A groundbreaking new hub has been launched to make it easier for health, care and housing professionals to prescribe equipment that enables vulnerable people to live independently.
ProAssist has been created by leading charity The DLF in partnership with TSA, the national body for technology enabled care (TEC) services.
For the first time, professionals will be able to access a secure, reliable, independent and comprehensive resource where products are accompanied by clinical observations, case studies, user guides, videos and information on local suppliers.
With a searchable database of over 10,000 products from more than 900 retailers, this UK-wide resource helps identify the options across a wide range of technologies, from the latest digital devices to simple aids.
DLF ProAssist – DLFProAssist.org – has been developed in collaboration with practitioners and supported by market leading TEC firm Tunstall Healthcare.
It is free to use for a promotional period to allow prescribers to see the benefits of the hub to their practice. After this period, members of a range of professional bodies and national organisations – including TSA – will have free access for the period of their membership. Subscriptions are also available and DLF ProAssist can be tailored under licence to integrate with local community equipment portfolios.
Thousands of users are expected to benefit from its guidance and information to support their selection of suitable solutions.
Research carried out in 2019* showed prescribers tend to recommend familiar products or rely on Google searches to find information and are often overwhelmed by the volume of information available from a multitude of sources.
Using a search engine is often a long-winded method of finding and organising information on products. By contrast, DLF ProAssist helps users navigate less common and emerging technologies with confidence and enables them to devise the optimal personalised solutions for their clients.
Users have a login to enable a more tailored experience. After finding the information required, DLF ProAssist also enables the user to import it into a choice of templates that can be edited to suit their needs, including recommendations to clients and justifications.
The DLF and TSA believe DLF ProAssist will become the go-to trusted reference resource.
In addition to the in-depth product information, users also have access to reports, case studies and research relating to the solutions. Users and professional bodies can submit documents for publication and wider sharing and log clinical observations about the equipment they have deployed.
Over time these observations will build into a valuable bank of feedback on product effectiveness, providing the UK’s only collaborative hub of its type with shared experiences.
Designed to be flexible and easy to use, DLF ProAssist will learn from users so that it prompts and highlights further solution options to provide a more holistic outcome.
Clare Barber, who manages the DLF for Professionals programme, said: ‘We want prescribers to have the confidence to consider recommending items from a number of product categories, combining TEC with more traditional solutions. DLF ProAssist will enable the user to quickly produce proposals, case notes and reports to support their decisions. This will be the first central national resource of its type for professionals involved in assessing for independent solutions combining impartial information and advice and shared clinical feedback.’
Users can navigate the tool in a number of ways including by functional need and by simple search, focusing more on outcomes. The DLF is the first organisation to adopt an international classification system based on ISO standards for assistive technology that organises products according to functional need, an approach that occupational therapists in particular will instantly recognise.
Alyson Scurfield, Chief Executive of TSA, said: ‘We want to encourage greater involvement and faster adoption of TEC and this new tool will enable users to confidently engage with technology that can improve people’s lives. We believe it has the potential to help raise standards at the same time as speeding up people’s access to personalised tailored solutions that are right for them.’
Gavin Bashar, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Tunstall Healthcare, said: ‘TEC solutions will play an increasingly important role in how we support people with long term health and care needs, as well as achieving the aims of the recent Health and Social Care White Paper. Tunstall recognises the need to invest in the development of health, housing and social care professionals to help them identify solutions to support outcomes and develop a technology first approach as we move towards a more empowered and proactive approach to care.’
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NOTES TO EDITORS
* The DLF conducted a survey in 2019 with prescribers of equipment to understand their current working practices. The majority of respondents prescribe equipment on a daily (45%) or weekly (32%) basis. It found:
Overall, the research found people were using a wide variety of resources but few of these would provide reliable, impartial advice on best practice.
DLF ProAssist is part of the DLF for Professionals programme https://livingmadeeasy.org.uk/dlf-for-professionals, DLF recommends that professionals unfamiliar with assessing use the AskSARA online guided advice tool to support guided conversations part of the Living Made Easy https://livingmadeeasy.org.uk/ information and advice portal for the public. The DLF is the UK’s member of EASTIN the global AT information network and is part of The Shaw Trust a charity registered in England and Wales 287785 and Scotland SCO39856. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0300 123 3084.
TSA is the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Services Association. It is the representative body for technology enabled care (TEC) services across the UK, working on behalf of and advising organisations including telecare and telehealth service providers, suppliers, housing associations, care providers, emergency services, academia, charities, government bodies and health and social care commissioners. www.tsa-voice.org.uk
Tunstall Healthcare (UK) Ltd has been at the forefront of technology innovation for the health, housing and social care markets for over 60 years. Its pioneering software, hardware and services enable new delivery models which can transform services across the care continuum, and empower people to live independently and with an improved quality of life. Tunstall works with social care providers, healthcare services, housing and retirement living providers and charities in 22 countries, improving the lives of more than five million people, including those living with dementia, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and long-term health conditions. Tunstall’s innovation-led, person-centred Connected Care and Health solutions connect people and integrate services, enabling early intervention to avoid or mitigate adverse events, and improve outcomes. As technology advances, we have the capability to not just react to events, but to predict and even prevent them, using data-driven insights. The Tunstall Cognitive Care approach can help to create intelligent, personalised care programmes and effectively allocate resources, making sure those in need have the right levels of support and reassurance. tunstall.co.uk