 per cent increase in confidence, while of the people using Cassius devices so far, 94 per cent of users said they would recommend Alcove.

One of the most popular products, Alcove and Rethink Partners state, has been the Alcove digital sensors linked to the Alcove hub, which allows practitioners and care workers to supervise the service user remotely and collect data routinely on their wellbeing and daily living habits.

Support for daily living and to enhance safety and independence is also provided through devices such as the Cassius Communicate Video Carephones, which were initially rolled out across the south east in huge numbers during the first lockdown.

Suffolk County Council’s plan to adopt care technology on a much larger scale led to awarding the contract to Alcove and Rethink Partners to provide a fully digital service for the next three to four years.

The full service is hoped to be fully rolled out across Suffolk by October, with planning underway to enhance the technology offering further, provide even greater training (including e-learning) and the commencement of ‘data clinics’.

Other plans include the option to purchase devices privately in future – an option for people who may not be in receipt of social care but still require support.

Sam Bassett, Digital Care and Innovation Lead at Suffolk County Council said: “We are so proud of the rapid progress and great results our partnership approach with Rethink Partners and Alcove has achieved already – and there is so much more untapped potential to come.

“We are really excited in Suffolk to be pioneering a truly digital and aspirational approach to care technology for local residents, and to be able to stand behind clear evidence of the immense impact that a groundbreaking digital offer and approach can deliver.

“Most importantly, the residents are really satisfied with the technology and the service. A really great start to the Cassius service.”

County councils across the UK have been showing an increased interest in embracing new technology to help people living independently at home. Falkirk Council recently became the first local authority in Scotland to go live with an end-to-end digital telecare service.

Meanwhile, East Sussex County Council commissioned Doro Care UK to provide a telecare service model and welfare call checking service for local residents in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to reduce face-to-face contact.

Similarly, Cardiff Council has been working with HAS Technology, as part of the local authority’s telecare response service, to provide residents with innovative wearable solutions that can help to identify certain health risks early on.

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