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Brain in Hand: Transforming support services for Health and Social Care

We provide a professional digital support solution to organisations across local government and health.

 

Brain in Hand aims to transform the model of care for people with a range of needs, including autistic people and those with learning disabilities or mental health difficulties. The use of innovative technology means that this can happen without increasing costs; teams can reach more people, deliver support when it’s needed, improve outcomes, and reduce support costs over time.

Brain in Hand is a professional digital support system that can be accessed via mobile. It works by combining three essential elements: personal planning, software tools for users and supporters, and access to a responder service for a human connection.

The dozens of health and social care settings in which we work span learning disabilities, autism, travel training, transition into adulthood, and step-down service support. We also have test bed projects in acquired brain injury rehabilitation and mental health services.

 

Long-term financial sustainability for support providers

With Brain in Hand, you can improve outcomes and safely step down support, reduce crisis situations, and empower service users to move towards independence. Improving outcomes, using a more efficient support delivery model, and placing less burden on valuable resources will create long term financial sustainability: reducing costs while enhancing quality of support.

Brain in Hand is commissioned by over 20% of English councils to support hundreds of service users.

Combining high-quality help from a trained specialist to get started, digital self-management tools for keeping each day on track, and easy access to extra human support when it’s needed.

In the recent Government autism self-assessment exercise, Brain in Hand was the most commonly named technological innovation for supporting independence; we’re also the top-rated support system for autistic people by independent health tech reviewer ORCHA. 

Health and social care professionals: why use Brain in Hand?

We know that achieving financial sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing health and social care in the UK today. Budgets are tight, and staff and funding shortfalls are predicted to increase in the near future. It’s more important than ever that services focus on creating scalable, efficient delivery models. At the same time, it’s vital that the quality of care doesn’t suffer.  

Support providers need a way to equip teams with the tools to keep them connected to service users. They need something that empowers people to take their independence into their own hands, allowing them to self-manage and increase their confidence, and to easily access help when things are difficult. They need to know that care can be stepped down safely, keeping a safety net around the person and their family while allowing them to do things for themselves wherever possible. 

That’s Brain in Hand. 

How does Brain in Hand help service users and support providers?

Brain in Hand is a unique solution: a blend of digital tools and human support that allows support-providing organisations  to  reach more people and for users  to  access support  when they need it.  

For service users, it’s:  

  • personalised – each  person  co-produces their own support plan and strategies based on their needs, goals, and skills with the help of a specialist;  
  • always available – support plans and self-management tools are easily accessible  via  smartphone,  tablet and web software;  
  • complemented by human input – extra help can easily and discreetly be accessed when it’s needed via a trained responder service, so help is always at hand.
A Brain in Hand user points at the workbook while holding a phone; their Specialist helps them to work out what to do
An office with several people talking or walking around

For support providers, Brain in Hand is: 

  • targeted – insight s based on usage data allow supporters and staff to  stay connected and deliver  support where it’ll  make the biggest difference;  
  • informative – each user’s timeline of activity (strategies used, along with wellbeing or anxiety levels) can be used to inform and direct your face-to-face contact time, reflecting on successes and progress as well as developing new strategies to cover areas of difficulty; 
  • data-driven – bespoke reports about how individuals and cohorts are using the system allow you to spot patterns of behaviour and adjust service provision to most effectively reach people. 

As a complete package, the overall result is that most of the time  people can  solve problems for themselves, or access help and advice before encountering a difficulty. If things do go wrong, assistance can be swiftly provided to get things back on track.  

Benefits: Delivering tangible ROI

Brain in Hand has made it possible for organisations to make their resources go further across travel, day and overnight support, and care management. Using our system, users become more independent, lowering their dependence on family members and thus reducing the risk of carer breakdown.

Tony Bacon, commissioning manager for mental health in Kirklees Council, has said:

"Brain in Hand demonstrates how assistive technology can complement services and shape our service model to improve effectiveness, quality, performance, efficiency and value for money."

A graphic showing that 64% of users report Brain in Hand helps them to manage anxiety, and that support services can save an average of £4,500 per user per year
Statistics including that 6239 individuals have been supported by Brain in Hand

Proven to improve outcomes

Brain in Hand has been proven to improve outcomes and reduce costs; we have strong evidence from our work with partners in Kirklees that Brain in Hand comfortably pays for itself with the savings it generates.

