Digital skills will bring benefits for carers

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Friday, February 14, 2014 – 11:18 GMT

In an interview with Healthcare Innovation Daily, Annette King, a manager with Digital Birmingham, says that acquiring the skills to access the internet and its many resources has multiple benefits.

“There are two things carers would generally like do”, she says. “One is to talk to other carers so they don’t feel that they are on their own.

“The other is about the condition of the person they are looking after, so that they can improve their caring”, she added.

The sense of isolation that can be felt by carers is explained by Jonathan Harris, a carer, who looks after his son Oliver, along with his other family and work responsibilities.

Harris explores the opportunities that gaining digital skills can give to carers, and how they can go on to acquire work-related skills and qualifications.

The interviews were recorded ahead of an event to be held in Birmingham next month as part of the DISCOVER programme, a European-funded initiative being led by Birmingham City Council with partners in Greece, Spain and the Netherlands.

The main purpose of the three-year project is to increase the digital competencies and engagement of carers and those they care for, and to embed digital technologies in their day-to-day lives.

The project is being supported by the DISCOVER learning platform, which is based on eLearning systems developed in Birmingham and in Aristotle University, Thessaloniki. Participants can access the platform through a variety of channels including computers, mobile phones and digital television.

During the programme, 400 informal and formal carers will be given digital skills training. Carers will learn to become mentors for their peers and for the people they care for, and they will also be encouraged to start on a learning pathway into wider education.

One of the indirect benefits of the programme is expected to be a changed attitude towards using ICT for care delivery is anticipated which longterm supports more efficient care services.

The DISCOVER UK Forum will be held in Birmingham on 18 March, to explore the increasing significance of digital technologies in supporting carers and discuss what needs to be done to ensure carers benefit from them.


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