The challenges facing the home care sector are well known and increasing. There is a need for improved sustainability, greater recognition for care staff and for a shift towards a preventative, relationship-based and person-led model of care that will support people to live independently for longer and lead to better outcomes for those being supported. Sadly this story is supported by statistics such as a staff turnover of around a quarter, and quotations from frontline staff such as in our report ‘Fragile Foundations’ on staff mental wellbeing “a lot of the time I drive out, pull into the next stop and cry”.

This subjectivity can make it harder for us to re-imagine a better future and so we commissioned work with the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) Innovation school to challenge our thinking and turn it into areas of opportunity based upon current trends, and to make tangible the way in which home care could change in the future.
The Project Aim was to creatively explore and prototype a future of care at home that is underpinned by the National Health and Social Care Standards and engages a dynamically different sector.

Methodology

The methodology was in two parts.

Firstly on the ‘Here and Now’, with the purpose of identifying challenges, aspirations and opportunities they carried out desk research, observation and shadowing and a ‘pop-up’ engagement at the “Design, Technology and Dementia” conference, finalised by a ‘sense-check’ with Scottish Care. Out of this, the following 4 current themes were identified:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second part to the methodology was on ‘There and Then’ and using a ‘future-orientated design approach’ in which creative and visual methods were used during participatory design workshops. The GSA used the ‘fortune telling’ theme to make the project less formalised and inspire people to get involved. The decision was made to base thinking in twenty-five years time firstly, to free our thinking from existing challenges. In twenty-five years, our ways of living will be different, we will have different views and life experiences and will have grown up in quite different technological, social and economic climates. We will have different family structures, friends and relationships, and people will hold different opinions on what it means to ‘live well’.

This time focus groups were held with care providers and frontline staff, specialist experts and members of the public, to creatively explore a future vision for care at home.

The following emerging and underpinning themes were identified:

 

 

 

Designing the Care at Home workforce of the future

The themes were translated into a set of principles which were used as a basis to develop a speculative collection of personas to depict three future care at home roles not designed to be concrete examples, but instead as a way to support further engagement and stimulate debate and conversation with the wider care at home sector around the purpose, key activities and skills, and training specific to each future role:

Care Navigator

Specialising in coordinating the multidisciplinary care team through gathering, making sense of and organising different flows of data in order to provide responsive, personalised and relationship-based care at home.

Care Connector

Specialising in facilitating meaningful relationships – both physical and digital – for people receiving care at home and supports clients to work towards their aspirations and goals.

Care Technologist

Specialising in facilitating the interactions between assistive technology, people receiving care, and the wider care team in order to provide meaningful and personalised support.

 

What next?

Out of this, the GSA developed a set of tools with the purpose if supporting people to actively be involved in imagining and shaping the future of care at home by exploring some radical possibilities of tomorrow.

Scottish Care has been taking the tools out as part of their Roadshow around Scotland and hopes to take them to partners such as the Scottish Social Services Council, Care Inspectorate and Scottish Government as well as others. Collaboration really is key to the success of this project – by bringing together experts in homecare with experts in thinking, the tools provide a platform for shaping the future that we want rather than a continuation of the reactionary response that the sector often makes in a crisis.

But this activity cannot happen in isolation, the GSA also made recommendations which need to happen alongside the use of the tools, and these include, sharing good stories of care and celebrating the sector, matchmaking technology with current needs and exploring new collaborations.

The results of the workshops will be collated into a report with the purpose of shaping the future of care at home. There is also a second project now considering similar questions for the future of care homes and this will be led once again by the GSA Innovation school, but also in partnership with the University of the West of Scotland.

If you want to get involved, please get in touch karen.hedge@scottishcare.org,  or consider running a workshop yourself and sending on the information and ideas that you create.

I invite you to imagine what might be possible, given what we know today.