WCS Care continues to make a difference as Innovation Hub marks two years and 600 visitors
More than 600 visitors have passed through the doors of WCS Care’s Innovation Hub as it marks two years since it officially launched in Kenilworth.
It’s a unique space full of working mock-ups of the latest technology and concepts that the Warwickshire-based charity already uses in its care homes or plans to use in future developments such as Woodside Care Village in Warwick, which is set to open in the Autumn.
The hub is set up at WCS Care’s newest and most technologically advanced home, Castle Brook in Kenilworth, and has already welcomed representatives from over 80 other care home providers, as well as the CQC, national NHS teams, hospital trusts, local authorities and MPs including Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage MP.
It features a recreated bedroom with a night-time acoustic monitoring system that automatically alerts staff to unusual sounds so they can respond quickly when needed. A non-recording camera is also being trialled as part of this system to give carers a live visual prompt, on which to base their care decisions, that is only viewed when an acoustic alert is triggered.
Electronic care planning, that means carers spend more time with residents instead of extensive paper recording, and an advanced nurse call system that alerts staff through handheld devices rather than disruptive call bells, are some of the other technologies that feature.
WCS Care has also installed circadian rhythm lighting into the hub that mimics daylight in the day and creates biological darkness at night, keeping the body in a solid circadian cycle, helping to improve sleep and daytime alertness, which has positive impacts on people with dementia.
Circadian rhythm lighting is already being trialled on a household and in public spaces at another of WCS Care’s homes in Rugby and is set to be installed throughout its new home in Warwick.
The hub also provides a space for the charity’s existing partners to collaborate and share ideas about how they could join up each other’s products and services to improve health and wellbeing for residents across the care sector.
As a result of the success of WCS Care’s Innovation Hub, developers regularly approach the charity to test concepts and try out new technology before rolling it out elsewhere.
Ed Russell, WCS Care’s Director of Innovation and Development, said: ‘We’re always asking ourselves ‘what will make people’s lives better?’ and it’s this that drives us to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation in care.
‘Many of the concepts and technologies featured in the hub are already incorporated into a number of our homes – not just our new homes but our older ones too – and we’ve already seen the positive impacts they’ve had for residents and staff.
‘However, innovation is about constantly moving forwards. Together with our partners, we’re already considering new ways of doings things – such as patches that can monitor vital signs including heart rate and temperature – that can help us continue to make a difference.’
The Innovation Hub is not just about new technology though – it’s also promoting creativity in care and investigating new approaches to existing ways of doing things that can improve people’s experience of living in a care home.
WCS Care is working with Coventry University on a number of PhD studies investigating topics such as sleep, nutrition, benefits of time outside, self-management and responsive care, and the use of robotics and digital technologies.
The first-of-a-kind research could help the charity, and ultimately other care providers, develop their approaches to care, ensuring people continue to enjoy life to its fullest.
Christine Asbury, WCS Care’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Back in 2017, we set a challenge to the sector and the government about ambition in care services, using creativity and technology to deliver positive change.
‘The popularity of the hub shows that there’s a real appetite for change and to share learning, so that everyone gets access to high quality care, regardless of who provides it or how it’s paid for.
‘And as we approach the opening of our next home - Woodside Care Village in Warwick - in the Autumn, we’re excited about how our next innovations will benefit residents and continue to inspire others to do the same.’