Charity and industry unite a century of experience to innovate support for caring families
Carers UK and Tunstall Healthcare UK today announce an exciting new partnership – with a forward-thinking programme to make life better for carers.
The partnership brings together 100 years combined experience of supporting families caring for loved ones and will be focused on providing innovative, technology-based solutions for a growing social issue.
Across the UK 6.5 million people care for a loved one – a number set to rise to nine million by 2037.
Telecare helps to preserve people’s identity, supports coping strategies when dealing with changing roles, enhances confidence and provides that much-needed ‘me’ time
Madeleine Starr, director of business development and Innovation at Carers UK, said: “Technology has tremendous potential to help support and ease the strain on those who care. Carers UK has, for a number of years, led research and promotion around the vital role of health and care technologies in helping families who are caring, and we have already begun developing our own technology solutions to help families who care. Tunstall is the market leader in telecare and telehealth and this partnership brings a fantastic opportunity to work together, to share our knowledge and expertise, and to advance work on technology solutions which can make a real difference to the one in eight people caring for a loved one.”
After 50 years of supporting carers, Carers UK has just launched its first technology product – the app Jointly to help families co-ordinate care alongside increasingly-complex lives.
Tunstall Healthcare, which pioneered telecare with a warden’s intercom just a year after Carers UK was founded, is now the world leader in the field.
Through the new partnership, the two organisations will work together to develop and promote cost-effective, easy-to-access, technology-enabled care services designed to support the widest-possible market – from those who are supporting loved ones for just a few hours a week to those who provide 24/7 care.
Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “It’s not about replacing hands on care, but through technology it is possible to make it easier for families to cope and help reduce the stress that we know caring can bring. More and more families not only need to manage support for a loved one, but they are also caring alongside increasingly complex lives – often juggling work and care, raising children and very often living at a distance.”
While technology is routinely used to make everyday tasks such as banking and shopping easier, a recent YouGov poll for Carers UK showed fewer than one in three people currently use technology to support health and social care.
Simon Arnold, managing director at Tunstall, said: “We are delighted to partner with Carers UK and to be able to work together to identify and promote the benefits of technology to carers and their families. We know there are thousands of families in the UK tirelessly caring for loved ones, but what happens when they need some time to themselves or when they feel challenged? Telecare helps to preserve people’s identity, supports coping strategies when dealing with changing roles, enhances confidence and provides that much-needed ‘me’ time. The best thing about telecare is that it benefits both the user and the carer, offering round-the-clock reassurance. We’re working hard to get a better understanding of the role of technology for carers and how to enable people to access it. With the forthcoming Care Act in England and transformation of health and social care services, it’s fair to say we are set for change and thrilled to be a partner of Carers UK.”
This partnership brings a fantastic opportunity to work together, to share our knowledge and expertise, and to advance work on technology solutions which can make a real difference to the one in eight people caring for a loved one
Telecare, the use of monitors, sensors and alarms to maximise independence and minimise risks, is one of the most-established care technologies. Yet, when asked if they would use telecare without a description of what it is, just over one in eight (12%) of UK adults said they would use it, with 80% stating that they were not sure what telecare is.
When telecare was described to respondents, the percentage saying they would use it to help them if they were caring rose to almost eight in 10 (79%), so long as it was affordable. This was even higher among over 65s (85%). Only 5% of UK adults said they definitely would not consider using it.
Carers UK said the polling indicated the barrier to using care technology is often a lack of knowledge, advice and information rather than a public resistance to health and care technology.