How to Drive Measurable Quality Improvements in Long Term Care

Over the past few months I have been orchestrating a series of roadshows for Innovate UK, involving prominent stakeholders in a concerted effort to re-imagine how we could spend the latter years of our lives.

Our speakers relished the challenge, offering fascinating, frequently provocative social and economic perspectives. So, I thought I’d share a few, kicking off with Rob Turpin, ‎Healthcare Market Development Manager for the British Standards Institution (BSI):

RT: “Having been fortunate to attend the recent Long Term Care Revolution Live events in London and Edinburgh, what struck me was the level of interest in the topic and the breadth of expertise present.

From renowned academics and entrepreneurs talking about collaboration with NHS decision makers, to captains of industry, politicians, and emerging thought leaders networking with a strong contingent of SME’s, covering digital technologies, medical devices, financial services, health and social care, the built environment and many other disciplines; the mix was truly eclectic and extremely stimulating.

The demographic shift impacts us all as citizens and in our professional capacities. These events demonstrated encouraging signs that like-minded enthusiasts are ready to join forces in a united effort to imagine radical new concepts that will disrupt the institutional model and inspire a revolution in long term care.

My organisation, BSI, is best known for creating professional codes designed to deliver better products, fine-tune processes to drive up quality, and reduce risk. Increasingly, we are also using standards as a way of enhancing business potential. This is particularly relevant in emerging sectors such as digital health and care, where our standards can be used to establish the values and principles that set out the changes from current, outdated delivery models, in order to enable businesses and organisations to provide innovative new products, services and systems.

Our standards can also be used to drive change in personal behavior. Whether we are focused on improving the quality of healthcare apps or working towards establishing dementia-friendly communities, there is a growing appetite for setting standards at the earliest opportunities, which will ultimately change the way we provide long term care.

Setting Standards for Long Term Care

This is why we have been working in partnership with Innovate UK on the development of the Long Term Care Revolution for the past few years. Our research has concluded that there are common principles that we expect to constitute long term care provision for the future:

Care and support should be tailored to the wishes of the recipient, and be arranged in a timely manner by a team that the recipient trusts. They point towards flexible services, provided in the home where desired, and properly co-ordinated by a person who knows the recipient and understands their needs.

A number of existing challenges and barriers can be drawn from our research. For example, there is currently a fragmentation of agencies and services that hinder the provision of patient-centred care.

There is a need for greater variety of accessible activities to combat loneliness and isolation. Home environments need to be able to be adapted quickly in order to meet changing care needs. Digital technology is seen as a benefit by some, but can lack user-friendliness, and there is a concern about how it could impact on human interfaces.

BSI is committed to working collaboratively with Innovate UK and its’ partners to co-create new standards and strategies for the Long Term Care Revolution. In the first instance, we have been focusing on supporting the needs of developers of health and wellbeing apps, and we have also established a code of practice for any provider of information or advice that is aimed at individuals who are planning to live independently from institutionalised care. (Both of which can be freely downloaded from the BSI Shop.)

Looking to the future we are planning to create standards and strategies in key areas, such as the deployment of digital health technologies, and the built environment. Through our work with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), we are undertaking a joint initiative with Japan to consider potential areas for global standardisation of aged societies. This will spotlight new opportunities to collaborate with global partners and countries, and provide an international dimension to the aspirations of the Long Term Care Revolution. In parallel, we are aiming to establish ways that we can support successful bids for the £4m LTCR National Challenge, when the winning projects commence in 2016.

This will ensure that the most innovative new products and service concepts have the greatest chance of realising their potential, both commercial and societal. I am certainly looking forward to enjoying our ongoing journey of discovery and, in due course, benefitting from the outcomes.”


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Picture: Rob, with fellow speakers’ Nick Howe, NatWest, and Peter Wintlev-Jensen, European Commission, considers the future of long term care. Photo by Martin Athanasiou, with permission.