Partial lockdown - balancing physical and mental health
As partial lockdown hits some parts of the UK, what are the facts about exercising in gyms
Will Jones, October 2020
In the last few weeks, UK gyms and leisure centres have hit the headlines again, with some being asked to close for a second time due to increasing local cases of COVID-19.
But it’s been great to see the fitness industry fighting back by making the case for the many benefits of exercise on people’s physical and especially mental wellbeing during the pandemic.
There is quite a bit of debate on this subject all focussed on establishing how safe is it to use a gym during coronavirus. There is a great article by Christian Hewgill looking at the two sides of the argument along with the BBC Reality Check analysis here at BBC Newsbeat.
For customers who are still open in low transmission locations, we have continued to help analyse participation rates in their busy their gyms, pools and group exercise sessions. The high number of bookings show exercise is still firmly on many people’s minds despite the risks from COVID.
At Cascade3d, we strongly believe in the many benefits of exercise and can’t wait to see all our customers leisure centres fully open again soon.
Quality seal of approval
Cascade3d passes the TSA QSF annual audit with flying colours
Gerry Hodgson, October 2020
I am delighted to post, that following another rigorous annual assessment by the TSA Quality Standards Framework Auditor, Cascade3d has passed all elements again this year.
“This is a great achievement and a reflection of the great work that you and your team are doing, to deliver a high quality service. Congratulations and well done!”
The QSF accreditation process is itself overseen by UKAS, the UK’s National Accreditation Body, responsible for determining, in the public interest, the technical competence and integrity of organisations. Read more…
I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Cascade3d for their relentless work driving the quality of everything we do.
Leisure centres, gyms and pools reopen safely
It’s great to see many of our leisure customers reopen open their doors and welcome back exercise hungry members!
Will Jones, July 2020
With the new social distancing and cleanliness requirements for sport and leisure venues in place, the workout experience is now very different from before.
While fitness members are digging out swim goggles, trainers and sweat bands, we are helping facility managers send text messages to their members pre-visit, confirming visit times to assist with social distancing and give COVID-19 specific safety advice before arrival. It is delightful to see kids back in our leisure centres enjoying themselves.
Many of our customer are using Cascade3d analytics to monitor the number of bookings that have taken place and the trend in bookings for the coming days. Fully automated reports are delivered to the entire management team so they can see the numbers of visitors and plan for expansion in the range of activities.
We are also sending post-visits surveys to members to check their satisfaction levels and gather opinions to make further improvements, ensuring everyone feels as safe and protected as possible.
Please contact-us if you would like to learn more.
TSA release the Sector Insight Report July 2020
Rosamond Roughton, Director-General, Adult Social Care, Department Of Health & Social Care describes how the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the role that digital solutions can play in protecting and connecting people and communities.
Gerry Hodgson, July 2020
The key outcomes from Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and NRS Healthcare project utilising our Cascade3d Connected Care platform are included in the report along with many other impressive innovations changing the way we provide health and care services.
Click this link to register and download a copy of the TSA Sector Insight Report and see the impact digital innovation is having on the sector.
NRS Healthcare have published their latest TEC case study examining how video calls and the Cascade3d Connected Care dashboards have helped significantly reduce hospital admissions in high risk patients. For more, read the NRS Healthcare case study.
TSA Strategic Series Webinar
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and NRS Healthcare discuss digital health monitoring and triage
Gerry Hodgson, June 2020
Sarah Jones is the lead for TECS strategy and development for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and with colleague Sarah Bradley, Community Service Manager and Jayne Youdan, Service & Transformation Manager for NRS Healthcare, they discuss their digital transformation journey in this week’s TSA strategic webinar.
You can watch the TSA webinar and hear how Cascade3d Connected Care is playing a key part in supporting service transformation for TSDFT ever since the start of the COVID crisis. To access all the TSA webinars and the full list of speakers, please click here.
Here is the link to access Sarah's TSA webinar presentation slides.
COVID-19 safety advice campaigns for golf bookings
Will Jones, May 2020
In mid-March the government announced that some outdoor sports facilities were allowed to re-open after the peak of the UK COVID-19 transmissions had passed. Telford and Wrekin Council contacted us to see if we could deliver intelligent messaging to their golf customers to help them manage the re-opening of their course at Horsehay Village Golf Centre.
We were asked to make sure each customer who booked a golf session, was sent the latest safety information prior to their game.
