Care UK was on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic, trying to protect vulnerable residents from the virus. With most of the organisation unable to work remotely and faced with unprecedented challenges, they had to continue daily operations and find new ways of working to deliver safe and compassionate care.
Rapid changes in technology and management were required to provide and sustain an excellent level of care in the constantly changing environment.
An interim CIO was engaged to develop and implement a technology transformation. Immediate actions were taken to mitigate risks and enable the organisation to function within lockdown:
Head office was transferred to a remote working service within eight days to ensure key centralised functions could continue to support the homes.
Remote working capabilities were established between the care homes and the management team by the sourcing and implementation of hundreds of refurbished laptops – resolving laptop demand issues and saving on costs.
Negotiation for free VPN licenses, telephony licenses and increased bandwidth were successful and implemented.
Digital communication and messaging apps such as Zoom and Slack were introduced to establish immediate and real-time collaboration; later to be successfully upgraded to Teams.
Network provision was upgraded to dedicated synchronous bandwidth for residents to use so they could video call their loved ones and take part in remote GP consultations.
Social media apps, such as Facebook Portal and Relish, were introduced to keep residents connected with loved ones – vitally important for the mental health of residents and their families.
A process was developed for the maintenance and security of all hardware and software, including anti-virus protection and cyber security measures.
Care UK continues to offer industry-leading care quality to their residents via technology-enabled communications covering medical support, social activities and staff collaboration. Now a fully functioning hybrid business that is equipped and well prepared for unforeseen circumstances and change.
The initiatives implemented during lockdown resulted in Care UK being awarded IT Team of the Year runner-up at the BCS IT Awards 2020.
Care UK has a clear vision and strategy for further technology-enabled improvements.
IT operations were proven to be scalable at pace to enable Care UK to take over management of 26 additional homes.