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The careNET project ended in February 2014. However the careNET consortium is further developing the careNET innovation especially broadcasting the public results on its website. Your organisation or your project may use and benefit from the main outputs and outcomes of the careNET project and contribute to the improvement of quality of life and of care of older people and care workers through the acquisition of digital skills.

Please discover the project results which are available here.

The careNET consortium just published the first testimonials of the careNET learners . The care workers and older people shared with us their experience of the national pilots in France and Spain.

The pictures of the Spanish and French pilots are also available on the project Flickr account.

Newly mastering the tablet, the care workers accepted to produced some videos to assess the French pilot. Their first works are now available on Youtube and on the project website!

The careNET Consortium, coordinated by IPERIA, consisting of eight European partners is inviting organisations outside the Consortium and potentially from other countries to join an Open Pilot experience. It is an open and free possibility for home care service providers or other organisations dealing with home care workers or older people as receivers of home care to take part in a pilot exercise.

The careNET Consortium is implementing the project entitled “Building ICT competencies in the long-term care sector to enhance quality of life for older people and those at risk of exclusion” with the support of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme. The careNET project is aimed at developing a critical set of ICT competences in 2 identified ‘at-risk’ target groups: care-workers and older persons.

Organisations joining the pilot will receive full access to the key outputs of the project including the map of domains of competences, learning path and learning resources, and other tools of the Virtual Learning Environment. Pilot organisations will also receive methodological support from the Consortium and will be invited to present their pilot experience at the careNET final conference (‘ICT and e-Skills for Social Care’) taking place in February 2014 in Brussels.

A Handbook of Piloting Procedures is available to provide practical guidance to the piloting exercise that can be used by staff and organisations involved in the open pilot and their local partners. The Handbook introduces the pilot in the context of the project, describes the original national piloting scenarios (France and Spain), and presents in details the three phases of the pilot: pre-pilot, pilot and post-pilot activities. It explains for each phase the range of activities, the administrative procedures and the required templates.

If your organisation is interested in joining the Open Pilot experience, please contact Laure Lhermet project officer at IPERIA or Peter Palvolgyi responsible for exploitation activities at Telecentre-Europe. For more information about the careNET project, the implementing partners and the ongoing pilot experience in France and Spain, please visit our website or follow us on Facebook.

For more information please visit the whole Call.

Several projects are aiming to improve the care of older people involving both carers and older people. However in projects like ACTION or DISCOVER the training is solely dedicated to carers considered as an intermediary in the development of competences. The ACTION  project provides carers information about ICT services, especially using videophones with older people and caregivers. In the DISCOVER  project carers learn to use mobile devices and digital technologies to become mentors of their care recipients.

The successful learning of digital skills is based on the continuity of trustful relationships between care workers and care recipients which constitutes a fertile ground to acquire new skills. Cooperative learning between older people and care workers enriches daily life through sharing ideas news and problems thus through this inter-generational activity participants develop social relationships. It enlarges the world of each member of the process and leads to discover a third world: the digital one.

The cooperative learning process in social care needs to be appropriately prepared. The organisation that organises this learning process should start with a specific study of needs and wishes of the participants. The thesis “Supporting family caregivers through educational training and information services from an empowerment perspective” highlights indeed the necessary integration of the needs of the carers in the design and development of a specific training and recommends their early involvement in this process. In this way the organisers will insure efficient meaningful and enjoyable participation of the carers and their clients in the learning process.

The concept of cooperative training invites us to trust and train carers considering the needs of each member of their successful relationship with older people.

References:

  • Hanson E., Magnusson L. (2005). Supporting frail older people and their family carers at home using information and communication technology: cost analysis. 51(6):645-57.
  • Moressi M. (2010) Supporting family caregivers through educational training and information services from an empowerment perspective: A literature review.
  • http://www.actioncaring.se
  • http://www.digitalbirmingham.co.uk/projects/digital-skills-for-carers
  • http://theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/21246/Moressi_Milena.pdf?sequence=1
  • http://www.discover4carers.eu/?q=about_discover_project

Author: Laure Lhermet

The pilots of the careNET project started in November 2013. They implemented and validated the careNET learning architecture, pathways and resources previously produced. The Spanish and French partners carried out trainings through a specific ICT tool, a digital tablet, involving 120 care workers and care recipients. During these trainings the participants used a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) consisting of three tools: a social network, a learning platform and a competency wiki. Through the VLE and the related “Learning Relay Centers” provided by the project partners, the trainees learn in an innovative surrounding.

In Spain, the pilot takes place in the city of Burgos. There are 29 carers involved, all women, most of them Latin American immigrants and their respective clients. The pilot began on 12th November 2013 and ended on 19th December. About 77% of participants are aged between 40 and 60 years and almost all care recipients are above 85. Most of the participants, especially those who are between 50 and 60 years old, i.e. 57% of them, have had very little contact with new technologies. This makes the learning curve very slow and fast-tracks the face-to- face sessions. The VLE is complicated to use in short deadlines for people with such a time-consuming job as elderly care. However they are enthusiastic for learning and show strong commitment and a growing curiosity to find daily and professional situations where their newly learned skills are useful. The most appreciated newly acquired competences are related to communication and information. These allow them to maintain or recover contact with their families abroad. This enthusiasm, related to new ways of communications, is shared by the people receiving care.