For more details on our project in Kirklees, along with information about the financial benefits measured there, get in touch to request our full project report.

Everything we do is designed to put the individual in control of their own care, in the centre of a network of linked support.

Our system is a Tier 2 digital health technology under NICE’s Evidence Standards Framework. It’s a new way of doing things, but it is fully compliant with GDPR and other regulations; accessed via a standard smartphone or computer, it’s also simple enough that it doesn’t require any extra equipment or special infrastructure to be easily integrated into existing services.

Embedding Brain in Hand into your existing services

Our skilled implementation team will work with you and your teams to plan and support the best way of embedding Brain in Hand into your services. Typically, this takes between 6 and 12 weeks. We will assign a dedicated Programme Manager who will assist you throughout the implementation for the duration of the contract.

We will provide expert advice, work with you to plan and manage implementation, help identify and engage service users, and deliver Brain in Hand in the way that works best for you. This could mean that we train your staff to become Brain in Hand specialists, or that we take care of each element of our service on your behalf; whatever most effectively enhances your existing pathways and drives the outcomes you need to achieve.

Your programme manager will help you to evaluate the impact of your project and assist you with developing your Brain in Hand programme to reach more users over time. We will provide regular data reports showing how Brain in Hand is being used and help you to determine impact and value for money.

Settings and Services

There are an estimated 700,000 autistic people in the UK, with the average cost of supporting an autistic person over their lifetime now around £800,000.

The National Audit Office’s report, ‘Supporting People with Autism Through Adulthood’, estimated that if local services were to identify and support just four percent of autistic adults in the area, they could become cost-neutral in addition to increasing earnings and reducing expenses for each individual. Increasing the identification rate to six per cent could save £38 million per year; at eight per cent, the potential savings rise to £67 million.

Our system was initially designed specifically for autistic people, focusing on the unmet needs of those who find it hard to make decisions, organise their days, cope with anxiety and deal with unexpected events. To this day, aiding those with impairments to executive function remains one of our key missions and one of the things to which Brain in Hand is best suited.  

Many people find working out what to do in a huge range of day-to-day situations incredibly taxing; over the day, it becomes exhausting and anxiety-inducing. Brain in Hand takes the work out of decision-making, but not by giving the person some generic, pre-baked advice about what we think they should do. Instead, Brain in Hand takes the time to guide the person through thinking about what they want to achieve and how they can use their strengths and skills to get there. 

The person starts by populating a secure, intuitive bit of web software with information about their schedule, things they find difficult, and the best coping strategies they can use to overcome problems; a Brain in Hand Specialist works through this process with them. They can then use their phone to access this information when they need it, solving difficulties on their own instead of panicking or becoming distressed. 

Supporters – whether that’s a family member or a member of a professional support team – can see how the person’s getting on by referring to a handy timeline which records all their activity: the problems they’ve faced, the solutions they’ve used to tackle them, and how they’ve been feeling. Brain in Hand allows you to take a step back, letting the person get on with living their life knowing that you can follow their progress, see when things are going well, and keep an eye out for difficulties. 

According to the most recent Adult Psychiatry Morbidity Survey, mental illness is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, accounting for 28% of the national disease burden. Around 5.9% of the population suffer from generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), 1.3% from obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), and 10% from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Brain in Hand helps people to manage anxiety. This makes it suitable for the many conditions with an anxiety component, such as GAD, OCD, and ADHD. People with a wide range of mental health needs may experience anxiety as a result of specific difficulties or as a general feeling which might cause them to avoid socialising, working, studying, or doing things they used to enjoy. 

Because each person’s Brain in Hand system is tailored to what works for them, everyone can use it to help them tackle their anxiety differently. For some, having on-the-go access to breathing or mindfulness exercises might help them to calm down and keep the day on track; others benefit from detailed, step-by-step recipes for solving specific problems. The human support included in the Brain in Hand system helps each user to work out what’ll be most helpful for them, while our suite of digital tools provides an easy way to structure and access all the information. 

