Start date: Sep 1, 2015,
End date: Aug 31, 2017
A major policy and social challenge in the European Union is the ageing of the population, and the need to ensure quality Long Term Care for the increasing numbers of dependent young and older citizens. Failure to promote technical innovation to support the millions of people in this situation in Europe will have severe impacts on employment, economic competitiveness and social inclusion. As, on the one hand, people are getting older and the need for long term care is increasing, the number of formal and informal caregivers is decreasing, ICT exploitation and provision of personal development adult education (i.e. soft skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy) of employees are seen as a possible solutions to this kind of dilemmas.
The development of basic skills in specific diseases (such as cancer and mental health care) is crucial for a more equitable integration of the informal caregivers in the market. In the same line it seems that incorporating the potential of ICT skills (online management, etc) in this rapidly growing sector could boost substantially employment and services in this sector. In parallel, Social (soft) skills in the social and health industry are increasingly being recognized as valuable skills that are necessary for nursing professionals to possess. They need communication and leaderships skills so as to have a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities once they become licensed to practice. It is widely accepted by patients' organizations that these skills provision is absent on both VET and Tertiary Education level and this constitute a challenge for quality of services and caregivers employability. This gap in skills provided in the education is the starting point of the consortium interest in order to share experience and best practices and develop practical tools for caregivers, patients' and VET organizations.
The underlying assumption is that ICT can be, and is a cost-effective way to improve the quality of care provided to dependent people, to ease the burden on informal caregivers, improve the quality of life of both groups (homecarers and services recipients) and promote the employability of vulnerable populations involved in caregiving (i.e. migrants, low skilled women) as well as family relatives. Moreover, soft and ICT skills, being major transversal skills, are essential for the professionalization of the qualified caregivers and integration of vulnerable employees or/unemployed and can be crucial for a fast-changing labor market as they improve informal caregivers' learning experiences, transversal competences and employability.
I_CARE project envisages to address these challenges by effectively testing and validating a concrete multifaceted methodology that aims to improve quality of life both of home carers and services recipients. Specifically, I_CARE project involves a broad spectrum of higher education institutions, VET organizations, patients associations and social cooperatives (17 members of the Consortium or supporting partners in total) in four (4) countries in order to develop, implement and evaluate a learning-training methodology of adult education for both formal and informal caregivers. The project aims at identifying current practices in respect of ICT, social and basic skills of caregivers, mapping educational needs and skills gaps, collect and elaborate best practices among participating countries and promote employability of the actors involved by providing specially designed courses, tools and mobility schemes (i.e. MOOC, self assessment tools, coaching sessions, mini games). The contextualized tools in the project will entail the exchange of knowledge and skills for the mutual benefit of the parties involved.
The target groups of this project are on the one hand scholars of nursing schools, VET and patients' organizations , social coopeartives and on the other hand informal caregivers (i.e. migrants, patient's relatives, low skilled unemployed women, etc) working either in institution setting or at home.
The methodology of the proposed project consists of a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on basic, soft and ICT caregiver skills and knowledge with side-tools (i.e. self assessment tool, mini games) as well as supportive services (i.e. coaching sessions) and of two (2) joint mobility 5-day sessions, Train Caregivers as Trainers courses producing a snowball effect in the 20 partners and supporting organizations. The training content will be written in 4 languages (English, French, Italian and Greek) and criteria such as educational level, socio-cultural background and context of service recipients will be taken into account. The project will adopt a dynamic process of evaluation and all results and outputs will be effectively disseminated through different channels of communication (portal, workshops, social media etc) and levels of governance (VET, Universities, supporting patient Associations e.t.c.).