Blackwood’s tech roll-out helps vulnerable customers during coronavirus pandemic

Vulnerable customers of housing and care provider Blackwood are being able to keep in constant contact with friends and family – and where necessary their carers – during the coronavirus lockdown thanks to its pioneering technology.

Blackwood's tech roll-out helps vulnerable customers during coronavirus pandemic

Blackwood has provided its customers with tablets complete with accessible care technology and wifi access to help keep them more digitally connected at all times, despite most being currently ‘shielded’ in their homes.

It has already led to an 800% increase in the function that allows customers to contact friends and family.

And with visits from care staff being impacted because of social distancing and virus protection measures, the technology is ensuring customers do not feel isolated as they can also keep in touch with carers via video calls, even those who use Blackwood’s night-time support service.

Each tablet gives customers access to CleverCogs, Blackwood’s own bespoke care system, which enables people to stay in touch with friends and family through video chat, while also allowing them to catch up on their favourite tv shows, access information and receive calendar reminders of care visits and medication.

The system allows customers to attend GP appointments through the NHS service, Near Me, which is linked with more than 30 GPs across Scotland.

Blackwood customer Scott Robb was delighted to mark his 40th birthday through CleverCogs. Despite physical distancing, the Blackwood team in Ayr facilitated Scott’s birthday party, enabling him to celebrate the day with his family.

CleverCogs is personalised to each customer meaning they will be able to easily access their interests, whether it’s music, sports or movies. The system is designed to only take users a maximum of three taps of the tablet to access any of its features.

Blackwood is also fronting a new campaign #ImInAwe to showcase the work of front-line social care workers during the pandemic crisis.

Anne Jenkins, Blackwood’s innovation delivery manager, said: “As an organisation, we understand and appreciate how uneasy and stressful the current lockdown situation is for many of our customers and their families.

“CleverCogs gives our customers and families some peace of mind in that they can stay fully connected throughout this, so reducing feelings of loneliness, anxiety or isolation.

“In fact where previous there was a reluctance to use CleverCogs as a communication tool, now customers are freely using it to keep in contact with friends and families.”

She added: “We personalise every CleverCogs device, which has had huge impacts on our customers’ lives. Being digitally connected really has the opportunity to change people’s lives – it opens their horizons to a whole new online world.

“In the current circumstances, it’s even more important that we facilitate every measure possible to ensure our customers have access to the required care and communication to allow them to continue living a fulfilled life as independently as possible.”

Currently the system features include information about Care, Safety, Housing, Home Automation, Information, Digital Inclusion as well as Health & Wellbeing.

CleverCogs has also been implemented across all of Blackwood’s care services, as well as being the ‘hub’ for each of its Blackwood Houses. Within the Blackwood Houses, CleverCogs enables customers to control lights, heating, doors and blinds.

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.
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