A 2014 Hurley Group study showed that using digital health services enabled around a third of patients to self-manage or decrease inhibitions (particularly for mental health treatments). It also resulted in fewer GP appointments and shorter waiting times; allowing people to take better care of themselves means that Brain in Hand could add huge social value to mental health services.

We are currently working in several test beds to establish the best referral pathways, types of user, and methods of delivering Brain in Hand for mental health support.

The Centre for Mental Health estimates that the national annual cost of acquired brain injuries is around £15 billion; around 350,000 people are admitted to hospital with a brain injury in the UK each year, but each injury could have lifelong consequences.

For people who have had a brain injury, the journey back to living an independent life can be a long and challenging one. Things may never return to ‘normal’, but a little bit of help maintaining a regular routine and managing some of the day-to-day challenges of life can make all the difference. 

Using Brain in Hand, people with brain injuries can organise their time to make sure they complete daily tasks; those supporting them can easily review their activity to be reassured that things are going OK, or to step in and lend a hand if something gets missed.  

Access to bespoke banks of problems and solutions allows the person to record strategies that work for them and access them when they might not be able to think what to do. Likely locations of lost items, for example, give them the opportunity to get past the difficulty for themselves. 

The system also encourages individuals to take a moment to reflect on their own physical and mental feelings, particularly those of fatigue; the opportunity for guided introspection can be extremely valuable for people who may have difficulty recognising and keeping track of their moods and triggers. 

We know that freeing up staff time and resources to deliver support where it’s really needed is a major challenge for social services. Brain in Hand lets you take a step back, supporting people into independence and helping them to achieve goals for themselves. You know that they’ll be using safe strategies that work for them, and that you’ll easily be able to see if anyone’s having a tough time; with simple, data-driven insights, you can make sure that your energy is directed towards helping those who most need it. 

You’re quite literally putting the power back into the person’s own hands with our system. Because everyone’s on their phone all the time these days, there’s none of the kind of stigma that can come with less discreet support. Whether referring to advice in their own words to help them solve problems independently or alerting supporters to times of trouble, Brain in Hand is a safe, comfortable way to remove barriers to accessing help.

Case Studies

Case Study
Cornwall Council makes staff resources go further and encourages independent living
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Case Study
The Huntercombe Group increases engagement between patients and staff
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Case Study
Wigan Council's mental health services help service users take control of their own recovery
Read Case Study
Case Study
Kirklees Council reduces costs in mental health care and community support
Read Case Study
Case Study
Autism East Midlands connects specialist support staff to users and encourages independence
Read Case Study
Case Study
Hampshire County Council takes pressure off carers and families with better support for autism, learning disabilities, and mental health problems
Read Case Study

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Upcoming Events

Kirklees Autism Show 2020 - CANCELLED
  • Date: 29 Apr 2020

  • Time: 10:00 - 15:00

  • Venue: Textile Centre of Excellence, Huddersfield D2 1YF

Details
Transforming Lives Through Innovation Conference - CANCELLED
  • Date: 13 May 2020

  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00

  • Venue: Well Met Conferencing, Leeds LS1 2HA

Details
ADASS Spring Seminar
  • Date: 22 Jul 2020 - 23 Jul 2020

  • Venue: Yarnfield Park Training & Conference Centre, ST15 0NL

Details
National Children and Adult Services Conference 2020
  • Date: 04 Nov 2020 - 06 Nov 2020

  • Venue: Manchester Central Exhibition Centre, M2 3GX

Details

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much will it cost to use Brain in Hand in my organisation?

Expand Answer

The cost of an organisational Brain in Hand project is dependent on your requirements and delivery model. The most important first step for us is to identify the outcomes you want to achieve; thinking about this, along with your existing structures and resources, helps us to collaboratively identify the best way to integrate Brain in Hand into your organisation.

We can then create a bespoke proposal for you based on your requirements. This will include a number of software licences (with discounts for larger volumes), support from a dedicated programme manager to ensure that your project runs smoothly, and additional elements of support direct to the user which Brain in Hand can either deliver on an outsourced basis or train your own staff to deliver.

How long does it take to implement a Brain in Hand project?

