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Register now for COBALT health and social care workshops: Cambridge July 11th, Swindon July 18th

This guest post is submitted by Professor Arlene Astell, Project Lead and Principal Investigator of COBALT (Challenging Obstacles and Barriers to Assisted Living Technologies).

COBALT is a two-year project funded by the TSB as part of the ALIP (Assisted Living Innovation Platform) programme. It is a joint venture between the Universities of Sheffield, Reading and St. Andrews and Age UK, and two subcontractors - SEHTA (South East Health Technologies Alliance and BIME (Bath Institute of Medical Engineering.  As part of the ALIP 3 – Assisted Living: Economic and Business Models and Social & Behavioural Studies - competition, COBALT was funded to develop a set of novel interactive tools that can be used by the ALT industry and service providers to engage with older adults and staff to develop, implement and improve adoption of new technology and services. The output of this process includes the COBALT Tools for Engagement, a suite of activities and techniques that have been developed and tested through the project with older adults, and staff in health and social care services. The Tools for Engagement have also been informed by interviews with 10 commissioners in a range of health and social care services across the UK to understand their priorities and aspirations for ALT.

As part of the extensive COBALT dissemination programme we are running a series of interactive workshops across the UK bringing together older adults, health and social care staff, service managers and the ALT industry. The workshops utilise the COBALT Tools for Engagement to facilitate interaction between these stakeholder groups and overcome a key obstacle identified in the first phase of the research – lack of communication. This came through strongly as a major problem within services, between managers and staff, between older adults and service providers, and between the ALT industry and services, staff and older adults.

The first workshop was held in Sheffield on 23rd May 2013 and was attended by around 60 people –older adults, health and social care staff, service providers and the ALT industry. Each participant was assigned to one of six groups to facilitate new interactions and relationships. All six groups worked hard through a series of specially-created activities designed to facilitate communication and develop dialogues between the different groups of stakeholders. The purpose was to bring together people who don’t normally have the chance to meet up and the feedback suggests we did this in spades! Everyone valued the chance to network and meet people from sectors they wouldn’t usually encounter and a few new collaborations resulted. The Q&As with the local health and social care programme manager and AT service lead also went down very well, and as a result of meeting at this event, they are now working together. In addition, each participant completed an individual action plan, committing them to taking action in their local area to move forward ALT adoption. A follow up workshop recently took place in dinburg on June 20th with two more planned in Cambridge July 11th and Swindon July 18th .

 

Go to www.cobaltproject.org or contact Dr Maggie Ellis to book your place: mpe2@st-andrews.ac.uk

 

 

 

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