CareNET Final Conference: Challenges for care-workers in the digital age
„The ICT and e-Skills for Social Care Conference“ was organised by the careNET project in the Brussels Press Club on 26 February 2014. The recording of the entire conference including presentations talks and discussions are available here. Presentations and short introductions will be also available soon. The event brought together social care professionals with policy-makers striving for responsive, competence-based and needs-oriented care systems face to face and online.
The Conference was streamed online via Adobe Connect to provide open and free access. The programme opened with keynote speakers elaborating on the role of (ICT) skills and competences in social care. Keynote speakers included Mme Marie-Béatrice Levaux, President of the European Federation for Family Employment (EFFE), and Stephanie Carretero, Scientific officer at Institute for Prospective Technological Studies- Joint Research Centre, European Commission who talked about the policy issues and research perspective of technology in European social care. Thanks to the pivotal questions and current challenges in the field addressed in their talks, valuable and high quality discussions evolved around the situation of informal carers with migrant background and the need for stronger involvement of older people in European initiatives and research. We were thrilled to have the view of respected organizations of the field and stakeholders of the project. Nena Georgantzi, (AGE Platform Europe) gave insight into ICT acceptance from the perspective of older persons, while Areti Efthymiou (EUROCARERS) talked about informal carers’ needs and the project InnovAGE as a support tool.
Participants learned about the outcomes of the careNET project as well as European research related to the effect of technology-based services in care at home. Relevant similar initiatives in various countries (UPCARING project, INNOVAGE, DISCOVER4U) have been presented, as well as interdisciplinary discussions evolved around digital skill development of social workers for young people.
In the careNET project (co-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission), we focus on social inclusion through the development of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) competences for care recipients above the age of 65 years in long term domiciliary care and care workers. Care workers’ care for elderly people goes beyond helping with cleaning, cooking and other daily tasks. Care workers need their vocational competences to be developed, competences in relation to enabling care recipients use ICT. In the context of the everyday life in domiciliary care, careNET has explored in seven partner countries if and how care workers support the elderly as care recipients in handling their lives with the use of ICTs. In the care services provided for elderly people, the focus could be on care workers help with and teach the use ICTs and Internet. The care recipients can be empowered by the care workers through being able to use ICT in their everyday lives. By supporting the care recipients to use ICT, the care workers support the care recipients in becoming more independent and the care workers can perform their care work with greater proficiency.
In the family employment sector we find over half of all private individual employers aged 60 years old and over, and low-skilled women representing the majority of household employees. In response to pressing needs in the field, the careNET project has identified key digital competences to support inclusion of care-workers in a new world of professionalisation and led on-the-job experiments with household carers in partnership with older people. As the project comes to its end, the partners share their experiences and results to start a dialogue among similar initiatives and organisations active in the field.