Expand Answer

Following our initial discussions, during which we will work together to identify the best way to introduce Brain in Hand in your setting, we’ll provide a business proposal including details of your bespoke project and pricing. We can begin work on your project once you have provided a purchase order in line with the terms agreed in the proposal. We would then expect to arrange a kick-off meeting with all the relevant stakeholders, identifying potential Brain in Hand users and engaging with staff who will be involved in the project.

Setup of the first group of users can then be arranged. This usually happens two to three months after we receive your purchase order. The twelve-month subscription period of your licences will begin once the first user is set up; you will continue to receive support throughout this time, helping you to save money and support people.

What support and resources will I receive with my organisation's Brain in Hand project?

Expand Answer

As part of your project with Brain in Hand, you’ll be allocated a dedicated programme manager who’s local to you and who has experience delivering projects in settings like yours. Their role will be to help you identify the best way to integrate Brain in Hand with your services to help you achieve your required outcomes and best improve the reach and effectiveness of your teams, and they will be available throughout the duration of your project to offer support and advice as to how best to deliver our system.

You will receive regular data reports to keep you informed of how your users are using the Brain in Hand system, both at an individual and group level, and we can also help you to produce a full evaluation of your project when it nears the end of its duration. This can be used to build a business case for continuing to use Brain in Hand in your services, or expanding to support more people.

What are Brain in Hand’s credentials?

Expand Answer

We’re now commissioned by 20% of councils in England to help them support people; from these projects – and others in settings spanning (just for a few examples) education, health and social care, and residential facilities – we have case studies demonstrating the benefits to both service users and organisations. See our health and social care page for more information.

In the recent Government autism self-assessment exercise, Brain in Hand was the most commonly named technological innovation for supporting independence; we’re also the top-rated support system for autistic people by independent health tech reviewer ORCHA.

What is Brain in Hand's safeguarding policy?

Expand Answer

The safety of our users, our staff, and everyone with whom we might come into contact during the course of our work is of paramount importance to us. We maintain an in-depth safeguarding policy, the full document of which can be requested by contacting admin@braininhand.co.uk; a summarised version can be read on our corporate responsibility page.

We have a designated safeguarding lead who can be reached at safeguarding@braininhand.co.uk.

If you need someone to talk to, or are concerned that someone is in a potential crisis situation, Brain in Hand is not able to provide a crisis or counselling service and would suggest that the Samaritans would be a more appropriate contact. They can be called for free in the UK on 116 123.

Isn’t Brain in Hand just for autistic people?

Expand Answer

Our system was designed with autistic people in mind, but we now work with people who have a range of different needs. We’ve found that Brain in Hand can be useful for anyone who has difficulties with remembering things, coping with anxiety, or making decisions; these difficulties are often experienced by autistic people, people with a mental health condition, or people with a learning disability, among others.

What is the evidence for BiH?

Expand Answer

Since the inception of Brain in Hand, we've engaged with researchers, commissioners, end users, and the academic community to understand how our system works and how we can keep improving it.

Brain in Hand is a Tier 2 digital health technology under NICE’s Evidence Standards Framework. It’s a new way of doing things, but it is also fully compliant with GDPR and other regulations.

We have undertaken and supported studies into the outcomes of Brain in Hand for our users and the organisations we work with, and have engaged with wider published research to inform the direction of our development to ensure that Brain in Hand is as effective as it can be. For more information, see the 'research and evidence' section of our home page, where you'll find discussion of the principles we use when conducting research and development along with links and downloads for existing publications.

Can Brain in Hand be purchased through procurement frameworks?

Expand Answer

Brain in Hand can be procured through a number of frameworks including (but not limited to) G-Cloud, YPO, adam's Dynamic Purchasing System, and the Greater Manchester learning disability and autism ethical procurement system.

Contact us on 01392 247 909 or support@braininhand.co.uk and we'll connect you with a member of our expert business development team who can help you identify the most appropriate route to procurement and navigate every step of the process.

Can you put me in touch with an organisation already using Brain in Hand for a reference?

Expand Answer

We’re more than happy to refer you to one of our existing customers. Just get in touch with us on 01392 247 909 or at support@braininhand.co.uk; let us know you’d like a reference, and we’ll find someone who’s using Brain in Hand in a setting that’s similar to yours.

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