Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

The potential of ICT in supporting the provision of domiciliary care

September 2009 - October 2010

With particular attention to the case of immigrant care workers and informal carers

This project was commissioned by IPTS (Institute for Prospective Technological Studies) on behalf of the European Commission. CIRCLE contributed the UK study to this exploratory European project, which explored how ICT affects, and can potentially support, those providing home-based care on a paid or unpaid basis to disabled, sick or older people. It focused particularly on any impacts on carers and care workers in Black and Minority Ethnic and immigrant communities.

The study involved a number of individual key informant interviews with expert advisors and a range of case studies that drew on recent developments in the ICT in relation to carers and care workers.

The study findings were presented at a seminar in Seville in May 2009 and a report followed in February 2010.

Key Findings

  • Although research in the use of ICT in social care is still in a rather early stage of development, there is already some evidence that technology of this type has significant potential to support carers.
  • A number of local authorities are already rolling out telecare services (ICT systems designed to help people live in their own homes) as part of their standard care provision packages.
  • Some recently developed products, many of which had been introduced with considerable success and at relatively modest cost, included internet discussion forums, telephone help-lines, social networking and blogs, offering help and guidance and a means of communication to unpaid carers, and online training/resources and tools to assist in the professional lives and activities of paid care workers.
  • Few organisations were providing services specifically geared towards IEM carers and/or care workers.

Project Publications

Yeandle, S and Fry G (2010) ‘The potential of ICT in supporting the provision of domiciliary care with particular attention to the case of immigrant care workers and informal carers in England’ Seville, Spain: Institute for Prospective Technological Studies; ISBN 978 92 79 14856 9

A report based on a workshop (EU, Jan 19th 2010) attended by Dr Gary Fry is also available.  This document discusses conclusions based on the UK, German and Spanish studies.

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