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Creation of a vibrant Digital Care and Learning Community

Creating a unique digital community with Care Sector staff, NHS clinicians and digital leads to deliver an interactive and improvement platform, aiming to improve recruitment, retention and quality of care.

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  • Proposal
  • 2022

Meet the team


  • Anne Tidmarsh: Director Simulation and Experience Digital Innovation Centre
  • Kerry Dudley: Programme Manager KSS PSC
  • Sharon Lee: Specialist Practitioner Practice Nursing
  • Karen Paine: Clinical Skills Facilitator Simulation and Virtual Reality training
  • Campbell Glazier, Nat Cowan: Technologists Digital Innovation Centre
  • Dr. Robert Stewart, Medical Director for Education and Research

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

The Care Sector has seen increased vacancy and low retention rates (34% left their role in 20/21), low pay rates (£9- £10 hourly average pay), and many quality challenges. It is a diverse sector with many providers (about 1000 in Kent and Medway). Qualifications and training rates are low. Collectively, this means learning and change are challenging to implement and sustain. Digital awareness, access to and use of digital equipment vary greatly. Communication across people’s care and support journeys is fragmented.

The use of digital methods for staff training, communication with GPs, and patient/resident vital signs monitoring would improve outcomes for individuals, save staff time and make working in the sector more attractive and therefore improve recruitment and retention. With the creation of a digital community and platform, the expectation is that improvements will be sustained, and that staff will have access and feel ownership of their methods and improvement tools.

What does your project aim to achieve?

The Digital Innovation Centre is working with the KSS Patient Safety Collaborative (PSC), and local partners such as Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (K&M CCG), Kent County Council, Health Education England (HEE), and business partners to deliver new digitally based methodologies for care staff. The aim is to make learning more visual through Simulation scenarios, working with digitally enabled mannequins (not offered to the care sector anywhere in the UK), creating case studies, videos, using Virtual Reality through Oculus Headsets (stepping in someone’s shoes). Remote monitoring and quality improvement through National programmes such as “Restore 2” brought to life through Simulation and delivered digitally improves communication with GPs and avoids unnecessary admissions but also improves understanding and enables staff whose first language is not English to participate more easily (15% of the workforce). This project particularly will improve access for this diverse staff group to a career in care.

How will the project be delivered?

The Digital Innovation Centre together with the PSC will create the Digital Platform as the basis for the Care and Learning Community. Technologists, a Clinical Skills Facilitator, VR experts, Medical Director and Senior Lecturer,  Senior Workforce Leads, Digital Specialists and Programme Manager Patient Safety Collaborative are all part of the wider Faculty.

The programme to be delivered has its foundations in Clinical and National Quality Improvement Programmes, delivered by qualified clinicians and practitioners.

A risk register has been established for the Remote Monitoring Programme and the Community Learning Platform work will be added to it.

Evaluation of the programme and measuring of the impact is in the process of being commissioned from the University of Kent.

The budget will be used to create the platform, to create communication systems with the Care and Learning Community, educational videos. eLearning modules and the ability to measure the outputs /outcomes.

How is your project going to share learning?

Simulation and Virtually Reality scenario-based skills training for the Care Sector is not currently available for the Care Sector so this programme will be unique for the UK and Ireland. Remote Monitoring based on Restore 2 Scenarios reported through digital systems is in early stages of roll out with the Care Sector and the creation of a Digital Care and Learning Community Platform where the Sector is joined by clinicians and digital leads is similarly unique. The Centre and the AHSN are committed to sharing the learning. The Platform itself will be made accessible with videos and eLearning modules. The Faculty team is based at the Digital Innovation Centre which has the facilities to deliver face-to-face as well as virtual presentations and webinars simultaneously. There is an absolute commitment to sharing Kent Surrey and Sussex wide but also Nationally and Internationally. The team is experienced in working with international projects.

How you can contribute

  • Contributions from the Q Community will be very much welcomed. Looking at the Contributor Roles set out:
  • ~ supporting us in the development of collaboration and digital skills of the participants,
  • ~ development of a Digital Strategy linked to the work,
  • ~ delivering events across the Q Community and wider and
  • ~ the communication work that goes with it.
  • Since an evaluation is being commissioned, it may be:
  • ~ helpful to learn from the insight members have with evaluation planning.
  • The Digital Innovation Centre’s vision and values ensure a need to collaborate and create Faculties across Kent and Medway, Kent Surrey and Sussex and if possible Nationally and Internationally.
  • The Centre is working with HEE to be recognised as a Digital Centre of Excellence for its Care Sector orientated digital work and sharing with other organisations and Systems is a key part of that.

Plan timeline

1 Mar 2022 Project September 2022 to March 2023


  1. Lots of interest in VR in dementia training- with great opportunities to enable HCP, carers and friends and family better insight into the experience of dementia to improve the care people with dementia receive.

  2. Such an important area of improvement for Kent & Medway given the workforce challenges and this sounds like an incredibly collaborative approach from which I see the learnings would be of huge value to other areas across UK

    1. Thanks, Charlotte: Agree, and with their willingness to share once implemented across Surrey & Sussex, the support for care staff will be huge across the region.

  3. Guest

    Rebecca Sharp 3 months, 2 weeks ago

    Exciting work Ursula, and I fully agree with Jill that it is imperative that care staff are included in the development.  I'd be really interested to see how we support this development within the Care at Home / Domiciliary Care sector and how it can link in with a number of other established and developing projects looking at workforce sustainability and skills development, as well as the wider digital agenda.

    1. Agree Becky - will be exciting to see how it develops further into domicillary care

  4. Amazing! This is so timely, incredibly exciting and so rich in opportunities to address so many challenges in the care sector and wider society even.

    The recent "The future of NHS human resources and organisational development report" lists: 'Embedding digitally enabled solutions' and 'Enabling new ways of working and planning for the future' among its key actions.

    This project feels like it can take transform such policy and guidance to practical (and virtual) reality! Can't wait to see this take off!

    1. Thank you for the reference George!

  5. I think this is a much needed concept.  Not only is the care sector losing staff and morale, those who remain often face a crisis of confidence with the digital technology entering the care sector intended to support these roles but in practice taking significant energy and resource to embed as BAU. Improved digital training would have duel benefits of being a way to improve confidence with digital tech in general, as well as the training content.

    My only addition would be to ensure care staff are included in development as only they can fully understand the 'boots on the ground' challenges faced, training gaps and optimal training delivery needs.

    1. Fully agree Jill - the care home practice facilitator is part of the project group. Thanks for your comments

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