26 July 2017

Conference review: Tech the way forward for community care

A robotic baby seal imitating companionship was one of many highlights at the Community Care Business Innovation and Transformation Conference, held in Brisbane recently.

A packed room watched intently as a robotic baby seal named PARO imitated companionship.
The design, which has been in use in Japan and Europe since 2003, has multiple sensors, which allows it to perceive people and the environment, and is believed to reduce stress and improve relaxation for its user.
This presentation was one of many highlights at the Community Care Business Innovation and Transformation Conference held in June this year.
The conference was organised by Just Better Care Brisbane North Managing Director Susanne Jones, in collaboration with Community Resourcing and the Smart AT collaborative, as well as SOUL Social Enterprises.  
More than 200 people attended this year’s conference, which was held at Queensland University of Technology Gardens Point in Brisbane.
Attendees were treated to a bevy of knowledgeable and insightful speakers, who each took a unique approach to discussing technology in the aged care and disability support sectors.
“This year’s conference was all about how as care providers, entrepreneurs, community contributors and business managers, we can channel technology to benefit and enhance the consumer-centric model of service delivery,” Susanne explained.
“We are rapidly embracing this new approach, and this conference was about sharing insights, as well as discussing the challenges facing the community care sectors and how they can be managed by utilising technological tools and processes.
“The advancements in technology pose vast opportunities for the community care sectors across the globe. Someone who receives support services can pull out their smart phone, and instantly ask for help with shopping or bathing,” Susanne said.

Photo: Rudra and Rohini from Just Better Care Brisbane North. 
Other speakers on the day included Jason Triolo representing Uber Australia, Marco Maréchal from Connected Strategic Change Processes, and Marita Cheng, founder of Robogals.
Popular community voice Dr Karl Kruszelnicki spoke about improving life using digital steps, while Dr Philippa Collin, Senior Research Fellow of Western Sydney University, discussed the value of utilising co-design and co-creation to deliver services and support.
The robotic baby seal was presented by Dr Malcolm Fisk from Telehealth Care Quality Group UK and European Quality Projects, who said the companion animal was currently being trialed in a number of aged care facilities.
“It was incredible to witness the functionality of the seal and how technology is being cemented within aged and community care as the principal way forward,” Susanne said.
Another highlight was the virtual reality device presented by Julianne Lambourne, Indigenous community leader and chief executive of enVizion.
“Ms Lambourne demonstrated how this device can be used by older Australians to experience and interact with the world around them without needing to leave their home, or to help them feel more confident about going out by virtually testing it first,” Susanne said.
This was the second conference organised by Ms Jones, following the success of last year’s inaugural Entrepreneurial Business in the Community Conference.
“I have been in discussions with the conference co-organisers around building on the success from the past two events, with plans to host another conference next year,” Susanne said.
“Watch this space.”