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University for carers (Université des aidant).Technology in the service of solidarity and social link

Summary

Description

Operational Information

Evaluation

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Summary

"University for carers" was an experimental project on social innovation which was implemented with a group of 100 informal carers, living in the Val-de-Marne department.

The project aimed to use tablets and types of gerontechnology to foster the relationships of carers. These tools could also be used by carers to actively coproduce multimedia contents to help them exchange information and experience. This social innovation project was a complement to existing medical and social devices. The project was conceived in 2009, co-financed by the General Council of the department of Val-de-Marne and the European Regional Development Fund Ile-de-France (ERDF) in 2010 and concluded in May 2011.

It involved different organisations belonging to the Public and Third Sectors.

The service provided by the project may have had a positive impact on the quality of life of informal carers, on companies and the labour market by helping to avoid added costs to substitute/replace the worker, as well as on the social and health care systems by improving the quality of care provided and potentially decreasing the number of hospital admissions.

 

Description
refers to the target users, kind of service provided, ICTs typologies and devices used

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University for carers (Université des aidant).Technology in the service of solidarity and social link
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France
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2009
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2011
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The initiative aimed to:

  1. Help informal carers manage their isolation. It is often very difficult, time consuming and stressful to take care of people who have lost their autonomy. The risks of “burnout” and of exhaustion are often connected to the isolation in which family carers find themselves.
  2. Revitalise family relationships. For most French, the family is the primary source of solidarity, regardless of the family composition. Geographical mobility of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, threaten this family support. Nevertheless, these relationships are indispensable to the psychological well-being of family carers.
  3. Foster social relationships. Social relationships are complementary to those of family and institutions. So, in a world where individualism seems to dominate, the “University of carers” offers opportunities to create solidarity, based on reciprocity and friendship.
  4. Create a self-help community among carers and offer the possibility of participating actively and coproducing innovative content during workshops using multimedia tools. Carers experience another way to communicate, to cooperate and to imagine new forms of mutual help.
  5. Engage the skills of all the protagonists who can be mobilised to help carers. It is necessary to pass from a vertical and hierarchical approach (medical and social help), to a horizontal approach of assisting carers, by mobilising people from various sectors such as the economy, culture, sports, education, etc.
  6. Recognise and publicise the important role of carers. Microblogging and social networks can be useful to share knowledge on the problems of caring. The “University of carers” offers a whole range of services which allow the creation of a dedicated digital library.
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The isolation of informal carers, who have limited opportunities to meet socialise with friends and which the initiative strives to counteract

“University of carers” was a “meta-project” based on 11 projects/actions composed of three main categories:

  • Category 1 : Multimedia content and Information and Communications Technologies
  • Category 2 : Employment – Training and ICT
  • Category 3 : Practices and ICT

The delivered projects/actions were the following::

1-Audio testimony

2-Videoclips with experts

3-Conferences

6-User Guide 2.0

7-Interface and links

8-Portal and social network for carers

9-Intergenerational solidarity

10-Telework

11- Family videophone

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Yes Care Recipients
Yes Informal carers
No Paid assistants
No Formal carers

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Not available

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No Independent Living
No Information and learning for carers
Yes Personal Support and Social Integration for carer
No Care coordination

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Video calling, messaging, sharing an agenda, exchanging photos to provide social support, leisure and opportunities to participate in work and society.

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The ICTs used are gerontechnological tools, Touch Pads.

Operational Information
refers to the type of funding, budget, sustainability and organisations involved

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Public only
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Other: please specify
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-Public service funding: Local Authorities

- European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

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Other: please specify
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Not applicable

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Not applicable

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There is no sustainability plan.

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€ 50,000 - 500,000
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€ 50,000 - 500,000
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Not available

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Yes Authorities
No Private Care Sector
No Health and Social Care Systems
Yes Third Sector
No Private Companies

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“University of carers” is considered a federation project, because it has mobilised European, national, regional and local actors. At the European level, the project received financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The European Network of Social Authorities (ENSA), which promotes European and international social cooperation, was also interested in the project. Various departments, cities and NGOs in France have been involved. In France, the Val-de-Marne and Gers departments, particularly made a commitment to sustain the project. The cities of Saint Maur, Créteil, Fontenay-Sous-Bois and greater Toulouse, have taken part in promoting this innovative project. At the local level Mission-on-poverty and social exclusion in Ile-de-France, the Agency of Economic development of Val-de-Marne, OAFB, KPLC, Ubicast, Technosens, and the Alfa Loisir have also been involved.

