INTERNATIONAL REPORTS

Responses to 3.10. Use of technology to compensate for difficulties accessing in-person care


Australia

The government of Australia announced over $1.5 billion AUD in funding for the aged care sector during the pandemic. A portion of this amount has gone towards telehealth development for people over the age of 70. The Department of Health also recommends that older people opt for telehealth appointments instead of in person appointments (https://www.health.gov.au/node/18602/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-older-people-and-carers#medical-appointments-and-medicines).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Canada

A study among unpaid carers in Canada using remote services reported some advantages but also disadvantages and some reported technical barriers (https://ltccovid.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Lorenz_Comas_COVID_impact_unpaidcarers_preprint.pdf). A report recommends the use of technology to ensure care in place for people in residential care settings (https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/063.nsf/eng/h_98049.html).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Canada (British Columbia)

Telemedicine and telehealth are covered under the Medical Services Plan. Individuals seeking care may also contact the non-emergency medical support phone line by dialing 811.

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Denmark

The National Association for Older People organizes supports for using technology to access friends, social networks and health services (https://www.aeldresagen.dk/om-aeldresagen/lige-nu/corona/faa-gode-raad/saadan-ser-du-den-du-taler-med?scrollto=start).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


England (UK)

A considerable proportion of unpaid carers in the UK reported to have used technology for social contacts, a smaller proportion for health and LTC services. The use of technology for remote support received mixed feedback (see, for example: https://www.carersuk.org/images/News_and_campaigns/Behind_Closed_Doors_2020/Caring_behind_closed_doors_Oct20.pdf; https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-020-01719-0; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13607863.2020.1822292; http://circle.group.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/007_Aspect-Virtual-Cuppa-Report-4-compressed.pdf). On the other hand, a report by Age UK has found that there was no significant change in the use of digital engagement during the first few months of the pandemic. The main barrier reported for peopled aged 75 and older was ‘lack of digital skills’ (https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/active-communities/digital-inclusion-in-the-pandemic-final-march-2021.pdf).

A press release by the Department of Health and Social Care on April 24, 2020, described that they, together with the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, had awarded up to £25,000 to 18 innovative digital solutions as part of the TechForce19 challenge. Among these, one app that received funding aims to ‘help carers identify health risks and deterioration within elderly communities’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/digital-innovations-tested-to-support-vulnerable-people-during-covid-19-outbreak).

Research accompanying the virtual Cuppa project, which offered unpaid carers the possibility to connect virtually for half an hour on weekdays with others in similar situations facilitated by a professional carer coach, found that over time carers developed friendships with other members of participating in the project, shared resources and experience, and that the virtual Cuppa group became ‘a resource in its own right to develop individual resilience’ (p.22) (http://circle.group.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/007_Aspect-Virtual-Cuppa-Report-4-compressed.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


France

Investment of 6bn euros across the health and social care system – for renovations and technology upgrades (https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/static/15/pdf/rapport/i3633.pdf0).

Telephone support lines were rolled out with some success for support, and according to the DGCS France has performed third worldwide after the US and China in the number of teleconsultations performed over the pandemic, especially in care homes (https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/static/15/pdf/rapport/i3633.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Germany

A study among unpaid carers in Germany found that a considerable proportion of respondents started using technology for social contacts (https://www.socium.uni-bremen.de/uploads/Schnellbericht_Befragung_pflegender_Angehoriger_-_print.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Hong Kong

NGOs in Hong Kong have provided older people with tablet computers that provided them with access to home sports videos, cognitive training games and equipment to monitor their help. The system would inform relevant persons (medical teams/family) if the health monitor registered abnormality. Other NGOs offers videos for sensory stimulating activities anti-epidemic exercise or remote activities and counselling for people with mild to moderate dementia (https://ltccovid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Hong-Kong-COVID-19-Long-term-Care-situation_updates-on-8-July-1.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Israel

The Administration of Disabilities of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs provides services for people with intellectual developmental disabilities and other cognitive disabilities, individuals with autism, and individuals with sensory and motor disabilities. The initial action plan for COVID-19 included a transition to virtual education and community-building programs, the upstart of a food distribution program, and technology (e.g. tablet) distribution

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Japan

There is little information on this. However, slow adoption of remote consultations in the medical sphere may also be an issue in the LTC sector (https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Screen-shunning-doctors-open-up-to-telehealth-in-pandemic-era).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Sweden

Online physician consultations for care homes were implemented (https://coronakommissionen.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/summary.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


United States

In the US unpaid carers used technology for social contacts but also care related needs. Most reported useful aspects of technology, but some found adapting to online services difficult (https://ucsur.pitt.edu/files/center/covid19_cg/COVID19_Full_Report_Final.pdf;https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/76/4/e241/5895926;https://ucsur.pitt.edu/files/center/covid19_cg/COVID19_Full_Report_Final.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021