William, who is supported at one of our services in Bedfordshire, travelled to London this week to take part in Hft’s launch of a new report focused on personalised technology.
The report, which was produced with the support of Tunstall Healthcare, calls for a deal for the learning disability sector which would help to realise the potential of technology to transform the way care is delivered, aiming to boost investment in the sector.
William, 22, went to the House of Lords for the unveiling of the paper. On the day, he shared his personal experience of how technology helped him to achieve his dream of living independently in the community. He spoke to more than 100 guests, including MPs, Peers and civil servants, as well as social care providers and telecare organisations.
William moved into one of Hft’s transition services to help make the change from living at home to living independently easier. Staff initially replicated the structure of the family environment he was used to, and slowly adapted William’s routines to encourage more independence. He was also introduced to a new social circle of people with similar interests and supported to develop the necessary skills he would need to live independently, including handling bills, cleaning, budgeting and travelling.
When it came to moving out of the transition service, William also wanted the peace of mind that he would be safe in his own home. To ease his concerns, William was able to explore technology that could help him ahead of his move, allowing him to imagine himself in his new home. Technology included a key fob to open his front door, which can be deactivated and replaced if lost, and a lifeline phone and pendant alarm to use to call for help in the event of an emergency.
After 18 months, William felt comfortable enough to move on from the transition service and, with the help of personalised technology, is currently living independently in his own home at the heart of his community.
“I feel safe and secure knowing I am only one button push away from calling anyone at any time.”
“Today went perfectly. The technology I used has helped me to become more independent and it felt so good to be able to open up and share my story. I hope it brings notice that Hft needs everyone to come together to make this work, not just for the people they support, including me, but also for the sector as a whole.”
In order to support more people like William to live independently and safely with the help of technology, Hft and Tunstall have set out the case for a learning disability Sector Deal. Launched on 15 July, the report highlights the challenges faced by a social care sector in financial crisis at a time when demand is growing. Hft and Tunstall believe the successful negotiation of a learning disability Sector Deal would enable effective investment that could unlock the potential of assistive technologies. In turn, this would stimulate innovation and investment in future services, bringing financial sustainability to providers within the sector, and ultimately delivering enhanced outcomes for people with learning disabilities.
Find out more about the report on our campaigns page.