The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the introduction of technological innovation in social care. This project investigates the extent to which care workers and service users participated in the choice, implementation and evaluation of the use of these new technologies.

In recent years, social care has been shaped by market values and norms including competition, profit and cost cutting. These values have influenced the introduction of new technology in providing services and managing and monitoring the workforce, while neglecting user and worker voices, leading to partial or poor implementation.

As COVID-19 has seen growth in the digitization of social care services it has also revealed flaws in the market approach to protecting our most vulnerable populations, disrupting social norms. This project explores the degree to which disruptions from COVID-19 bring new practices to improve the implementation of technology, through facilitating greater care-user and worker participation. Research will focus on different forms of digital technological deployments such as telecontrol of health-related measures, entertainment and engagement devices, biomechanical devices, digital monitoring, supervising, and controlling devices all with a focus on work and service quality related impact.

Research objectives

  1. Understand the extent to which adult social care organisations have introduced technology during the pandemic.
  2. Explore issues of participation around who has choice and voice (including workers and care users) in introducing digital technologies.
  3. Identify promising participatory practices towards inclusive digital post pandemic care.

Method

A qualitative (interviews) and participation-oriented approach to gathering data. To capture workers’ experiences, the project will also use group discussions, inspired by simulation, scenario technologies, and co-design tools.

Researchers

Principal Investigator: Dr Kendra Briken (Strathclyde Business School)

Co-Investigators: Dr Alina Baluch (School of Management, University of St Andrews),

Professor Ian Cunningham (Strathclyde Business School)