Social care staff told ‘technology can be just as good as face-to-face’

SCIE issues new guidance on using tech with clients

30th October 2020 about a 2 minute read

New guidance on using technology in social care says it can work just as well as meeting clients face-to-face as long as staff have the right skills and attitude.

A briefing from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) acknowledges that the huge rise in the use of mobile phone and video consultations has its challenges. 

But it urges staff to bear in mind that some people feel more comfortable speaking to a professional on screen or on the phone.

SCIE recommends asking the individual for their preferred method of contact/communication.

Blurring boundaries

The guidance warns that a video or phone contact may blur the professional boundaries for some clients. But others may see it as a more formal encounter.

SCIE notes that earlier this year data from the Principal Social Workers national research suggested young people can feel more at ease in digitally mediated communication. 

And frontline practitioners reported they noticed better and more open communication with children and young people and some parents online. 

Building rapport and establishing meaningful relationships using technology in social work says “even when using technology you can still gather information by observing the context or through non-verbal communication.

Comments from clients and carers:

  • “This will help you build rapport and establish a meaningful relationship despite not being face-to-face”
  • “It would be good to get the questions in advance so I am prepared”
  • “First default way to contact is landline and ask ‘are there alternatives you prefer?’ And build from there”
  • “If I go into relapse I can’t speak and I have great difficulty in typing and reading, the way my brain works”