A few months after its conclusion, the European project Co-Care – Co-created ICT Solutions for Alzheimer’s Informal Caregiving, developed by a consortium of institutions including the Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal (IPS), is in the implementation phase of its latest product, an Online Community of Practice (CdPO) to support informal caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients.
The project, which has been on the ground since January 2020, with funding from the European Erasmus+ program, is coordinated by the University of Vic (Spain) and involves higher education institutions, user associations, and professionals from the social, health, and technology sectors. Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. IPS is present through its Higher Schools of Health (ESS/IPS) and of Technology in Setúbal (ESTSetúbal/IPS).
CdPO emerges as a virtual space where informal caregivers, designers, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) providers, as well as students, teachers, and researchers from higher education institutions, can interact, share knowledge and work together to create solutions real technologies to facilitate the day to day of those who take care of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
The web platform, which will serve to support all the actors involved, accompanying the development of the training course and the toolkit already created within the scope of Co-Care, will be made available with automatic translation between the languages of the project partners: Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, and English. This community will also be open to formal caregivers, public authorities, and the general public interested, in a perspective of learning and sharing contributions.
Running until December 2022, the European Co-Care project, centered on the user (user-centered design) and based on a co-creation perspective, has already presented as a result a training proposal for students in the areas of health, social work, and technology of information. The course, tested in a pilot action in Portugal, was designed with the aim of providing knowledge and skills for the co-creation, with the involvement of users, of solutions based on scientific evidence, thus putting information technologies at the service of informal caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Another of the goals already achieved by Co-Care concerns the creation of a tool kit to support informal caregivers, available online, and that adds, among other features, the possibility of searching and choosing ICT solutions that allow them to make life and work easier. daily life and ensure their physical and psychological well-being, the development and improvement of skills in the use of ICT solutions, and the connection with people in a similar situation, with the consequent sharing of impressions and experiences.