Care homes of the future: Prof Ala Szczepura on telecare and skill-mix innovations

alaProfessor Ala Szczepura Executive Director of the new Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research CTEHR) at Coventry University gave the final lecture of 2014 in the Community and Health Research Unit’s Improvement Science and Research Methods Seminar Series on ‘Care homes of the future: emerging evidence on the role of telecare and skill-mix innovations’. Prof Szczepura, who has a long and distinguished track record as a health services researcher, spoke to staff from the School of Health and Social Care, local NHS Trusts and CaHRU on the potential for new technology to bridge the gap between the increasing burden of comorbidity associated with ageing to enable people to age well and reduce dependency.

She described how levels of morbidity were particularly high in the half a million people resident in care homes, 60% who and have dementia and 25% with a long term condition, and how clients and staff in care homes were neglected in research and policy. She then described three studies involving in-reach nursing teams, decision support, and safer prescribing, each of which had led to some positive benefits.

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Prof Szczepura went on to describe ways forward which included introducing new systems to support the care home workforce to enhance quality of care and patient safety, enabling wider professional development of the social care workforce to perform specific clinical support tasks, facilitating partnership working with NHS since savings and benefits are often to the NHS, and the need to encourage introduction of more technology in long-term residential care settings such as expert systems for polypharmacy alerts, clinical decision-support systems and remote monitoring.


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