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Professionals from the Third Sector give advice and assistance to carers to optimise their input and their commitment. Great attention is given to the promotion of the intergenerational link.
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Yes Informal Carers
No Health Professionals
No Social Care Professionals
No Privately-Hired Care Assistants (inc. Migrant Care Workers)
No Volunteers

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Not available

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Not involved

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11 - 100
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100 users

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The initiative was promoted through the project’s web site, social networks and blogs.

Evaluation
refers to the impact of the service on end-users, care organisations and authorities

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The services provided by the project may have had a positive impact on the quality of life of:

- Informal carers by helping to reconcile care and work, which would improve their social life and health.

“University of carers” allowed to:

  • strengthen and to boost daily relations with their family, friends or close surrounding and other carers
  • participate of family members or friends to the proximity caregiver's situation
  • exchange and share information, tools and smiles between carers
  • mobilize many associative and professional actors in order to support carers (giving them advice, methods, assistance and training) and optimize their services to caregivers
  • working partnership with carers and professionals dealing with carers : rising a public and private actors consciousness on this societal issue

- Elderly people, as the services may have improved their quality of life and well-being by giving the opportunity of support for practicing their interests, such as hobbies that they can practice at distance through video tutorials and practical activities, openness (practical activities and remotely hobbies) and also by enhancing the quality of homecare, safely and in comfort.

Other benefits may have been :

  • development of new modes of intervention and social action
  • emerging of new services favouring the human link with appropriate technological support (gerontechnological tools ) ;`
  • democratization of use of technological tools in addition to home automation, robotics and all technologies for autonomy(Médialis, 2012)

 

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The services may have benefitted companies and labour market, as it helped the informal carer to reconcile paid work and caring tasks and avoided added costs for replacing the worker who has to stay at home with the care recipient (Médialis, 2012).

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The services could positively impact on public Authorities, as it helps to save the costs of home caring and hospitalisation, it is effective in training informal carers and helps to optimise financial and human resources (Médialis, 2012).

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Strengths:

  1. Professional and self-development, supported by an educational approach, active cooperation (step by step and intergenerational learning), which includes the use of simple and complex tools and the smart networks.
  2. The project was well integrated in the social and health local system, during its operational phase, as many collaborations were active among different organizations concerning health and social assistance for elderly and carers. This collaboration granted the continuity in the care chain.

Weaknesses:

  1. The project seems to be more opened to informal carers, as it does not concern formal and professional carers and this could be a fault, because, very often, family carers hire (migrant) care workers and they need to be supported as well.
  2. The continuity from project to service was not gained due to the lack of funding and interests by local government of Val-de-Marne and activities ended in 2011.
  3. The website contents are not updated and the more recent updates are of October 2012.

Opportunities:

The project may re-start as operational service if the following opportunities will be taken:

  1. Development of new ways of intervention and social action.
  2. Emerging of new services favouring the human link with appropriate technological support (gerontechnological tools ).
  3. Adaptation of mobile telephone and I pad to physical limitations of older persons and make software for television or computer more accessible for them, for improving the communication flow among users.
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The project has had many awards and was promoted at many forums and symposiums at local and national level, as it was considered able to be transferred to other geographical areas thanks to its easy and efficient way of action. On the occasion of symposium organized by the Agency of economic development in Val-de-Marne on 6th October 2011, the Secretary of State for Health under the Minister of Labour, Employment and Health Xavier Bertrand, in the François Fillon III Government, was congratulated the project “University of carers” . because of its transferability features (see http://sante.gouv.fr/discours-de-nora-berra-a-l-occasion-du-deplacement-a-l-universite-des-aidants-a-l-agence-de-developpement-economique-du-val-de-marne.html and http://tval.cg94.fr/21415-journee-des-aidants.html

More Information
includes contacts, publications and accompanying documents

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References:

Médialis (2012), Synthèse de l’ evaluation Université des Aidants, RCS Paris.

The case-study was updated by Mrs Dejanovic Miljana, Project Manager, in February 2014.

 

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Contact page at http://universitedesaidants.fr/user?destination=reseaux-professionnels, where filling in user name and personal details.