With Carers Week 2021 underway, a ground-breaking University project says that mobile technology, delivered in in association with the UK Space Agency could be the key to accessing unpaid carers.
Compounded by the isolation of lockdown and the economic uncertainty involved in caring for loved ones who are disabled, ill or older and in need of support – the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers say that social isolation is one of the most challenging aspects of their caring duties.
But researchers at Falmouth University are now paving the way for better support for carers in some of the UK’s most remote locations. The collaborative project is now seeking carers to help them shape the work in Cornwall, which could be a key factor in accessing and amplifying the voices of unpaid carers.
The project’s researchers are part of The Connecting Healthcare (CHC) project, which already supports the delivery of satellite support to care homes and GP surgeries, as part of its funding and association with the UK Space Agency and Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd.
The overall project investigates the potential of satellite connectivity to care homes and GP practices that are experiencing connectivity challenges, or where there is potential to validate e-health services and their benefits via a satellite network. One aspect of the research is exploring if mobile technology can help reach and understand issues relating to unpaid carers in a remote area like Cornwall.
The team is now working to investigate how mobile messaging technology can access unpaid carers using AI to theme collective issues. During Carers Week 2021, Falmouth researchers are asking for expressions of interest from adult (18+) unpaid carers in Cornwall who are interested in helping to design and shape the development of this research.
As part of the research development, carers can be remunerated and will help shape the work via discussions, resource development and accessibility checks. The team would like to hear from those who regularly support someone who cannot manage on their own and are asking those interested in shaping this carers’ research to simply text CHC on 07770 654 123. A researcher will then be in touch.
Senior Researcher in Innovation and Technology in Healthcare, Anna Mankee-Williams said:
“This is an exciting opportunity to become involved in developing technology that works for and supports people who are caring for loved ones. Society has much to thank unpaid carers for and their own needs are often unseen, unheard and undervalued – we hope by their participation in this project we can change that”.