Sunderland City Council has been awarded external funding to use digital innovation to create social care of the future.

The award of an additional £80,000 of national funding is to implement its pilot project to identify and utilise ‘smart’ technology to improve social care, health and well-being for the city’s residents.

The council has been chosen through a competitive process to receive funding from NHS Digital, as part of a project managed by the Local Government Association. They were looking for innovative ideas for how technology could help shape the future of social care.

The council and social care users have identified four areas that present significant challenges for individuals on a daily basis. These include managing medication, monitoring mood, maintaining good nutrition and hydration and moving around the home.

This project will see new technology deployed into the homes of individuals with identified needs, with the data from the technology collected and analysed on a custom built software platform ‘Core’ providing useful information to help manage their care, health and wellbeing.

Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Councillor Dr Geoffrey Walker said: “This successful bid for external funding is great news for the city. It’s testament to the hard work of the Council with our community and digital business partners to find the best ways to use modern, ‘assistive’ technology to help vulnerable people keep their personal independence.

“Central to this continuing process is asking people what problems they face in their everyday lives at home, and what available technology such as their mobile ‘Smart’ phones can be used not only to help them access services and advice, but also shape how those are delivered to meet their own individual care needs.”

The project is being delivered in partnership with Sunderland Software City, Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley and Urban Foresight.

James Palmer, Programme Lead for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “We were looking for digital pilots that can advance frontline social care practice, improve systems and enable integration across adult social care. The project from Sunderland Council is an excellent project that will make a real difference to local people.

“All of the projects we have funded will add real value, improving patient care and staff experiences. I can’t wait to see the outcomes of these pilots.”

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