The positive impact on the lives of older people will be its lasting legacy
Almost 7,000 older people struck by illness have benefitted from a project which enables them to live independently.
mPower supported elderly patients who are fighting long term conditions to take control of their conditions at home by using technology, while simultaneously freeing up GPs and other healthcare professionals so that they can treat more people.
The project – which covered Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - was a partnership consisting of public and third sector bodies including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Now as the EU-funded five year scheme comes to an end, organisers said it exceeded all expectations and will pave the way for service transformation and cross-border collaboration in the future.
They said the positive impact on the lives of older people will be its lasting legacy.
Shirley Prahms from Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, worked with mPower Community Navigators to use ARMED technology with a smartwatch, to aid her recovery from a back injury.
She said “When I was first given it I thought I wouldn’t cope with the technology. I thought I wouldn’t be able to remember to charge it, that I’d get fazed by the phone, but I didn’t. And in fact I enjoyed it. And as a result I’m in the process of sort of moving towards a smart phone myself. And I’ve decided to carry on with the watch after the project.
“When I got calls from the support team it was really nice. They asked how I was, how things had been going, whether there were any difficulties. And having that support was really important. I valued it a lot. It was really important to know that somebody cared. There was somebody out there during these Covid times. There was somebody out there that cared and bothered to ring up”.
The project, which was managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, was successful in empowering people over 65 to take control of their health and wellbeing at home. It used social prescribing and digital health technologies.
A closing celebration event saw the release of the final evaluation report, delivered by the University of the Highlands and Islands.The key findings clearly demonstrate that beneficiaries have found their interactions with mPower to be positive experiences. The report highlights decreased social isolation, decreased loneliness, increased feelings of empowerment and confidence, increased digital literacy and a facilitation of self-management behaviours.
The event was attended by a wide range of interested parties, from senior stakeholders and policy professionals across the three governments to health and social care professionals and clinicians as well as senior representatives from the third-sector and community groups, all of whom work with older people living with a long-term condition.
Matched funding was also provided by the Scottish Government as well as the Departments for Health in Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Scotland’s public health minister, Maree Todd, said: “It is great to see the positive impact the mPower project has had on the lives and wellbeing of those involved. It has shown the real benefit of working with people in their communities to develop the services that support them, and how this along with technologies delivers the person-centred healthcare we all want to see, supporting people to continue to live as independently as possible and manage their own health and wellbeing.
“The valuable learnings will now be taken forward as we continue to adopt new innovative approaches that can enhance our health and care services.”
See the mPower legacy website for further details including a copy of the final evaluation report.