- Researchers from Warwick Medical School demonstrate new online support platform for people with caring responsibilities to Caroline Dinenage MP
- Care Companion provides a unique, personalised experience for carers seeking help, advice and support – or just looking for ideas to take time out
- People who are actively involved in caring for a loved one, with personal experience of the highs and lows that can occur, influenced all aspects of Care Companion’s development
- Carers can register for Care Companion at: www.carecompanion.org.uk
Professor Jeremy Dale of the University of Warwick has met with Caroline Dinenage MP from the Department of Health and Social Care to demonstrate Care Companion, a new online support tool developed by Warwick Medical School to support people with caring responsibilities across Warwickshire and Coventry.
Providing vital information in an accessible online format tailored to each carer’s needs and responsibilities, it is free to use and is supported by Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, the NHS, and local support agencies and charities.
Professor Dale was joined by Matt Western MP, Melanie Adekale, Carers’ Commissioner at Warwickshire County Council, and Chris Sinclair from software designers Global Initiative Ltd.
Initially launched in April 2019 across Coventry and Warwickshire, Care Companion now has more than 500 carers registered. The team now aims to launch the tool to other areas nationally.
Professor Jeremy Dale (pictured) of Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, who has led the research that underpins the Care Companion, said: “We had a very informative and fruitful discussion with the Minister of State for Care, who took great interest in Care Companion and the positive feedback that we’ve received from the many carers who have found it invaluable in helping them adapt to their caring responsibilities. Our next step is to take its success nationwide and our discussions with the Minister on how the Department of Health and Care could be involved in that shows great promise for the future.”
Having caring responsibilities can be stressful and confusing. Research has shown that those with caring responsibilities see the care system as fragmented, often finding it difficult to discover information and access to the different services that can make all the difference to the sustainability of their care. They can spend a great deal of time tracking down information in print and online, sometimes this can be measured in years. Such information can be poorly signposted or presented in an inaccessible fashion, and may not be directly relevant to the person who they are caring for. This often means that they miss out on opportunities for support which might have a significant impact on their quality of life and that of the person who they care for. They may be missing out on essential benefits that they are entitled to.
Care Companion is designed to address these challenges. It helps with the emotional, social, day-to-day organisational and other demands of caring. It has been designed with people who care for older people in mind, with funding from Coventry and Rugby CCG, South Warwickshire CCG and Warwickshire County Council. Software development company Global Initiative is the technology partner for Care Companion and contributed funding through their Initiative Fund.
Anyone with caring responsibilities in Coventry and Warwickshire can register for the Care Companion at: www.carecompanion.org.uk
Matt Western MP, Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington, said: “It’s great to see innovative solutions for social good being created in the local area. The social care sector is increasingly an area of concern that needs to be addressed. Solutions like this app will hopefully assist carers in lieu of Government investment. I was happy to help the team get a meeting with the Minister for Social Care and I will continue to support them.”
Melanie Adekale, Carers’ Commissioner at Warwickshire County Council, said: “The meeting was very positive. We support the use of technology to support local residents’ care needs, and Care Companion is a key part of our local offer for carers across the county. We are keen to see the resource developed further, and the interest of the Minister is very encouraging.”
Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council said: “What we have in the online tool is a way in which people who have caring responsibilities can take 5 mins for themselves to reflect on their day and gather their thoughts. For many carers their responsibilities often leave them isolated without knowledge of what support is out there. However, Care Companion can connect them to local services and provide reliable information about the condition of the person they care for.
She added: “Warwickshire County Council and its partners are committed to helping people with a caring responsibility by providing them with as much information and support as possible.”
4 February 2020
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