Online applications are transforming the way that we live and work, and at The Richardson Partnership for Care we are using them to help service users and their families keep in touch, and for the families to participate in the review process.

Our service users with learning disabilities have an external review every 12 months where their care team and case workers review their care plan and discuss their progress. The service user can choose whether or not they take part in the review, but under The Care Act 2014, reviews should be attended by a family member or advocate.

Some family members live too far away to attend all of the reviews or find it difficult because of work and other family commitments. We recently arranged for a family to participate in a review using Facetime. This application, similar to Skype, enabled the family to make a video call over the internet.

This was the first time that we had used a video call to enable a family to take part in a review and it was a great success. We received positive comments from the family as well as the care manager. The family were able to contribute fully to all areas discussed: they could see and hear the review team and ask questions as well as providing their thoughts and feelings on the care package. They said that it was just like being there!

On this occasion, the service user declined to take part in the review, but they had a video call with their family afterwards and spoke with their care manager and review coordinator about what had happened in the review.

We are now setting up regular video calls for service users and their families to stay in touch, which benefits everyone and in particular, reassures parents who live some distance away. It also enables family members overseas to stay in touch and be involved.

iPad showing different apps

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