Contact&Connect: CLE & Wheelchair Webinar

Today our Contact&Connect: Community Loan Equipment & Wheelchair Services webinar went deep into the detail as to how automated telephony can support loan stores – and ASC more widely – both from a process change and benefits perspective. Colleagues from Sunderland City Council – who have used Contact&Connect for over two years to drive the return of Community Loan Equipment – answered a raft of questions from attendees around rates of returns and recycling, how to manage and respond to the calls, queries around personal data, as well as working more widely with health and social care colleagues to reduce the number of ‘contacts’ service users receive.

With over 28,000 calls having been generated to 9,517 people with loan equipment, the sheer scale of engagement is something that simply cannot be achieved without automation. We played the calls live on the session, to hear the questions that are asked (co-designed with service users), which then drive the return of equipment, as well as identifying people who no longer have the kit, who can’t use it safely or where equipment is broken.

Emma Anderson, Head of Therapies & Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Sunderland City Council/SCAS said:“Community loan equipment is a demand-led service, and we have always needed to manage the budget very carefully. What Contact&Connect has given us is the ability to manage within our budget, had we not introduced this we would have really struggled to continue to meet demand. Since Covid, our business itself changed quite dramatically… we used to work with a seven day target for turnaround and now we work with ‘today’. Having deployed Contact&Connect, we are able to rely on the continual flow of reissue equipment and keep up with demand.”

The return rates, financial and carbon savings are clear, but it was the detail of the business change that really brought value to the session. Colleagues from other councils and loan stores asked about Sunderland’s process redesign, redeployment of staff, rates of recycling, prescribing models, data hygiene and the data checks and balances involved, plus how the calls are generated and costs.

Moving the focus from CLE to Sunderland’s Contact&Connect: Wheelchair service – which supports both Children and Complex wheelchair users – we showed the adaptability of the Contact&Connect platform to ask more nuanced questions. We ran through what data is captured and how – when overlaid and interrogated – you can clearly identify those people who are struggling. Additionally, how the calls help schedule reviews, encourage people to think about their situation prior to their review, and give critical intelligence to professionals undertaking the review to be more personal and informed.

Emma shared how the Children’s Wheelchair service came about and the co-design process that was undertaken to ensure the calls really made a difference.

“The questions we are asking are tailored to children and what they want to achieve from their wheelchair. We had really strong feedback from our wheelchair user forum about children not necessarily being encouraged to be aspirational and think through ‘What could my wheelchair do for me, what do I want to achieve in life?’. So the questions help us start to think about this – not just focusing on positioning and support – but also talking to the child about their aspirations and what they want out of life.

“Families with children who have disabilities feel like they have to fight for everything  and we wanted to change that, we wanted to genuinely be co-producing and working with families so that from the outset they feel empowered. This is genuinely giving families the opportunity to tell us exactly what they need.”

With the Sunderland CQC and ASC Annual Review Contact&Connect service about to go live, on top of these services and a further one focused on keeping in touch with service users as they come of the Reablement pathway, Emma added:

“Having gone on this journey, when we are facing a problem or when there is something to fix, we now always ask ourselves, ‘is there a role for automated telephony’? We’re continually identifying new areas where we can introduce this technology, we are doing work around high frequency users of telecare services.”

Contact&Connect: The Platform, Technology, Calls & Data

Contact&Connect: CLE Process & Benefits

Contact&Connect: Children’s Wheelchairs

Contact&Connect: Complex Wheelchairs