How Neath Port Talbot’s integrated care system is coordinating health and social care in their community 

November 8th, 2021

Neath Port Talbot has an integrated health and social care team to facilitate hospital discharge and reduce avoidable admissions. Their Reablement service aims to foster independence in a mainly frail and elderly population – reducing the need for long-term care by using an enabling approach and promoting independence. This approach has been proven to improve self-esteem and long-term wellbeing as well as reducing escalations in health and social care needs. 

Their ambition is to intelligently coordinate health and social care services around their citizens, including

  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Physiotherapists 
  • Dietitians  
  • Speech and Language Therapists  
  • Assistant Practitioners/ Therapy Technicians 
  • Reablement Support Workers   

The day-to-day management of teams providing these services is complex. Accurate record-keeping, effective scheduling, and making sure all team members are safe are essential to their operation and facilitating positive outcomes for patients. Intelligent digitisation offers an opportunity to achieve these goals, while building meaningful datasets and generating evidence that informs decisions for continual improvement in working practices and care. 

Helping our citizens achieve independence 

Jo Bradburn at the Community Resource Team, Neath Port Talbot said, “We need flexibility around scheduling because one day a patient may need a lot of time and support to achieve independence and other times they may be able to complete their activities of daily living more quickly. To plan our service effectively, it’s vital that we understand the number of sessions and the time required to achieve an outcome – be that independence or reaching the maximum potential before commissioning long term care.  

“Previously there has been no way to track if times are reducing, or to see patterns that might help us improve the care experience and reduce pressure on clinicians. Gathering data on how we operate day by day will finally give us the information we need to make informed longer-term decisions. Malinko will transform how we work – giving us a true understanding of our populations’ needs and how we can maximise capacity to support them. 

“Before Malinko, we’d be using outdated processes in terms of how staff have been scheduled. Everything has been paper-based, meaning staff have had to go into the office – which isn’t ideal from a time or infection control perspective.  

“The scheduling and data capture that Malinko will provide across all our services will give us a true picture of capacity and demand. We‘ll be able to see where people are and schedule unplanned care easily. We’ll be able to build efficiencies and provide a better experience for staff and patients. Malinko will prevent duplication of work and allow us all to provide better care for our communities.  

Why we chose Malinko 

The main difference between Malinko and other suppliers was the way they invested in understanding our vision, what we needed – and tailored the support to fit us. The training feels intuitive and straightforward. Plus, we just really like the team. That was a big thing for us, working with people who cared and who were flexible and able to support us appropriately. The way Malinko is able to communicate with some of our existing IT systems for more prudent working has also been a benefit to the services.  


Understanding capacity and demand across community health and social care 

Hospitals and community services are under so much pressure right now and Malinko will help us to robustly evidence our resource needs, and how we can better manage capacity in a clear, effective way. In time we’ll use this to inform service redesign – changing how patients get triaged through the system.  


Managing change within the organisation  

Often, we come across resistance to change but with Malinko it’s been completely different because the team had ownership of this project from the start. The staff have had control. It’s their system and they have provided the leadership amongst themselves to inspire and motivate the rest of the team. 

We were honest about our plans for automating the service and asked for suggestions from on how they wanted Malinko to support their daily working lives. Many of our staff feel that Malinko will improve communication between therapy and support staff as well as helping to keep them safe via lone working features. 

We’re also purchasing handheld mobile devices for the team. Digital inclusion is a big part of our change management process and we had volunteers with varying levels of technological expertise to trial the system, which gave confidence to others in the team that they would be able to give Malinko a go! We’re at the start of our journey but have high hopes that Malinko will be a game-changer for us in Neath Port Talbot.