LONDON, UK, 12 June, 2008 - With a goal to assist carers in the United Kingdom, Intel Corporation today unveiled ConnectingForCare.co.uk, the first online community of its kind for family carers, community and district nurses, healthcare assistants, social care workers and others to share information and provide emotional support to one another, filling a void in today's healthcare system.
Developed by Intel, in collaboration with Counsel and Care, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and The Queen's Nursing Institute, ConnectingForCare.co.uk uses the Internet to build a sense of community among carers through interactive forums, personal profiles and links to the latest research or treatments. The forums will allow carers to engage with one another at any time, ultimately leading to better coordination of care between the various groups.
Stephen Burke, Chief Executive of Counsel and Care said: "The growing number of carers in the UK need more support, guidance, information and resources to help them continue in their caring role. Too many carers go without the support they are entitled to, or risk their own health because they cannot access the essential support they need. ConnectingforCare.co.uk links unpaid carers with professional carers, giving them an opportunity to develop new coping skills, and helping them to become more effective in their role."
"Community nurses have always considered patients, their families and informal carers to be essential partners in their work," Rosemary Cook, Director of The Queen's Nursing Institute said. "Without this shared endeavour, many patients would find it much harder, and sometimes impossible, to cope. So we are very pleased to support this initiative to enable everyone involved in care in the community to share experience, expertise and support."
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers estimates that there are 6 million carers in the UK and that 13 million people can expect to become carers in the next decade.
British actress Pam Ferris (best known for her roles as Ma Larkin from the TV series "The Darling Buds of May" and more recently Aunt Marge in the Harry Potter films), Vice President of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, knows from personal experience the challenges faced by carers. "Most caring experiences are borne out of crisis. You find yourself thrust into a whole new world which can be very demanding, draining and isolating," she said. "Being able to connect with not only other family carers but also healthcare professionals for advice and support during those difficult moments is invaluable. The Connecting for Care website offers a place for the exchange of experiences, expertise and knowledge and is a welcomed addition to the carer community."
The Carers Week survey results announced this week revealed that 77 percent feel their health is worse as a result of the strain of caring, and well over half have not had a chance to discuss their concerns about their mental or physical health with someone else, either a friend or healthcare professional. ConnectingForCare.co.uk offers a gateway for communication with other carers which may help alleviate the isolation that many carers experience on a daily basis.
ConnectingForCare.co.uk is part of Intel's commitment to finding new and innovative ways to apply technology to support today's carer population and improve health outcomes. Since 1999, Intel has focused on research-driven solutions for improving the care of aging and chronically ill individuals in home and clinical settings. This research continues to drive a variety of product offerings, aimed to assist those with various conditions as well as members of the care team. For example, the Intel Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) platform was designed to enable nurses to access patient records at the point of care, helping them spend more time with patients, remain connected while on the move and manage the administration of medications.
Intel shares a vision with healthcare leaders of using technology to enhance the healthcare experience, increase quality of care and reduce the burden on the healthcare system. This campaign is a natural outgrowth of Intel's focus on people-centred innovation, providing a way to not only improve the quality of healthcare and reduce the burden of caring, but also a way to connect people and build a sense of community.
"Intel respects and honours the important work of carers around the world," said Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Health Group. "By developing ConnectingForCare.co.uk we hope to not only celebrate this dedication, but also to use our expertise in technology as a tool to support and encourage the community to share information and ultimately improve the quality of life for both the patients and the carers."
ConnectingForCare.co.uk provides various ways for carers to interact with one another. Highlights include:
- My Connections: a page where carers can create a personal profile and join a variety of networks based on their specific needs and interests. Carers can directly connect with others within their networks to share stories, tips and support.
- Forums and message boards where carers can discuss issues or concerns and pose questions to the community - linking carers to each other in an active dialogue 24 hours a day.
- Information centres on a range of chronic diseases and conditions where carers can search for information and connect on health-specific topics. Within these centres, users can add comments and link to the latest research and resources on caring for individuals with specific conditions, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, COPD and heart failure.
- Spotlight on: a section where users can publicly honour carers who have touched their lives. Patients, loved ones and fellow carers can use this feature to recognise carers and share their stories.
Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom and blogs.intel.com.
To learn more about Intel in healthcare, go to www.intel.com/healthcare.
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