The mPower project is a real success story. The project over achieved the targets set and the learning that has been achieved paves the way for future opportunities for service transformation and for potential future cross-border collaborations.
More importantly though, the project has made a significant positive impact on the lives of older people. The independent project evaluation findings from University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) show that beneficiaries found interactions with mPower to be positive experiences.
Specifically beneficiaries highlighted feeling decreased social isolation, decreased loneliness, increased feelings of empowerment and confidence, increased digital literacy and a facilitation of self-management behaviours.
See the impact page for the numbers of people we reached, the full impact brochure and the impact films.
The successful achievements of mPower demonstrates how the challenges faced, when shared across partners working in Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland can be better tackled through collaboration. Because the teams worked together and supported each other there has been a huge amount of additional positive value to the wellbeing of our citizens and to the training and learning of our staff.
As a result of Covid-19 how the project had to quickly adapt and find new effective and creative solutions. Whilst of course the pandemic has been tough for all, the opportunity it presented to the project was that many people, both the older people we were supporting but also the health and social care profession were more open to finding digital solutions and ways of working. Because of mPower’s previous work with digital health interventions, we were quickly able to adapt to find innovative solutions to a range of challenges.
We connected Care Home residents and older people to their family after they found they were suddenly very isolated because of the lockdowns. We provided specific Covid recovery guidance to the most vulnerable to the disease, those with long-term respiratory conditions and we were instrumental in rolling out digital health appointments nationally across the Republic of Ireland and throughout the HSE.
We know that being connected to others and to your local community has a positive impact on our health. We’ve supported many third-sector and voluntary groups either through funding to get their groups up and running again post pandemic or through referring our beneficiaries to them. We know that when people get together it’s good for everyone. Social isolation and loneliness is a big issue for older people and espeicially in rural areas, so whether it’s connecting people into their online coffee morning, supporting them with a Weekly Audio visual engagement call, taking them to a local dance group or supporting a local allotment project, mPower has facilitated people to stay connected.
We know that being connected to others and to your local community has a positive impact on our health. The mPower project has achieved a huge amount of success with connecting older people, many of whom were socially isolated into their communities and to their friends and families. We’ve utilised other projects to get older people access to devices and we’ve supported them in learning how to use the technology to improve their connections, pleasure and general wellbeing. We’ve taught people and given people the confidence to get set up with online banking, online shopping, using the internet to access things they enjoy such as music or films, and we’ve shown people how to use various apps to connect with friends and family all over the world.
Throughout the project we’ve seen time and time again how older people can and will embrace digital technology to enhance their lives, specifically to improve their health and wellbeing: if they are supported to develop the necessary skills; removing barriers and build their confidence. We’ve successfully introduced a range of both health and citizen technology to vastly improve people’s life, whether that’s through facilitating better self-management of their long term condition, such as using apps like My Diabetes My Way or fully using devices like an ECHO or KOMP, everyone who has given these new things a try has benefited.
A person-centred approach to digital health and care has been instrumental to the success of mPower. By giving beneficiaries choice and listening to what really matters to them we have built trust, and empowered people to really be in control of what makes a difference for them. Often, people know what they need and just need a little help to put things in place. The Wellbeing Plans we’ve implemented is a holistic approach, looking at the chronic condition first, but crucially also pleasure and purpose, meaning people can improve their wellbeing in a whole manner of ways.
Many of our successes have been in part down to fantastic cross-border working relationships with colleagues. We’ve shared our ideas, resources and learning to be able to improve services, create new innovative services and to roll out existing technology nationally.
mPower leaves a strong legacy across all of our partners and services. We’ve demonstrated that the main approached of mPower can can be adopted more broadly and sustainably, in the community and at home, in health and care, and by beneficiaries, carers and services. We’ve also proven the benefits of cross-border collaboration and that each jurisdiction has so much to bring to the table.