We decided the most effective approach would be to set up an automatic booking confirmation campaign to merge the tee-off time and include a link to the safety information on the Telford and Wrekin leisure website. This page is updated whenever the safety advice changes so the latest information is always available for golfers. The personalised message has helped ensure customers visit at the right time and comply with social distancing requirements.
Following the success of the golf campaign, it has been extended to include bookings for the outdoor athletics track now that the venue has also been given the green light to re-open.
As more and more leisure venues are allowed to welcome customers back, this is a great solution for all bookable activities, ensuring customers feel confident that their visit will be a safe experience.
Amazon Echo Show videocalls help shield patients
Gerry Hodgson, April 2020
We are absolutely delighted to be supporting the NHS and Adult Social Care teams in this upside-down world as we try to shield vulnerable patients and staff from the invisible threat borne by COVID-19. We think of the NHS staff as superheroes and I really hadn’t appreciated that some community matrons, nurses and carers are also having to self-isolate if they are vulnerable themselves.
Our Cascade3d Connected Care platform has really highlighted how the insights from sensors and medical devices on the dashboard has helped both staff and patients protect each other via the use of video calling. Patient's readings are automatically uploaded to the Cascade3d dashboard and allows staff to remotely triage patients, enabling them to continue to work from home and support their colleagues.
Loved ones can’t travel and some are living on other continents, so it is wonderful to see the joy and relief video calling and digital sensor technology is brining to patients, family, carers and nursing staff.
My DIY job to repair the kitchen door has literally been shelved with the door being repurposed as at workbench in the living room as we prepare Echo Shows and medical devices destined to support elderly and vulnerable people shielding in their own homes.
Ollie and Gerry preparing medical devices and Amazon Alexa Echo Show to support remote patient triage
Gerry Hodgson, March 2020
We were relieved to learn of the postponement of Naidex due to the risks of spreading coronavirus to the thousands of elderly and disabled people and their carers due to visit the NEC show on 17-18th March.
An official statement from Naidex organiser Roar techmedia said:
“Like many large event organisers, the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors and staff is always our number one priority. This is particularly pertinent in the care and health sector communities that Naidex brings together. Many of our visitors are, or are on the frontline of supporting, the most vulnerable in society. This combined with the fact that health and social care workers will be critical to ongoing containment and management strategies, means that we have taken the decision to reschedule Naidex to later in the year and will confirm this date by Monday 16th March 2020."
I hope it won't be too long before the crisis is resolved and we are able to come together with other suppliers, healthcare professionals and clients to discuss healthtech in a safe and supportive environment. You can find out the latest news from AT Today in the meantime here.
Gerry Hodgson, February 2020
I'm pleased to announce that we are now fully certified under the National Cyber Security Centre's Cyber Essentials Scheme.
The scheme is world renowned for its rigorous accreditation standards so you can be confident that our systems are fully compliant with essential cyber security measures and protected against the most common attacks.
You can find out more here.
Use of assistive tech - still plenty of room for improvement
Clare Flanagan, February 2020
A new survey from Hft and Cebr has shown that 81% of social care providers believe that they are not using assistive technology to its full potential despite understanding the benefits.
76% of respondents said that assistive tech could improve outcomes, 68% said that it enabled users to be more independent and two thirds said that staff could offer much more meaningful support when they were backed up by technology.
Aside from funding issues, one of the main barriers is a lack of confidence in introducing and working with the new devices. Having collaborated with a number of local authorities to set up and implement assistive technology projects, we are able to guide our clients every step of the way. To find out more, please get in touch.
Good news for the new year
Gerry Hodgson, January 2020
I'm really pleased that people with disabilities and long term health conditions will no longer have to pay for parking at NHS hospitals from April 2020. This might seem a small change but it will really help those who need frequent outpatient appointments including many of the clients we support.
The new Government has also committed to creating a National Strategy for Disabled People before the end of 2020, with the aim of improving access to housing, education, transport and jobs. An article in a recent AT Today says this "could mean additional tendering for assistive technology to help reduce the disability gap", which is great news for us and the organisations we work with.
Other pre-election pledges include:
A doubling of funding for dementia research
£74 million for new supported housing for people with learning difficulties and autism
The leisure industry has also seized the opportunity to make physical activity a priority in 2020. Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive has said: "The new government must put physical activity at heart of the prevention agenda for our health service, recognising the full potential of the physical activity sector to deliver against this and other urgent societal challenges." ukactive has a list of policies it would like to see implemented; you can find out more here.