In France, IPERIA implements the pilot in 4 territories since 18th November 2013 and will end the process in February. The experiment involves 31 care workers and their care recipients constituting mainly women. The care workers are aged between 50 and 59 years and have various levels of digital skill proficiency. At this stage of the pilot, we observe the needs for collective face-to-face sessions dedicated to the fundamental use of the tablet and internet and to the resolution of technical problems. The French care workers are also strongly committed to the training using every tool of the VLE and putting a lot of pressure on them in order to succeed in helping their care recipients to develop digital skills. Some first testimonials highlight the benefits of learning to use digital tools on the area of social life, leisure and professional representation of French care workers. In the next weeks the care workers will begin to learn with older people becoming thus the mediator of their daily digital skills.

In the post-pilot phase we evaluate the results of the pilots and organize validation seminars in Spain and France. We will soon report the final results on the careNET website.

video-callA great number of elderly people are marked by loneliness, mainly because of their children living in distant places. In this case, telephone has always been a consolation for them in order to communicate directly with their beloving ones. The advancement of digital technologies has brought a new dimension in the communication of the seniors, since they can combine voice and video calls with digital tools that can be easily used by them.

Even thought that sounds as a magnificent idea for older people to keep in touch with their family and friends, the problem is that most of them are unfamiliar with new technologies and are afraid of using them. Furthermore, many of the senior houses or hospitals are lacking an internet access, which is necessary for making a voice and video call. Setting up a video call station for the elderly is very easy and requires a computer and a webcamera, either a tablet or a smartphone, and an internet connection. Skype or Google Hangout are nice and very easy digital tools to use, combining voice and video calls. In the market there are a lot of free applications that support voice and video calls.

But why seniors need the video to contact with their family? Apart from a more direct way of communication, video is considered as an extremely useful application especially for elderly that face hearing problems. Video calls benefit, as they can utilize the facial expressions and body language – lost in a basic phone call – to enhance communication. For instance reading lips can help improve understanding among seniors, when they can’t hear well.

In voice and video calls, seniors can watch their grandchildren to snuff off the candles in the birthday cake, sing christmas carols with all the family, and generally share a special moment with loved ones. Video calls also give the chance for communication and peer learning among the elderly, who have the opportunity to exercise their digital skills and feel active.

In conclusion, technology should be considered as a helpmate rather than as an enemy for seniors. Particularly, the voice and video applications is the easiest way to keep the elderly updated and activated in digital world.

Author: Theofili Smprini

In a world where information and communications technology (ICT), and in particular the internet, are transforming the way we communicate, learn and work, thousands of independent sector social care services for adults in England – many of them small, private or voluntary sector organisations – do not have access to high-quality internet or digital technology. This means their users and staff are at a disadvantage in terms of access to training and development, knowledge gathering and full participation in the support networks available online. In 2010, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) commissioned  the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) to undertake a study into the impact of the Get Connected Investment Project. It was established by the Department of Health aimed to enable care providers to improve access for service users, carers, visitors and staff to ICT so they can use the power of the internet to communicate, learn and train.

The evaluation included two rounds of surveys, conducted online, with emails being sent to the main contacts. These were mainly managers or owner/managers, but in some cases were individuals in roles such as activities co-ordinators or administrators. In addition, these lead contacts were asked to forward emails containing survey links to their staff and, where they felt it appropriate, to their service users. The evaluation also included in-depth research at twenty case study sites, each of which was contacted twice by members of the evaluation team, with each round of interviews taking place following each of the two survey rounds. To read more on the survey, please, visit NIACE’s website.

One of the good practices providers presented is Social Care Institute of Excellence with a vast collection of easily understandable good practices that are transferable sustainable and accessible. Such a practice is ‘Carer Aware: Online training course and information resource for carers’, an e-learning course designed to meet the needs of carers. Dudley MBC has designated local libraries as Carer information points and developed free online training for staff and carers. Dudley consulted with carers and staff to develop these resources which have widespread approval.

This is an online resource available to all carers of people with a long term illness or a disability or who are older and frail, staff,  employers and members of the public who wish to know about carers and how they can be supported in the Borough. The online course has also been used to train staff in the 13 libraries across the Borough. Carers were included from the start in the development of the material. Carers were sceptical about the fact that this is an e-resource and not everyone has a PC but it was emphasized that this material can be accessed in public access computers, by other people on their behalf and can be delivered as face to face (blended) learning. The online course was developed, trialled and is now live which is linked to a Carer Aware accreditation scheme.

Carers and staff  were involved at each stage of development through being given access  to an e-demonstration site. They commented on style, format, ease of use, accessibility and usefulness of information.

To read more, please visit: UK Good Practice Collection

References:
Kirsti Ala-Mutka: Mapping Digital Competence:Towards a Conceptual Understanding; JRC67075 -  2011
UK Good Practice Collection
Developing Skills for Carers
Alistair Lockhart-Smith, Fiona Aldridge, Helen Plant, Helen Stevens, Joy Oakley, Linda Miller, Ljaja Sterland, Lorraine Casey, Tom Higgins: : Get Connected – Impact Evaluation

Author: Eva Suba