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Online help for carers launched to mark Carers Week

Helen Brewster, Managing Director at Care We Share

A tool to help families care for their loved ones is being launched in Coventry this week.

Carers Week is running nationally from the 10th to the 16th June and the Care We Share tool will be launched to an audience of carers at an event hosted by the Carers Trust Heart of England in Coventry on 11th June 2019.

Care we Share is an innovative web portal that allows carers to coordinate care, share caring responsibilities and obtain support from their network. With a simple diary tool and a messaging system, a carer can post times of medical appointments or leisure activities and ask someone to help with transport, or collecting prescriptions or shopping. Friends and family can offer help when they are available and don’t feel guilty turning down a request when they are not. Crucially the system also allows a carer to post one update on a loved one’s health, rather than having to make multiple calls or sending numerous text messages.

Helen Brewster is the Managing Director of Care We Share and has developed the system. She said: “I’ve seen many people close to me affected by long term conditions, such as dementia or cancer and their partners or children are trying to do everything to support them on their own. People often say ‘let me know what I can do to help’, but coordinating everyone is as difficult as the actual caring and it can be awkward asking someone directly.  It can be quicker and easier to do everything yourself, which can lead to isolation.

“I was determined to find a way to make it easier for a network of friends and family to help. Care we Share means a carer can post a request to their network and whoever is available can step in.

“We have been developing the tool over the last couple of years and I’m delighted that we can now partner with Carers Trust Heart of England so carers can sign up to use it to gain the support they need.”

Harriet was one of the first people to test the system. She said: “I am a member of a large family, and we all live close by. When my Granny became ill last year everyone wanted to help so we needed a way to co-ordinate who was going to take her to hospital appointments and who was going to call in and see her each day.

“The online tool was very helpful and practical, and took a lot of the emotional pressure away from us as a family. One person could post her appointments and everyone could volunteer to help when it suited them. Granny is 97 so she wasn’t aware of the details of the system, just that we had a diary to help us look after her and it saved her having to write down and remember appointments.

“We used it for 6 weeks to get us through a difficult patch, but it could be easily used as a long term tool. It would also be extremely useful where a family lives further away from their loved one. The main thing for Granny is that it has helped her remain in her own home, and as a family we know that she is well cared for with everyone stepping in.”

Carers Trust Heart of England, said: “We are excited by the partnership with Care We Share. There are currently over 6.5 million carers in the UK and by 2037 this is expected to rise to 9 million. Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility that equals to over 2 million people each year! With a rapidly ageing population and enormous pressure being placed on the NHS and social care the role of the primary care has never been more important.”

Carers can find out more and arrange a free trial by visiting: www.careweshare.org.

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