CareTeam – Adult Support Digital Platform

CareTeam is a research project and partnership between Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and Nquiringminds. It is partly funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.


CareTeam has developed an adult support digital platform that comprises a mobile app and household and personal sensing technologies. This platform wants to support independent living and help carers support their loved ones more efficiently and effectively. CareTeam aims to help adults who currently receive home care to remain independent, comfortable and active, living in their own homes without feeling isolated and unmotivated. In essence, this project is looking to provide more efficient care services by involving the wider community, such as family, friends and neighbours.

Adult Social Care and unpaid carers in the UK

Over the period 2016-2017, local councils in the UK have received around 1.8 million of new requests for support (1). The Gross Current Expenditure of Local Authorities on Adult Social Care in the UK for the same period, reached £17.5 billion with the majority of funds spent in long term care (77.6% or £13.6 billion) (1). The cost of care for people aged 65 and over is around £7 billion with 25.5% (~£4.5 billion) spent on physical support (1). At the same time the unpaid carers were supported with £166 million and an additional £196 million was spent for assistive equipment and technology (1).

The 2011 UK Census data indicated that the number of unpaid carers in the UK is around 6.5 million of whom 2.5 million provided more than 19 hours of unpaid care per week (2). More importantly, there is a link between the deterioration of the self-health of the unpaid carers and the total hours of care they provided (3). The Gross Value Added from unpaid “informal” carers has been estimated to be around £56.9 billion in 2014 (4). This is three times more than the current UK Local Authorities’ social care budget. Furthermore, as the currently active informal carers grow older, it is expected that part of the unpaid care they provide will eventually shift to formal care. Carers’ stress and fatigue is likely to lead to an increasing number of informal carers requiring health support from the NHS before the age of 65 compounding the pressure of health services. Such demographic changes and the austerity affecting Local Authority budgets will have a big impact on the quality of life of adults in receipt of care, their families, social care and public health.

*This introduction was originally presented in the conference paper “Person-centric activity profiles for homecare support” at the CIBSE Technical Symposium, London, UK, 12-13 April 2018.

Who can use it?

Anyone involved in the care of an adult living at home can use CareTeam. This includes the person in receipt of care and those closest to them such as a family member. They can invite family, friends, neighbours and other people to join their CareTeam.

What are the main features?

CareTeam is an app that can be used on a smart phone or tablet. It comes with different sensors that can be installed in the home. Carers can then use the platform to check remotely and identify potential issues.

  • App includes functions such as: Secure group messaging, Calendar, Updates and to do lists and Contacts.

 

  • Sensors can measure:
    Temperature and relative humidity, movement of people, specific activities, such as whether a hot drink has been made, or a door opened.

Household Trial

The ASDP approach links the activity schedule of the adult in receipt of care (e.g. carer visits) with in-situ monitoring in homes.

Results from the movement monitoring in household trials.

Houses 1 & 2 have people in receipt of care and show more movement in the bedroom at night as opposed to House 3. It was found that the number of motion events changes with activities and the size of households.

The outcome of a first pilot study indicated that there is a good potential for the creation of dynamic activity profiles with the use of non-disruptive, relatively cheap, off-the-shelf sensors. The integration of the observations into the CareTeam App allows the collection of valuable metadata that refine the activity tracking and adjust the baseline profile accordingly. This will help to avoid false positive warnings. The preventive nature of the warnings in the CareTeam in combination with the efficient communication between the informal carers will enable the adults who receive care to remain active in their community and to stay independent for longer in their own homes.

Interested in being part of the ASDP project and be one of the first to have access to the app and the sensors?

We are currently looking for participants to help test and feedback on the app and the sensors. If you know someone who is living at home with increasing care and support needs, please get in touch.

Being part of the trial would mean a free licence for those involved and sensors for the home of the person in receipt of care. The only requirements are to have a smart device with access to Wi-Fi or mobile data and to be over 18.

For more information on the app, the sensors and ways to participate visit the CareTeam trials website.



References

1. Adult Social Care Statistics, NHS Digital. Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report: Detailed Analysis. England 2016-17. UK: NHS Digital, part of the Government Statistical Service, 2017.
2. Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Provision of unpaid care. 2011 Census aggregate data. UK Data Service (Edition: June 2016). 2016.
3. Stokes P. The gender gap in unpaid care provision: is there an impact on health and economic position?2013 28 November 2017. Available from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing.
4. Webber D, Payne CS. Compendium, Household satellite accounts 2005 to 2014. Chapter 3: Home produced ‘adultcare’ services.: UK Data Service; 2016.

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