by Emma-Lee Curtis, Birdie – 21st April, 2020

At the heart of a global pandemic, care professionals need support more than ever before. DigitalHealth.London Accelerator SME Birdie, gives us the latest update on what they have been doing to help…

“Coronavirus is the greatest public health crisis of our century and older adults are the most vulnerable to it. It is our duty to help, now. The Birdie team is mobilising every possible resource, day and night, to help older adults be safer, healthier and better cared for. We are deploying all possible means to support care providers and the wider care community in dealing with this crisis.” said ‍Max Parmentier, CEO and Founder of Birdie

Birdie is a care management software app designed for home care businesses. With a guiding mission to support older adults and help them to live confidently in their own homes, we recognised the importance our business could play in helping alleviate the pressures home care businesses face during the crisis. 

At the heart of a global pandemic, care staff need support more than ever before and Birdie’s response has been to mobilise our team into fast-track action to support these people with a range of initiatives and bespoke features. 

So, what is Birdie doing to help?

1 – Providing care staff with a 24/7 hotline to guide and reassure them

Home care providers are under tremendous pressure and need reassurance and access to the right resources and guidance. Birdie has stepped up its customer support service with a 24/7 hotline for home care providers to answer all their questions and help them to access official guidelines and sources of information.

2 – Enabling professional carers to provide viral monitoring and support during isolation

‍Care staff spend a huge amount of time with the older adults in their care. They are the eyes and ears of clinicians and public authorities on the ground. We are developing new features within our app to help care teams identify risks and symptoms of disease in real-time and to help prioritise care for those who are most vulnerable. We’re also exploring joining forces with care services to share regular infection monitoring data, which can help support localised preparation and risk planning.

What does this look like?

So far. Birdie have rolled out the following features:

A viral symptom checklist

Birdie care

Quickly spotting viral symptoms in an elderly service user can make all the difference, both to their health and their carer’s health. Care staff on a visit can report on viral symptoms by selecting those from a handy list and sharing this information in real-time with office staff with just a few taps. Care managers will be alerted if any symptoms are recorded as positive, and will be able to take the necessary actions instantly.

A care recipient risk rating

Birdie care

Care managers can add a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) status to clients and sort them by status, ensuring the most at-risk or in-need clients are easily visible. Care managers may use this tool as they wish, but it is particularly effective when used with a risk assessment. This allows managers to allocate visits or care priority based on need, in case of an emergency (like an outbreak of COVID-19, or a dramatic shortage of staff).

Offering Birdie for free

Birdie has also recognised that our service would be of use to homecare providers nationwide and we have rolled out a free version to any new home care agency during COVID-19. We’re also discounting the price of our full package by 50%. Using digital tools can make a significant difference in identifying symptoms faster, facilitating remote working, and reducing cost pressures for providers at this critical time. 

3 – Reducing the demand on care agencies and mitigating loneliness of isolated older adults

‍While care agencies will have to increasingly shift their focus to individuals with the greatest need, others could play a role in regularly checking in with care agency clients, addressing isolation and loneliness, and monitoring risks of deterioration. Birdie are repurposing some of our team to provide support to care agencies we partner with, by making companionship calls to older adults where agencies don’t have enough carers, while recording any symptoms, based on a testing protocol.

4 – Providing digital tools to enable volunteer support to isolated older adults

Local associations, local authorities and home care providers are in shortage of workforce to support the elderly and are increasingly relying on volunteers for non-essential duties such as companionship or check-in calls. Birdie is working with multiple volunteering platforms and providing its platform for free to help coordinate volunteer support, capture visit/calls reports and monitor COVID-19 symptoms and mental health risks of older adults.

5 – Provide remote home monitoring solutions for older adults who are self-isolating

A large number of older adults have now self-isolated, leaving families and carers with limited visibility on their health and wellbeing. Birdie’s home monitoring solutions – based on connected non-intrusive sensors and telecare assistance provide 24/7 peace of mind by flagging any emergency and monitoring the health and wellbeing of older adults. We’re providing this solution at cost (no profit made) to alleviate the mental burden for families.

6 – Developing a dedicated COVID-19 hub

Birdie has also created a forum for home care providers that offers an all in one location for useful and relevant information on COVID-19. The COVID-19 content hub provides tips and advice on all things COVID, and aims to support carers, care staff and older adults through these testing times. 

How Birdie has been working with the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme:

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme has been helping Birdie to maximise it’s offering and supporting the business to reach new markets. Through the partnership, Birdie has been able to connect with clinical experts and integrated care teams to help develop our product. Birdie has also been able to further develop our research offering with support from the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator and we have also piloted schemes to launch new features. 

Contact Birdie at support@birdie.care if you wish to partner with us on any initiatives or if you’d like to sign up to Birdie free of charge.

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