Tired of being held back by poor IT and connectivity, care providers Swallowcourt sought a high-tech lifeline for residents.

Introducing Swallowcourt

Swallowcourt, Cornwall’s leading private care provider, is led by a team of passionate individuals who work together to provide quality lifestyles in beautiful environments.

As well as managing elderly care homes that provide residential, nursing and respite care for older people, Swallowcourt also operate three specialist care homes for individuals with learning and physical disabilities and associated conditions.

But although the multi-award-winning care providers had a highly experienced and certified team behind them, they were being held back by an IT infrastructure that failed to support their data protection, connectivity and adaptive technology needs.


Swallowcourt's Challenges

Inundated with boxes of archiving and struggling with inadequate internet bandwidth, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for change in a reform that was long overdue for one of Cornwall’s largest employers. Working in one of the most challenging and pressurised of environments, Swallowcourt quickly realised they needed to invest in a comprehensive IT upgrade so they could continue to maintain the highest standard of care for which they are known for.

Leah Marsh, Managing Director for Swallowcourt at the time, said, “It is ironic that in our Poldhu Nursing Home, which is situated just metres away from the very place that in 1901, Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, that we have struggled with wireless connectivity.”

Swallowcourt were also aware of the increasing number of older people that were now embracing technological advancements, such as video and audio communication tools to keep in touch with family and friends. In addition, they wanted to provide Specialist Services, who support individuals with profound physical and learning disabilities, with class-leading IT that could pave the way for assistive technology.

Strict compliance and data protection obligations meant that Swallowcourt needed to have specific retention policies in place. How medical and personal information is being held has huge implications for the organisation, and so a complete security set-up was a top priority for them.

The implications on physical social interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic also created an urgent need to improve connectivity within the care homes. The cobbled-together system was slow, unreliable and lacked the infrastructure to support modern-day communication tools.


Solution and Results

In response to inadequate bandwidth and an inability to fully utilise today’s technology, Swallowcourt partnered with us to undertake a comprehensive upgrade of all things IT within their homes estate.

Leah Marsh said, “Whilst we had planned to upgrade our systems over the coming years, the impact of the Covid pandemic highlighted to us the need to accelerate these plans.”

We installed high-speed connectivity in each home, as well as head office, with gigabit leased lines as primary and fibre in place as failover.

A new cloud-based phone system was also implemented, allowing residents to seamlessly connect with friends and relatives during the pandemic. An enterprise Wi-Fi solution was also installed in each home to support the rollout of digital care planning via mobile devices.

The IT infrastructure was a significant investment for the care providers, but they recognised the digital transformation would reduce the administrative burdens on their staff, enhance security and provide valuable connectivity to friends and relatives during a highly challenging time.

Adaptive technologies would be a lifeline for residents who are not able to communicate verbally. Getting online was now faster, more reliable and easier to access, allowing residents to access online resources and improving quality of care.

With a comprehensive, secure IT infrastructure in place, personal information and other data could be held electronically. And rather than having to keep scanning and sending physical documents, improved communications meant health professionals could share records securely and at speed.

"We were inundated with boxes and boxes of archiving. I cannot stress enough what connectivity has meant for our residents."

Whilst the main project took 16 weeks to complete, we quickly became an extension of the team through ongoing Managed IT Support. We continue to support Swallowcourt’s drive to utilise the latest technological advancements to support the needs of their residents and staff.

Swallowcourt has exciting plans for future developments, propelled by a push for assistive technology within social care and advancements in artificial intelligence. With a ‘people before technology’ approach, the Swallowcourt-Aztek partnership is only set to strengthen further.

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