Loneliness remains a high priority on the Government’s agenda, with the prime minister announcing the launch of the first ever loneliness strategy. And while this approach will have a huge impact on a large number of individuals across the UK, there are still hordes of people who are falling under the radar and suffering in silence. The care sector puts great focus on the wellbeing of patients, but what about the carers who are spending a considerable amount of time caring for their client or loved one?
Clearly in an industry struggling with chronic levels of under-resourcing, carers experience elevated levels of stress and pressure. This is having an alarming impact on their health, with 71% suffering from poor physical or mental health. Everyday they face a new set of challenges that will not only drum up feelings of anxiety, but will lead onto other mental health problems. As they strive to overcome the pressures they are under and provide the best possible service, carers can begin to push their needs aside, leading to an overwhelming sense of isolation.
Intelligent Led Care
There are simple steps that can radically improve the overall experience for carers. Using digital technology to reduce admin and increase client contact time is an obvious step, improving the experience for not just the carer but the client too. But that is just the start: the fundamental requirement is a way to provide carers with access to real-time information so they’re able to monitor their client’s day to day behaviour. IoT sensors can do just this. Combined with an AI algorithm, once a pattern has been confirmed the solution can immediately detect if a client’s behaviour falls outside the norm. Having an overview of each client’s activity will be incredibly powerful; essentially the carer is forewarned of a potential problem with a client – eradicating feelings of anxiety.
The addition of an easy-to-use app to log important details about the clients and their care plans will help to reduce these feelings even further. Using this technology, care providers can efficiently monitor how many clients require a greater level of care and how many visits a carer is making in one day. This will help to facilitate greater organisation when it comes to managing workload, and in turn, will ensure carers aren’t being restricted from spending time with friends and family – a key factor that could lead to loneliness.
Taking Care of Loved Ones
It’s not just professional carers that feel the strain, 2.4 million sandwich carers in the UK also need support. Giving their loved ones the greatest possible care is the number one priority for this silent generation of carers, but this can have a negative impact on their own mental health. The ability to juggle a full-time job and a full-time care role can be very difficult, leading to extreme levels of stress. With the implementation of IoT technology, sandwich carers can monitor their loved one remotely and be reassured that they’re safe and happy, and have more time to conduct other tasks without having to worry. This will not only help to eliminate any feelings of isolation and loneliness, but will ensure that the right steps are being taken to provide these carers with a happier and healthier life.
Mental health is becoming an ever more prevalent issue for the healthcare sector. And as the population expands and demographics change, it has become vital that we address the escalating levels of stress that are affecting a carer’s well-being.
Carers need support. They need more information, better access to resources and, critically, more chance to care. By leveraging digital technology and IoT to provide a real-time view of a client’s or loved one’s behaviour, pressures will be alleviated and stressors of being a carer will be reduced. This will be essential to not only reducing the number of carers feeling lonely, but will release them to spend more time doing the job they love: caring.