Keeping Tech Human
Founder Christina Handasyde Dick knows that caring is the ultimate human activity. “It’s one of the last human functions that cannot be imitated or replaced by even the most advanced of technologies,” she says.
However, this year Guardian Angel Carers has really seen IT come into its own for our businesses, while millions of people have engaged for the first time with video-calling, messaging and a whole range of health and lifestyle apps.
“Imagine the past year without mobile phones, tablets, broadband, Zoom, Facebook and WhatsApp,” says Christina.
“Tech has been a real lifeline for so many families. And we’re seeing older relatives who might otherwise have resisted technology, now confidently hitting the Facetime button and getting an essential fix of meaningful contact with children and grand-children, but also with their carers,” Christina adds.
“Of course, even video-calling is no substitute for real, human contact. So, we embrace IT in every way possible, not to replace care in person, but always to improve the overall service we provide, to maintain independence and to combat loneliness.”
An Early Lead
Guardian Angel Carers embraced technology right from the start and has always used it in the back-office to good effect for admin, time-planning and management. However, we’re now putting in place a platform that will take our business – and that of our franchisees – to the next level, in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
“Longer term, we can start to imagine other, more creative, more human areas in which technology will impact on the way we look after people, how people manage their health and extend their independence,” Christina comments.
Simplicity in Systems
Franchise Recruitment Manager Vicky Brown, comments, “For our franchisees – and for anyone out there who is considering talking to us about franchising – the best news of all may be the simplest of IT messages: a single system for the management of all your care delivery needs.”
“We’re aware that many people working in the care sector constantly having to juggle different applications for various admin tasks, which is nobody’s idea of fun, and is unlikely to be the reason anyone went into the sector in the first place. And so we’re streamlining absolutely everything into a single system for the office, for carers, for families and for clients.”
“A CMS that encompasses staffing information, client information, rosters, care plans, data capture, HR, financial management, medication management. An easy to access app so that family members can participate in and monitor the care their relative is receiving. And a section for clients with a range of communication, organization and medical functions that help them to keep degrees of control and independence.”
Supporting the Daily Workload
“We’re also supporting this roll-out with a full-time IT support at our head office to help train and support franchisees and your people,” says Vicky.
“The message to potential franchisees is that our technology package will make your life easier and your business better. The Guardian Angel Carers package will significantly reduce your start-up costs, automate many administrative tasks, help you to achieve CQC compliance and rating, bring innovation into your overall offering, and optimize the service you offer.”
“Louise Cobban, managing director of our Spelthorne franchise, told us that our use of technology was one of the key reasons she chose Guardian Angel Carers, and she now describes it as another ‘pillar of care’,
“GAC’s innovative use of technology enabled us to make dramatic improvements to our compliance and administration. Now, we’re working on IT that enables clients to control the cost of care and extend their own independence and peace of mind, by using video-calling alongside in-person visits, for example. Having embraced technology as a result of the pandemic, we feel that people are much more receptive to innovation.” – Louise Cobban, Guardian Angel Carers franchise managing director.
Tech Care for the Future
“Looking further ahead, we’re also aware that IT is going to become more and more useful – not just in terms of administration and business efficiencies, but in the actual care and therapeutic side of what we do,” says Christina.
“Consider this. Two of the big things that get older people to the crisis point at which they may contemplate giving up their independence are falls and repeated UTIs. The technology to help this already exists – a sensor on the fridge, kettle or tap, for example, could track the fluid consumption that helps prevent UTIs; a motion sensor in the house could remind someone to maintain a movement regime that will help with their mobility and health.”
“We’ll continue to assess every aspect of our organisation, and ensure that we take advantage of what technology has to offer – whether it’s helping us do 100 things one percent better, or one thing 100 percent better.”