Digital Passports

Now most of you have completed your 15 hours placement – share some thoughts on digital passports in social work practice and the lives of service users and carers.

5 thoughts on “Digital Passports”

  1. From our time on placement I believe that there is a good idea behind the digital passports however they are at a early stage of development and are very limited. Due to the strict data protection rules in place it makes it very hard to communicate with the service user/carer what you are creating for them and to get them involved in the process of creating them.
    Our carer had a lot of doubt over the use of the digital passport as they had similar ones done in the past that were never used by anyone. I’m in agreement that until there is a way to make the service users and carers more involved in creating and sharing the digital passport it is limited in the use it has.

  2. Digital passports within care settings were evidently a technological advancement that professionals needed to collaborate with. Creating a communication pathway for service users across various institutions are crucial, and the passports provided this. Through the use of pictures,videos and audio, society can visualise how to commit to a service users needs. However, the compulsion for individuals to co-operate with technology (care professionals) can arguably become difficult to balance with the job role in itself.
    Personalisation is pushed to the forefront of care, yet an explicit example of how depersonalisation can occur through digital passports is through the need to work with technology. The normalisation of loosing experienced hardworking professionals to such advancements is the opposite of what ‘care’ should be. If carers/professionals are constantly under pressure to keep up with new techniques which aim to empower individuals, yet are easily scrutinized if unable to collaborate with technology. The passports are going to negatively impact a service users experience of personalisation.
    Overall they provide a good mechanism for positive change however from the perspective that the passports are used to, ‘address challenges around communication within health, education, and social care’. Perhaps society needs to take a step back and focus on what entails the introducing of digital passports in order to address challenges in the first place. Discourses which are constructed around service users within society, contribute to the challenges they face, enforcing institutions to pull together in order to meet the needs of individuals through mechanisms like digital passports.

  3. I agree with Taaibah’s above commentary on the difficulties faced by service users and carers to embrace technology. I think that it was adequately accepted by many who were spoken to that technology would be a give, and an accepted part of the caring role increasingly, however, that it would not be without obstacles. In speaking with care staff who, increasingly, are being asked to embrace technology as a main form of communication it became evident that the technology that was being provided came without training or adequate explanation of how to properly incorporate it into their existing role within services.

    Digital passports, in concept, are said to be an effective way of communicating between carers and family members. However, as a form of technology which was usually based on Powerpoint, it was very clear that the concept was successful where the practical application and creation of the passport was more difficult. In practice, we observed many difficulties in creating a service passport on a technological level, including the navigation of legislation such as Data Protection acts. Although paper passports could be seen as out-dated, they also provide a secure place for information unlike that of Digital Passports which must be transferred through the web or via tablets. It also must be recognized that in order for the Digital Passports to be effective, the correct people must have the knowledge of how to access them, and how to navigate them; which could be seen as not being the case for every professional carer.

    Those who had the correct opportunities to learn and access Digital Passports could benefit from the service they provide, however not every service nor carer has these opportunities. This lead to a mixed reception of the Digital Passports.

  4. I see the Digital Passport very useful and means of communication between health professionals, carers and service users. I believe it should be adopted by every setting working with people with learning disabilities in order to provide better services to them. Regular updates should be made on the Digital Passport to have current information about the service user.
    During our placement, it was observed that our carer was reluctant to provide some information to update the passport. She was not all that keen to have a digital passport but would prefer hand copy one as she saw the paper one more reliable and secure.
    It was an interesting experience.

  5. My digital passport experience concerned a SU who had recently transitioned into adult services and we worked alongside his family, his key worker and the community nurse who worked with the family.

    I felt is was incredibly important to the SU and his family that a portable form of accessible documentation was critical, especially in times of emergency.
    My SU had real difficulty in regulating their temperature and should it rise or drop by even 1 degree then hospital admittance was the answer for my SU.
    Knowing my SU’s movements and little signs of communication was a fine art, so I feel the passport was a very quick way to understand him as a person first and not a condition with a personality.
    The SU’s family included younger siblings so anything which could help his Mother was particularly helpful so she didn’t have to talk to numerous people about the same thing. It makes treatment and knowing her son, very quick.
    On a nice added bonus, that should i-gaze technology be given to my SU, it would mean he could have more of a ‘voice’ for himself which during trial runs of the programme seen him able to follow along on the screen much to his mother’s surprise. It added a unknown layer to their communication and potentially means he could choose to listen to the music he likes for example which we already included within the passport.

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