web3-200pxl„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.

web1-200pxlThe 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.

Web2-200pxlParticipants 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.

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Background information

Web4-200pxlIn 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.

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In the last phase of the careNET pilots, launched in November 2013 the piloting partners, FBIS and IPERIA organised two validation seminars to introduce the project and the pilots to thank the local and national partners and to discuss the first outcomes.

Spanish-validation-seminar-250pxlOn 21th February 2014 in Burgos (Spain), FBIS presented the careNET project and the Spanish pilot to the local stakeholders and the media. To improve further the quality of life of older people and the professionalisation of care workers in Spain, FBIS encouraged the participants to access the tools of the Virtual Learning Environment and to implement the careNET training.

The stakeholders involved took part on behalf of medical institutions, i.e. Hospital Universitario de Burgos, Hospital San Juan de Dios and also in the organisations committed in social care, i.e. CUIDAMOS, in social voluntary service, i.e. Fundacion Cauce and in digital education, i.e. AULA_SMART.

Advocating for the upscaling of the careNET pilot, FBIS expounded then in detail the project to the press. Several journalists from different media took part in the event. The radio channels Onda CERO and Cadena SER joined the conference with the television channels Canal 8 and Canal Castilla y León and the newspaper Diario de Burgos.

Here is a radio interview with Jana Arribas Fontaneda, Project Manager of the careNET Spanish pilot: http://www.carenetproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/recording-9745913_2.mp3

French-validation-seminar-250pxlOn 10th February 2014 in Paris (France), IPERIA gathered together several stakeholders in the framework of the French validation seminar and invited Juliette Boulanger as expert in home care and independent living markets. Mrs Boulanger presented her analysis of the careNET pilot on the basis of the acceptability factors of the digital use by older people at different levels. At the individual level, the project considered the usefulness of the technology-based care, the simplicity of the use of ICT and the motivation of the participants. At the social level, the project empowered the care workers as learning mediators of ICT skills towards older people. At the organisational level, it committed to sustainable action.

The social partners, i.e. the CFTC, the FEPEM, the CFD and the CGT, with members of the General Delegation for Employment and Vocational Training (DGEFP) and of social welfare group for family employment IRCEM confirmed jointly the relevance of the careNET innovation to foster the professionalisation of care workers and to satisfy the needs of older people. The participants suggested inserting digital training to the in-service training of care workers and linking the project outcomes to the industrial sector in order to further develop the experimentation. They supported the Call for an Open Pilot, an invitation to access the piloting deliverables and to implement the careNET pilot in Europe.

The final evaluation of the careNET pilots will be published on the project website in April.

This conference, taking place on 25 November in Brussels, is the annual event of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA). The main aim of this year’s event is to show evidence and opportunities on two key issues, namely, how the current commitments and targets of EIP AHA can contribute to social and economic growth and jobs, and, how to scale up innovation within the care systems in response to the demographic challenge.

A major input to this high level debate will be the evidence collected from the Reference Sites and the first outcomes of the EIP-AHA where six large scale actions have been launched last year in November.

500+ participants are expected who will include national and regional authorities, health and social care professionals, industry, insurers and NGOs. The conference is by invitation.

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main_bgOne of the great assets in the CareNET project that while its focus is specific, the results and the methodology used is highly interesting for other organisations and collaborations in the vocational training world or digital competence development in care. To ignite synergies and collaborations and exchange experiences, the project was recently presented at EDEN’s SYNERGY Workshop in October in Budapest.

The Workshop gathered over 40 projects and more than 100 participants from around Europe on site and online. The event took place over a long week-end and was a combined face-to-face and online event. The unusual programme allowed flash presentations of the projects present and supported deep conversations in the working groups around several themes. CareNET was presented in the Project Fairground and contributed to discussions around digital competences in vocational education and training. A short presentation is included in the Book of Projects of the workshop as well.

Several discussions with related initiatives took place (VETWORK, VM-Pass, LeHo, MedAssess).

We are looking forward to further collaborations.