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adapting to social distancing measures – installing technology in the home for independent living

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How to install and maintain technology in the home while adhering to social distancing measures, is a challenge facing many of those working in housing, social care and health. This is especially true where the services provided are for those in later life, or for individuals with additional needs, who may need further assistance to start actively engaging with new services.

Even during lockdown, our installation team were able to set up hundreds of new people with Alertacall services, many of whom were identified as being at higher risk of coronavirus. In particular, new install projects were undertaken on a mass scale for housing providers based in Scotland, London and the South West. Predominantly, services were put in place for individuals in Sheltered accommodation and older residents in General Needs properties.

All devices provided by Alertacall are easy to self-install without the need for face-to-face contact. Also, additional sanitisation measures were taken prior to delivery to ensure there was no risk to customers. Importantly, our devices are portable and there is no need for any hardwiring or cabling – the touchscreen device is even fitted with an any network SIM card and does not require WiFi.

Our trained engineers delivered the equipment to the doorstep and waited outside (maintaining social distancing in line with best practice and government guidelines) while the customer set the device up to provide additional guidance as needed. For private customers, equipment is simply posted out with simple set-up instructions.

Following the initial installation, customers have the option to speak to a member of the Alertacall team on the phone about the service 365 days a year. In fact, for those customers who wish to, our team actively encourages contact on a regular basis, which can also help to reduce feelings of isolation.

It’s not just the residents who were affected. Training for staff was undertaken online, both including an introductory session to the service and specific training on how to get the most out of our online reporting platform – offering a wealth of insight to housing staff.

As of September 2020, resident presentations are beginning to take place again on-site where possible, however, with more sessions planned with smaller groups. Video content has also been created for residents to either view online or watch on DVD (should local restrictions or a future national lockdown prevent the team from getting on-site).

Kieron Hayes, Installations Manager, commented:

“Lockdown and social distancing guidelines certainly have meant changes to our working practices. However, it is a credit to our teams that we were able to adapt so quickly, both the engineers on the front line of deploying our services and our call operators who are there to provide extra reassurance, despite working remotely. The fact that the technology deployed is portable and easy to use certainly makes our job easier. We continue to receive excellent feedback from customers and it’s been great to help organisations improve communication and maintain contact with their residents at this time.”

Melissa Campbell, Wheatley Group Livingwell Lead, said:

“At Wheatley, we are committed to supporting older residents to live independently in their own homes. As part of this, we wanted to introduce the Housing Proactive service during lockdown for some of our older, more vulnerable tenants who lived in our mainstream housing.

“It has proven to be a real lifeline for them over the past few months and we are looking now to extend the service further. Alertacall have been really helpful throughout; they are professional in their approach and have a fantastic way with customers. The rollout of the service to the new tenants went very smoothly and we really couldn’t fault any aspect of the service we received from Alertacall.”

If you have any questions relating to this article or would like to find out more about installing Alertacall’s technology in the home, please email or call 0808 208 1234 to speak to a member of our client relations team.