News & Views – Health and Wellbeing Innovation & PartnershipsCaroline Laurenson
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Listen to this week’s news above or read on!
We enjoy sharing information about technology, wellbeing, housing and social care that we find interesting. For the past year, our social media was the main place that we published these articles and news stories. Our blog has mainly covered internal news and more recently our interviews with experts in the social care and wellbeing sectors.
Our mission is very much about educating and helping people learn more about the potential of smart home technologies. Making this information accessible and in a format that is easy to refer back to is also really important, hence this weekly round-up.
In this week’s instalment, I’ll provide insight into:
- The growing trend of wellbeing hubs within our communities.
- Voice technology company AlanaAI is developing solutions in partnership with the RNIB
- The wellbeing benefits of being creative.
- How research is helping to support the wellbeing of NHS doctors.
- More mental health support is needed for Gen Z.
- A new app to support young people feeling lonely after cancer diagnosis.
Last Week’s News & Views
Wellbeing Parks and Hubs are a Growing Trend
Creating hubs for innovation into health and wellbeing have benefits for technology start-ups, healthcare providers, wellbeing services and the wider community. It will be great to see how this new King’s Hall Life Sciences development in Belfast grows over time. The facilities include laboratory and office space for life science and medical technology companies. Future plans include specially designed elderly care, a nursery and a mixed-use medical facility. The project is being funded by the Department of Finance under the Northern Ireland Investment Fund.
I think these wellbeing parks are an approach that would be great to see right across the country, bringing innovation closer to communities and providing opportunities for learning and access to cutting edge health innovations.
AlanaAI to Develop Solutions in Partnership with the RNIB
AlanaAI are a specialist conversational artificial intelligence developer. Their latest project to be announced is a collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to develop solutions for blind and partially sighted people. You can read more about this story here.
Wellbeing Benefits from being Creative
There is something really special about the way that art and being creative connects us. It’s a hugely important part of how we see and engage with the world. As an engineer, I’m really passionate about showing how it’s not all about following the formulae and precision but can be very experimental. You often need to use a creative approach to problem solving and be open to the journey of discovery that this opens up.
The past year has also shown us how important creative hobbies are for our wellbeing. So I loved this story about a project in Cumbria that has received funding to improve physical and mental wellbeing through the power of social prescribing. The North Cumbia Arts, Health and Wellbeing Partnership will use the funds to appoint a development worker to coordinate partnership activity, support community connection and strengthen the range of social prescribing activities offered, particularly those related to the arts and culture.
Research is Helping to Support the Wellbeing of NHS Doctors
A Scotland-wide research group, headed up by researchers at Aberdeen University is building a robust evidence based about the wellbeing of doctors on the frontline in the NHS.
Doctors have been using the How Was Your Day app to rate how they feel throughout the day and have had access to the NHS National Wellbeing Hub. Alongside this over 100 doctors were interviewed. The data from these interactions and interviews is now being used to inform potential changes to working practices. Some key areas have emerged as a priority for development, including aspects such as:
- Provision of rest and relaxation spaces in the workplace.
- Help with switching off outside of work.
- Psychological support for the trauma of seeing people dying, often alone, due to covid-19.
- Providing better support to staff to help them cope with rapid changes to working practices and requirements.
- Addressing challenges presented by disruption to training of staff.
You can read more about this story here.
More Mental Health Support is Needed for Gen Z
The government’s Kickstart scheme is one positive to come out of the pandemic. Even before covid-19 came along, young people often struggled to find work or further study opportunities when leaving school. Moving into adulthood and the expectations to start a career and live independently can put huge pressure on young people. Starting a new job or moving to a new community is stressful at any age. I loved reading about this initiative by employee wellbeing marketplace, Rise, in West Hertfordshire to help support young people as they embark on their journey into the workplace. The current situation with the coronavirus is still very delicate and naturally will also be causing worries, for many their first experience of the workplace will actually be working from home. West Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is offering Rise support directly to all its Kickstart and apprentice programme participants.
New App to Support Young People Feeling Lonely After Cancer Diagnosis
A new app called Alike is looking to support young people through the very difficult experience of being diagnosed with cancer and then undergoing treatment. It is inspired by Brad Gudger’s own experiences of going through cancer treatment at age 19 and again at age 24. Brad spent long spells in hospital and also had to move back in with his parents, which led him to feel lonely and isolated. His vision is to completely change how young people in the cancer community stay connected and tackle loneliness. You can read more about this story here.
The overarching theme of this week’s news has been about health and wellbeing innovation and partnerships. There are so many initiatives popping up, all borne out of need and are going to help so many people to transition through covid-19 to a place where they can feel supported and thrive. I particularly like it when collaborations are really focussed on the people being supported and they are put at the heart of the plans like in the Belfast wellbeing hub and Cumbria social prescribing project. There is nothing more powerful than lived experience and being able to harness this to support others, that’s why I loved Brad’s story so much. It’s also great to see the research work progressing to ensure that the wellbeing of our amazing NHS staff is properly supported.
If you are catching up on news you can also read last week’s News and Views post on applications of technology and research here.
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