Gerry Hodgson, December 2019
Christmas has come early for Cascade3d. With Chas heading back to Oz to run the Australia office for the winter (lucky thing) we had our last team meeting of the year and then put on our gladrags for our Christmas do.
After another incredibly busy year it was great to unwind with good food and great company and raise a glass to the year ahead.
This year we are proud to support WWF and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust.
Our helpdesk is open 9-5 Mon-Fri throughout the festive season except the following days:
25th and 26th December - CLOSED
1st January - CLOSED
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
From Gerry and the Cascade3d team x
Ten reasons why social care matters so much
Gerry Hodgson, November 2019
Brexit continues to dominate the headlines and the General Election agenda but a recent BBC article demonstrates very clearly that "the problems are now so acute that politicians who ignore the issue at this election, do so at their peril."
The ten areas highlighted in the article should alarm politicians from all parties. The Alzheimer's Society has estimated that "without local authority help, someone with dementia will typically have to spend £100,000 on the care they need." While Age UK estimates "there are 1.5 million people in England who need some help with day-to-day life, but do not receive it."
At a time when local councils are trying to do more and more with less money and there is a recruitment crisis in the care industry, the need for cost effective, technologically advanced solutions to help support the most vulnerable members of our communities is clear. You can find the full article here.
Top quality teamwork!
Gerry Hodgson, October 2019
I'm delighted to announce that Cascade3d is now Quality Standards Framework (QSF) certificated. It was absolutely brilliant to be presented with the award in front of 350 people at the TSA gala dinner.
This award demonstrates that we put ‘quality and safety’ at the heart of our Connected Care system. I would like to thank the whole team in the UK, Australia and India who have worked so hard to make this happen - this is for you!
Gerry, Will and Sharon at the TSA gala dinner
Open for business
Gerry Hodgson, October 2019
We're exhibiting at the TSA International Technology Enabled Care conference and it's been very busy so far.
No time for a full update but here is a quick pic of Stand 16 looking good and ready for visitors. We hope to see you there.
See you there?
Will Jones, October 2019
Gerry and I will be at the TSA International Technology Enabled Care conference in Birmingham on 15th-16th October. The theme for this year's conference will be: Citizen Powered Communities and we're looking forward to demonstrating how Cascade's Connected Care system is driven by its users.
If you're planning to come along we'd love to say hello. Either pop by our stand (number 16) or contact us to let us know the best time to catch up.
Cascade3d launches integrated invoice and debtor management
Will Jones, September 2019
As part of our ongoing quest for automation, cost savings and efficiencies in the back office, we have developed an invoicing and debtor module to collate billing details for client accounts across multiple data sources. Invoices are automatically created and branded in .pdf format and emailed to clients.
Debtors are chased by monitoring unpaid accounts and similarly emailed to clients via the Cascade3d Communicate module.
No rest for the wicked!
Gerry Hodgson, August 2019
August is traditionally a quiet month for British businesses as staff and customers head off on annual leave. We seem to be busier than ever preparing tenders and business proposals, following up on some fantastic opportunities in India and developing new functionality for our Communicate system!
Whether you are relaxing on the beach or still working hard in the office right now, we hope you have a great summer and I look forward to sharing all our news with you next month.
Urgent call for more accessible homes
Clare Flanagan, July 2019
There have been warnings of an ‘accessible homes crisis’ as a new report from Habinteg Housing Association reveals that more than 75% of the new homes due to be built outside London by 2030 will be unsuitable for older and disabled people. Only 1% will be accessible by wheelchair.
Dr Rachael Docking, Senior Programme Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better has called the lack of accessible homes 'shameful' and has called on developers to 'make every new-build home in the UK future-proofed and accessible'. She said, 'Inaction condemns disabled and older people to daily suffering and limited independence. With action and commitment, we can build better homes that everyone can live in, regardless of their age or ability.'
Sporting heroes - Elevate 2019
Will Jones, June 2019
I had a great time at the Elevate Conference last month. It's always a fantastic event - the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and contacts from across the leisure industry (and to take a closer look at the new equipment that will be appearing soon at a gym near you!).
As well as the networking, there was a really interesting education programme and I went to a talk by Gareth Thomas, ex Wales and British Lions Rugby Captain. He gave us a great insight into the huge dedication required to be an elite athlete and also talked passionately about his work on tackling homophobic abuse in sport. A brave man and a true sporting hero and I was honoured to chat to him about the upcoming World Cup after his talk. Come on Wales!
