A pilot project is being launched by a local council to increase the use of assistive technology in adult social care.
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council will soon be launching a project using behavioural science to increase the use of assistive technologies for elderly and less able residents in the area.
By carrying out the project the council aims to educate and assist more local residents in the developing technology, such as the Amazon Echo, to demonstrate the benefits it can bring and how it will impact their lives.
One of the hardest areas for the council within the project is encouraging the older generation of residents to engage in using the technology, according to the council. The council hopes the behavioural insights will be used to inspire elderly residents to use the technology in their homes.
“I think people are sometimes put off because they think of technology as being complicated,” Dave Tyrell, Project Manager of Knowsley Council said, according to UK Authority. “We want to look at what people understand about how it works, with the keywords being ‘awareness’ and ‘training’.”
A further aim of the project is to demonstrate to residents the ease of using the technology by helping them figure out how to use it, as well as showing them the benefits that it will bring at the touch of a button.
The council has found a large barrier for many residents is the cost implications that the technology will bring to them. However, the council has two approaches to overcome this; the first will be to offer devices to residents on a twelve week period free of charge and the second will be offering the devices for a free period when residents are discharged from hospitals.
Another way of encouraging residents to take up the technology is ensuring social work teams present the technology in a way that will urge residents to invest.
“We have about 250 practitioners and we want them to be able to show people it can be good for them,” Tyrell said. “One of our targets is people who might be in great need and can use the technology as a prevention measure. It could be as simple and presentable as an Amazon Echo device.”
The programme will be funding by a £25,000 grant from the Local Government Association (LGA) as well as matching funds from the councils own resources. The project is expected to continue up to March 2019 and aims to increase the take up of technology by 10-12% over the next year.