Digital solutions in care homes

HI NENC (formerly AHSN NENC) has supported the accelerated use of digital solutions in care homes since 2017, with the aim of transforming patient care across the North East and North Cumbria. To date, we’ve helped make digital solutions available to over 280 care homes and over 8,000 of their residents.

The benefits of this work are vast and include:

  • Residents feeling better cared for and more involved in their care
  • Greater reassurance for resident’s families
  • Care home staff feeling more empowered with increased confidence when communicating with healthcare professionals
  • Improved communication between care home staff and healthcare professionals, enabling improved resident care through enhanced caseload management
  • Freeing up care home staff from lengthy phone calls
  • Allowing both care home and clinical staff to spend more time with residents
  • Cost saving benefits that contributes to reduced hospital admissions, A&E attendance and visits to the care homes by other healthcare professionals.

North East and North Cumbria projects

Vitalerter solution pilot (three month pilot completed July 2023)

*This project has been funded by the Department of Health & Social Care’s Digitising Social Care Fund through NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board.

The AHSN NENC undertook a real-world evaluation on the Vitalerter innovation which claims to reduce falls and manual turn checks.

From April – July 2023, 30 devices were deployed in six care homes within the County Durham area. Headline impact from the evaluation includes:

  • Vitalerter contributed to a significant reduction in falls (31 less falls or 53% reduction against baseline) from the 15 devices deployed.
  • The Vitalerter solution resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the estimated number of manual turns required, which highlighted a significant number of days the resident wouldn’t need turning and therefore a reduction in manual turns required by the care home staff.
  • The resulting reduction in falls means care homes staff time are utilised more effectively.

The project team involved partners from AHSN NENC, HC One, Durham County Council, the University of Sunderland and Porters Care (supplier of the Vitalerter solution).

Read more about the evaluation in this case study.

Well Connected Care Homes (2017 – 2021)

A project with an aim to make care homes internally and externally ‘well connected’ in the digital age, adding value for service users, carers, families and care providers and the wider health and social care system.

The programme had two main aims:

  • To improve record keeping for care home residents by using tablet based apps to allow electronic recording of care plans and to allow clinical record keeping for individual residents
  • To promote the use of electronic communication of patient (resident) clinical information between care homes and other parts of the wider healthcare system.

The project also led to the development of the “Is my resident unwell tool”. The communication tool was created to assist staff in recognising signs and in recording a set of observations. Download a PDF version of the tool here.

Find out more about the programme and download useful resources

Remote Monitoring and Scaling Digital Solutions in Care Homes programme (2020 – 2022)

The Remote Monitoring and Scaling Digital Solutions in Care Homes programme was a two-year programme that followed on from Well Connected Care Homes. The project aimed to build on the digital health advances achieved during the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate the use of digital innovations to transform patient care.

There were three main programme objectives:

  • To support care homes in the adoption of the Health Call Digital Care Homes service to become better connected
  • To enhance the quality of care and overall experience for care home staff and their healthcare partners
  • To significantly improve communication between care homes and wider healthcare services.

The programme rolled out the Health Call service into four areas in the region  – Newcastle, Gateshead, Tees Valley and North Cumbria. Upon its completion, digital services have been made available to over 280 care homes and over 8,000 of their residents.

Find out more about the programme and download useful resources


For more information on the work we have done so far to support care homes, please contact [email protected]