Professional Comment

Technology Is Key To Transforming Care Homes – But Not In The Way You May Think

By Christopher Denny, Partnerships Director at Curam (, the largest online care platform in the UK working with care homes nationwide

Historically, the care sector has been slow to embrace technology. However, attitudes are shifting and awareness of the positive impacts of technology in care homes – from wearable devices to robotics – are growing. When talking about this topic, it’s just as vital to consider the less visible back-end technologies as this is what truly holds the key to delivering an alternative model of care.

These transformative technologies include everything from digital software that reduces the administrative burden, platforms that quickly link up carers to those who need them and online portals where care needs can be managed digitally from a single location.

The unprecedented pressures on care homes to source carers at speed, at scale and within tight budgets show no signs of abating, meaning that the role of tech to support and grow the industry is more critical than ever before. Technology is already providing answers to some of these most urgent problems and we are seeing forward-thinking care homes beginning to embrace tech-led solutions and witnessing a host of benefits as a result.

Reducing the administrative burden

The traditional way of hiring carers requires time-consuming, manual procedures – making it a slow and costly process. Technology can help to streamline processes by allowing staff to easily locate and contact potential carers, as well as simplifying the onboarding process.

When it comes to hiring, the vetting process is another contributor to administrative overload. The government’s recent removal of the hourly cap per week on overseas students working in the care sector has exacerbated this problem by creating an avalanche of enthusiastic applicants with little-to-no experience, serving to increase the importance of the vetting further still.

Technology now has the capability to automate vetting processes – by detecting fraudulent documents with ease, and recognising and verifying critical documents such as bank-level IDs, DBS and relevant carer qualifications.

Ensuring continuity of care
The strain on care home staff is being compounded by the very real problem of carer turnover – every year over a third (36%) of carers leave their roles. This problem has worsened due to the cost of living crisis, which has pushed many workers out of the caring profession due to unsustainably low wages. This is also creating an additional recruitment requirement that is not only increasing workloads, but is also impacting on the continuity of care for those vulnerable people in care homes.

We are increasingly seeing that online platforms are stepping into the fold to help solve this challenge. Digital tools are empowering care businesses to post a job and arrange care within minutes or hours, rather than days or weeks. These platforms are therefore playing an invaluable role in helping care homes fill vacancies for both last-minute care or longer-term regular shifts.

Putting carers front and centre
We need to always remember that care cannot be delivered by robots and that humans are, and will always be, at the very heart of the caring industry.

It is therefore critical that carers are well-looked after, and by that I mean well-paid, well-trained and safeguarded. Only in this way will we be able to create a workforce that is more engaged and less transient.

Again, technology is already making a difference here. By using digital tools to reduce the administrative burden, care homes can reduce overheads, meaning that the care worker can earn more. Technology is also emerging that can streamline and improve safeguarding and training processes, helping to upskill and better support the carer population.

Creating an alternative model of care
We often hear about the need for increased Government spending to help solve the challenges facing our industry. And while this would certainly be welcome, it is far from being the panacea. The truth is that the industry has long relied on outmoded processes and legacy systems that have created inefficiencies.

Digital tools hold the key to improving worker earnings, increasing the availability of care, and stretching care budgets. It is only through technology that the industry will be able to transform to deliver an alternative model of care.