Trip to Shravanabelagola sparks dehydration discussion
Gerry Hodgson (CEO), May 2019
Leaving keyboards and mice behind, we visited the magnificent 57ft high monolithic statue of Bahubali, Shravanabelagola, built in Ganga dynasty approximately 3,000 years ago. He is reported to have excelled in studying medicine and in the scorching heat of the day our conversation soon turned to the topic of effects of dehydration and increasing shortage of water.
We are continuing to develop support for nutrition and hydration management using IoT sensors while the experience for Mohan’s family in the floods in Kerala and the drying up of borewells in Bangalore really highlight extremes that bring health concerns in both situations, especially to elderly and vulnerable people.
It was a fascinating and interesting day with our thirst quenched with baby coconut water but enduring the extreme heat climbing the 700 steps was serious food for thought.
Meet our talented Cascade3d team based in Bangalore.
Gerry, Mohan and Harish visiting the Bahubali statue in Shravanabelagola
New app can 'detect Alzheimer's risk'
Clare Flanagan, Apr 2019
A pioneering new mobile phone game is enabling researchers to identify people who are at risk of developing Alzheimer's, before they show any signs of memory loss.
Sea Hero Quest, developed by Deutsche Telekom in partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK, the universities UCL and UEA and game developers Glitchers, includes navigation challenges to assess a player's spatial awareness. There is a correlation between this and the APOE4 gene. Carriers of the gene are three times more likely to develop the disease (and at an earlier than average age).
Lead Researcher Prof Michael Hornberger, from UEA’s Medical School, said: “Dementia will affect 135 million people worldwide by 2050. We need to identify people earlier to reduce their risk of developing dementia in the future. Current diagnosis of dementia is strongly based on memory symptoms, which we know now are occurring when the disease is quite advanced. Instead, emerging evidence shows that subtle spatial navigation and awareness deficits can precede memory symptoms by many years."
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK said, “Using big data to help improve the early and accurate detection of the diseases that cause dementia can help revolutionise how we research and treat the condition. Sea Hero Quest is an amazing example of how pioneering research can help scientists get one step closer to a life-changing breakthrough.”
To find out more, visit the Sea Hero Quest site.
Putting health and social care to the 5G test
Gerry Hodgson, Mar 2019
I've been in Liverpool this week demonstrating our Connected Care system to the Liverpool 5G Consortium. The Consortium is a group of technology developers, the council, service users, hospitals and universities which won £3.5 million from the Government to create a health and social care testbed in the city. This will assess how well 5G technology could improve healthcare delivery - especially when it comes to self-managed care at home.
So why 5G? 5G is much faster than other networks and almost 100% reliable. It has been designed to work with Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which makes it perfect for our sensors, dashboards and alerts.
I had a great day setting up and demonstrating the system and meeting some of the other providers and I'm looking forward to seeing the results once the roll out is underway.
Image courtesy of Bryan Griffiths
Belfast Zoo in the News
Will Jones, Feb 2019
It’s not often that one of our clients hits the front pages. Belfast Zoo had a rather unwelcome brush with fame this month after some of the zoo’s chimpanzees used a broken branch as a makeshift ladder to scale the walls of their enclosure.
One cheeky chimp even made it as far as the path, surprising a family walking there, before taking himself back to his enclosure. Luckily, zookeepers were on the scene and were able to remove the branch, which had fallen from a tree damaged in a storm, and ensure all the chimps were safely inside.
This is the first time we’ve ever worked with a zoo and it has been a lot of fun. The team in Belfast are using our Reporting and Analytics tools to analyse visitor numbers and merchandise sales.
Let’s hope this helps to get the zoo back in the headlines for all the right reasons – strong growth and increased sales - rather than the antics of those mischievous apes.
Image from Belfast Zoo
NHS Digital Testbed
Gerry Hodgson, January 2019
2019 got off to a great start with the news that the Connected Care platform is to be installed as part of a groundbreaking NHS Digital project in the North East. Sunderland City Council is one of 12 councils selected to receive extra funding to enable them to explore how digital technology can be used to improve social care.
We will be looking at how technology can help with challenges such as medication management and ensuring optimum nutrition and hydration levels are maintained at home.
This is a hugely important project and we are thrilled to be part of it. The first installations start soon and I'm looking forward to sharing more information about the project and the results as they come through.