This project has two work packages (WP) which will run in parallel. WP1 will involve a rapid evidence synthesis looking at the barriers and facilitators to the use of videoconferencing and online technology for communications between care homes and NHS and adult social care services. WP2 will involve an online interview study with health and social care professionals working with care homes.
Care home residents have complex needs and represent the oldest and most frail of the older population in the UK. NHS and Adult Social care staff work with care homes to provide health care services for residents. There has been ongoing interest in the use of videoconferencing and telemedicine to provide health care for residents in care homes, particularly for those with a long-term condition, or needing end of life care. Less is known about the use of videoconferencing by social care staff. Evidence is limited but does suggest that videoconferencing and telemedicine for health care provision for older adults living in care homes and nursing homes is cost-effective and feasible.
At present. the use of such technology is not widespread. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, health and social care services have had to adapt rapidly to using video technology and virtual methods to provide support for residents. Some social care staff (e.g. social workers) have found this difficult. There is a need for research to understand how health and social care staff have used video technology in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and the barriers and facilitators to its use.
Identify the enablers and barriers to the use of online communication and videoconferencing by social care and NHS staff working with care homes.
WP 1: Rapid evidence synthesis looking at barriers and facilitators to the use of videoconferencing and online technology for communication between health services and care homes. COVID-19 has made the use of videoconferencing an essential requirement. As such, the focus of this review is on implementation and use of such technology rather than its effectiveness or impact on resident outcomes.
WP2: Online interview study with health and social care professionals working in and with care homes. 10-15 health and social care professionals working in, and with, care homes in Hertfordshire will be interviewed. Participants will be identified via the NHS Trust funding the study. Staff will include those with experience of videoconferencing and online communication between care homes and NHS staff.
We will gain a better understanding of how health and social care staff have used video technology in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and the barriers and facilitators to its use. With this understanding, we can make recommendations for its use to support communication with care homes.
WP1 is underway, and articles are being screened for inclusion in the review.
WP2 has received ethical and HRA approval. Recruitment has started and interviews are being conducted.