Q&A with Lynn Roddy, Director of Home Instead Tavistock & Tamar Valley
Ahead of Anthropos featuring on BBC Click this weekend, we spoke with Lynn Roddy, Director of Home Instead Tavistock & Tamar Valley about how Anthropos has impacted their care offering and as a result, their clients.
How do you use Anthropos’ technology in your job?
For us it starts with having very early conversations with our clients and their family. We talk through what their pinch points and worries are, then recommend technology on that basis.
Often clients are apprehensive about installing technology in the home – there’s a bit of a stigma around it being intrusive, but we always explain how subtle it is. These devices are in the background – there’s no audio or video, and they just inform caregivers and help give a bigger picture of an older person’s daily routine, and where they might need extra help.
Extra help doesn’t always mean extra care. The insights can even lead to a small solution, like installing a sign on laminated paper saying “Have a cup of tea at 7am”. Something like this might seem minor, but can really help an older person who isn’t drinking enough fluids.
How does it benefit you and your clients from day to day?
One of our clients has a beloved caregiver, who finds the system really useful. Every morning she checks to see what’s been going on through the sensors, and that lets her know what kind of night the client has had. This really helps the caregiver shape how she interacts with the client accordingly. For example, if the client’s had a bad night, our caregiver can go in and know she may take longer to get up, and may need a nap later on. Then if another carer goes in later in the day, that information can be shared and will help shape what the client’s evening looks like too. It’s a much more tailored approach.
The technology can also help with more serious problems. If we spot an older person getting up more during the night, for example, we can involve medical professionals and see if there’s anything extra we need to consider like a change in medication or a blood test.
Connected care has really helped caregivers of those with dementia too, enabling them to spot side effects. Some dementia sufferers lose the ability to recognise the difference between day and night, and end up not sleeping until the early hours of the morning. Anthropos’ technology can really help here by providing that insight, and allowing caregivers to adjust support around the change in a client’s routine and sleeping habits.
How has Anthropos helped during the pandemic, and the various restrictions placed upon older people and care?
We’ve had so many families who haven’t been able to be in the same building as their loved one over the past year, and short visits to the front door don’t tell you much about how someone’s actually getting on. The system in these situations has provided so much reassurance, and allows families to interact with caregivers in such a collaborative and personalised way.
What is your favourite element of the Anthropos technology?
For me it’s the client activity graph. This essentially tells you everything you need to know about someone’s routine – and it can be surprising! From night time waking, low fluid intake, or a fridge that’s never opened…The graph really just helps us to put the pieces of the jigsaw together, and work out what happens in someone’s home when their caregivers aren’t around.
You recently won an outstanding Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating – congratulations! Has Anthropos contributed to you doing your job to the highest standard?
Absolutely. The technology helps tick all the boxes that our care is assessed on, like how safe clients are, and how responsive we are to issues. Connected care isn’t technology for technology’s sake. It really does support people, and meets so many of the CQC’s requirements.
What advice would you give to anyone considering connected care?
Just go for it. Don’t be frightened of it! I can’t deny that we were apprehensive to start with, but it’s ultimately been so rewarding, and so much simpler to use than you’d think.
The last year has shown us how vital technology is in keeping people connected, whether it’s families, friends, or caregivers and clients.
Connected care plays a big part in helping us keep certain clients at home for much longer than they would otherwise be, and they’re much healthier too. It’s just a better outcome all round.