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New SMART Project launched in local Care Homes


A local community project designed to support care homes and their residents to use smart interactive technology has been launched in Torbay and South Devon.

Digital Health Devon is an award-winning, NHS-supported e-learning tool which was created to show people how to access local health, social care and wellbeing services using the internet. It is one of the key community projects we manage here at Engaging Communities South West (ECSW).

They have now been commissioned by both Torbay Council and the Integrated Care System for Devon to run a separate project in collaboration with care home managers and their residents in Torbay and South Devon.

Digital Health Devon are looking to provide care homes with selected SMART technology equipment such as Amazon Alexa devices and also full training to show how residents can make best use if this and communicate effectively with friends and family. All completely free of charge.

Devices such as Alexa can help people with limited mobility regain some of their autonomy, with the potential to use their voice to control their environment, operate light switches and temperature, set medication reminders, select certain music and even call their friends and family.

“Many areas are embracing technology to support how care is delivered, with studies showing that smart interactive technology has a part to play in maintaining and improving the wellbeing of care home residents.” Said Digital Health Devon project lead Simon Culley, “The majority of us use technical devices as part of our daily lives, and there is a need to ensure that they are being used to their full potential to support provision of care outside of hospital.”

“During the COVID pandemic we have shown people the benefits of using everyday digital services like shopping for food online and we really hope we can offer a similarly beneficial service to care home staff and residents.” 

Ferzand Mungar at Carl Court Residential Home

The first cohort of device delivery and training has now begun with Carl Court Residential Home in Babbacombe, Torquay. Farzard Mungar, Carl Court Manager, was delighted to work with Digital Health Devon:

“We are very happy to work with the Digital Health Devon Team and take them up on the offer of receiving SMART devices to benefit our residents. They are going to be really helpful in supporting us to assist or entertain our residents, and they are very excited about starting to use them and reap the benefits. We can all see how incorporating this kind of technology into our daily routines could improve the wellbeing of our residents and we’re extremely grateful to be part of this project. On behalf of our residents and staff I can’t thank Digital Health Devon enough for their support.”

The project work has also involved setting up a Project Advisory Group consisting of project staff, Care Home Managers, Dementia specialists and other relevant stakeholders in order to share learning across the Care Home Network. It aims to work with Care Home managers to establish a network of champion expertise in smart digital technology, to support resident wellbeing especially digital links to friends, family and community.

This project links to the national NHS framework for Enhanced Health in Care Homes (EHCH) work lead by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (T&SDFT) and aims to increase community participation and digital connection for residents.

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