Technologies for care – the imperative for upskilling carers

Dr Verina Waights (OU), Prof Panos Bamidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Ms Rosa Almeida (Fundacion Intras, Spain) –

Ageing populations, coupled with increasing retirement ages and lower ratios of workers to retirees, are negatively impacting health and social care. Currently, 11.8% of Northern Ireland (NI) residents are carers, but it is predicted that by 2025 the number of people aged over 65 will increase by 42%, with the number of people aged over 80 doubling by 2027.  These projections place increasing demands on carers, especially when considered within the ‘changing ethos of health care in NI’ towards a self-management model. Carers increasingly use the internet to find health information, yet worldwide a significant number of people lack health literacy skills and/or digital skills. The EU-funded DISCOVER project involved over 650 carers, care workers and stakeholders in co-designing and co-producing an online learning platform to enhance carers’ and care workers’ health literacy, digital skills and caring skills. Engaging with DISCOVER also enabled carers to share concerns and supportive practices with other carers to help reduce social isolation. This presentation draws on research undertaken for this project and makes recommendations highlighting to policy makers, health care professionals, care agencies and technologists how the lives of carers, care workers and care–recipients could be enhanced in terms of improving their quality of life and reducing their social isolation.

This seminar took place on 14 March 2018

Policy Briefing