We are working with Care City to create a scalable and accessible education and training platform which aims to help carers spot signs of deterioration in the health of those they care for early and to make good decisions about what to do to help.
Unpaid care is growing faster than the population. In 2011, there were 5.4 million unpaid carers in England.1 Carers make a huge major contribution to society. Estimates show that the care provided by friends and family members to ill, frail or disabled relatives is equivalent to £119 billion every year.2
Last month alongside Care City, we successfully launched Significant Care, a paper based tool that aims to help carers identify early signs of deterioration in the person they are looking after specifically related to their skin, toilet habits, mobility and levels of confusion and take fast action. The aim of this tool is to improve knowledge and confidence in decision making particularly across the four domains of Significant Care.
Subsequent development has been made to following a recognised need for education and skills training to be more accessible. We are therefore working with Agylia to develop and test a digital and app-based platform to deliver education and skills for carers. The Pressure Ulcer App developed with clinicians and carers across North East London provides carers with 1-3 minute educational modules covering topics related to the prevention of pressure ulcers based on the Great SKIN guide we have developed at NELFT. This app is being independently evaluated by City University to understand users experience of using the app and whether the app contents have, improved their knowledge and impacted their confidence in their caring role.
Benefits of this new tool are expected to be:
- Increased confidence and knowledge and carers,
- Reduction in the number of health crises and exacerbations of long-term conditions among those they are caring for.
- Reduced associated healthcare consumption, for example, urgent admissions to hospital.
John Craig, Chief Executive, Care City commented
“Unpaid carers are too often hidden - we should tell the truth about the scale of their role. That means offering them respite and support. But it also means supporting them in the caring they do. It can only be the taboo and guilt around unpaid care that has seen the self-management agenda take-off, but carers' knowledge and skills left behind. At Care City, we want to help change that.”
Debbie Wickens, Senior Tissue Viability Specialist Nurse, North East London Foundation Trust commented
“Pressure ulcers can be life-changing injuries. They cause pain & distress and result in serious infections and even limb amputations. Unpaid carers are the vanguard of support & protection for some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The skin is the largest organ in the body and for those at risk, skilled care is required to prevent deterioration and recognise signs of deterioration early.
We are excited to be part of this project which we hope will offer the knowledge and skills to provide carers with confidence in keeping the skin safe.”
Find out more via the fact sheet and carer information sheet.
1NHS England, ‘Carers Facts: Why investing in carers matters’ (https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/comm-carers/carer-facts/)
2 Lisa Buckner, Christina Buse, Gary Fry, Viktoria Joynes, Ben Singleton, Andrea Wigfield, and Sue Yeandle.
(2013) New Approaches to Supporting Carers’ Health and Well-being: Evidence from the National Carers’ Strategy Demonstrator Sites programme (University of Leeds)