A leading housing and care provider has been praised by the Scottish Government for its commitment to digital participation and empowerment.
The response to CleverCogs – a digitally enhanced care and support system developed by Blackwood – has been overwhelmingly positive, in a report commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by the Carnegie Trust.
Using the handheld device, CleverCogs™ users are able to stay in touch with their carers, family and friends, browse the web and control the utilities in their homes, like lights, blinds, doors and heating.
The report on the implementation of this innovative system by Blackwood in over 100 of its homes has now been recognised by the Scottish Government, for empowering those with disabilities to live more independently.
Kate Forbes, Digital Economy Minister said: “Blackwood's digital care system, CleverCogs™, demonstrates the great importance and potential of digital participation. As a society, we can learn a lot from CleverCogs™ about embracing change and empowering people.
“From cyber tots through cyber teens to silver surfers, the Scottish Government believes that in a society where bad news travels faster than the speed of light, the internet can be used as a tool for good.
“We aspire to have a society where everybody matters, and the internet is used as a social space to exchange ideas, demonstrate mutual respect, promote inclusion and equality and create a healthy environment for interaction."
CleverCogs™ also has potential to support the delivery of technology enabled care, with automated medication prompts, handover notes for care staff and an alarm facility.
Tech is also revolutionising the way in which Blackwood delivers services in customers’ homes too, with the help of its Night Support Service (NSS).
This allows people with a range of disabilities to remotely access care to safely maintain their confidence through the night.
The Edinburgh pilot scheme of the service resulted in an estimated saving of £400,000 with a reduction in the number of GP visits and calls to emergency services.
Simon Fitzpatrick, Strategic Development Director at Blackwood said: “For many people with disabilities, it’s not that they can’t look after themselves; it’s simply that their set-up at home does not allow them to.
“That’s where this kind of technology can fill a clear void and we’re making it our business to ensure that our users really benefit from the advantages of innovative new technology.
“Blackwood sees CleverCogs™ as the future of care and support delivery so it’s fantastic to see the system fuelling important debate and discussion around digital empowerment among Scottish influencers.”
Edinburgh-based charity, Blackwood, has more than 1,500 homes throughout the country making it a leader in helping those who are disabled, elderly or with sensory impairments to live more independently.
As it works in 29 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, it is more widely dispersed than most other care or housing providers and has embraced the challenges of taking housing and care into innovative areas at a time when funding is increasingly limited.
Blackwood is also renowned for constantly pushing the boundaries of technology to allow property adaptations which make a huge difference to people with disabilities.