A new dedicated Care Workforce app has been launched for adult social care in England. It aims to to unify the sector and support staff through the coronavirus pandemic.
The Care Workforce app, developed with NHSX and NHS Business Services Authority, will be introduced under the new CARE brand and will act as a single digital hub for social care workers to access relevant updates, guidance, support and discounts from their phone.
The app comes in response to calls from the sector for a more unified and connecting brand, and can be downloaded on Apple and Android supported smartphones or accessed by browsers on any device.
New mental wellbeing guidance will also soon be published to further support the care sector with bespoke advice for care workers. This guidance will be signposted on the Care Workforce app when available. The tool will be the first of its kind provided for the care workforce, and will:
Act as a single one-stop-shop providing the sector with all the latest guidance, wellbeing support and advice they need to protect themselves from COVID-19 and keep themselves well.
Provide access to learning resources on crucial areas such as infection control as well as practical advice and support for mental wellbeing.
Show how care workers can take advantage of offers available to NHS and social care staff, including free car parking and discounts through organisations and initiatives like Discounts for Carers and the Blue Light Card
Signpost free access to apps like Silvercloud, Daylight and Sleepio which can help boost users’ mental wellbeing.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said, 'Our incredible social care workforce are on the frontline day and night providing quality care to the most vulnerable in our society during the most unprecedented time in our history. The whole country is incredibly grateful of the work they continue to do for our loved ones.
'...We have launched a new app specifically for care workers to make sure they have the most up-to-date guidance to keep them safe, connected with their colleagues across the country which also allows them to access discounts like their NHS counterparts.
'It’s available to download right now, and I would urge everyone in social care to do so.'
Helen Whately, Minister of State for Care, commented on the launch of the Care Workforce app, saying, 'The care workforce have long asked for a single, unifying brand to connect them to each other and I am delighted that we are able today to launch this important new tool under the CARE umbrella.'
In the future, the app will act as a networking platform to bring the social care workforce together in one place to share learnings, best practice and inspiring stories from across the sector.
Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, said, 'It’s more than welcome to see an app like this that’s specifically designed with the adult social care workforce in mind.
'That workforce has many challenges at the moment, including how to keep services running during the COVID-19 situation; but also how to ensure that issues such as safeguarding, mental capacity and rights under the Care Act are not lost. We’ve all been using technology a lot more in the last few weeks and I’m sure that this will be a really useful addition to help the workforce to provide the best care and support that they can during the current crisis.'
Skills for Care's Chief Executive, Oonagh Smyth agreed that this technology is a step in the right direction. She said, 'Technology has proved to be incredibly valuable in keeping our workforce informed during this crisis and this new app specifically aimed at the social care workforce will help workers easy access to the information they need, when they need it. Hard pressed care workers now have an app that offers them access to useful resources on the move. They can get details on offers they can take up from companies recognising the great work that they are doing and information on how they can support their wellbeing during these very challenging times.'
Meanwhile, Vic Rayner, Executive Director of National Care Forum, said, 'Care Workforce is a welcome addition to the frontline. It brings together all the important guidance and information for staff into one place – making sure the workforce have at their fingertips the information they need to deliver great care.'