Academics from Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) are hosting a unique event to mark the official launch a brand-new app, designed to improve innovation across the adult social care sector.
The app has been created by researchers behind The Learning for Adult Social Care Practice Innovation and Skills (LAPIS) project, an EU-funded project led by LUMS, designed to explore the challenges and opportunities faced by the adult social care sector across the UK and Europe.
The LAPIS app will be launched on Wednesday 12 July during the 'CareXchange Symposium' event which will unite policymakers, care industry workers and experts, along with interested members of the public. It is taking place at Lancaster University Management School between 10.30am and 3.30pm.
Researchers hope the app - which will be available to download in any app store across the UK and Europe from 12 July - will help revolutionize the social care sector by providing a valuable space for practitioners of all levels to access vital information, practical help and provide a safe space for sharing knowledge and innovation. In addition to presenting the app, the event promises to unite healthcare professionals, researchers and industry experts in interactive panels, workshops and debate about innovations needed in adult social care.
In our research and focus groups with workers of all ranks in different social care organizations across Europe, it became clear that innovation in the sector was really lacking - but so needed.
When we did discover pockets of fantastic innovation, there was no easy way for teams to replicate this or share best practices with the wider sector. This could be vital to not only improve the experiences of service users, but also improve the lived experiences of care workers themselves, who often feel overstretched, under resourced and undervalued.
We designed the LAPIS app based on feedback from workers. One of its key features is its ability to empower users to quickly find and share detailed information about innovative social care practices. We hope it will provide a one stop shop for workers who need to quickly lay their hands on top tips, case studies or stories that outline successes and failures, with content specifically tailored to their needs."
Dr Carolyn Downs, Principal Investigator of the LAPIS project from Lancaster University Management School
After conducting a series of workshops and in-depth interviews with senior leaders from the sector across the six partner countries over the course of the three-year project, the team of researchers uncovered the need for the sector right across Europe to have improved training and development opportunities; adequate funding to attract and retain skilled social care workers; increased public awareness of social care work and the challenges faced by workers in the sector; addressing workload and working conditions which contribute to burnout; and supporting the development and implementation of innovative approaches to social care work.
In addition to creating the app, the LAPIS project has seen researchers bring together academics, policymakers and representatives from the social care industry to discuss these issues and important policy issues affecting the care sector. Findings from the project were also submitted as evidence to a Government inquiry exploring recruitment, retention and training issues in health and social care last year, and were subsequently included in a report published by the House of Commons.
Now, the project's second set of policy recommendations have been published, shedding light on the immense pressure facing the social care workforce and offering a series of solutions to address the crisis effectively.
The recommendations include:
- the establishment of a national training and development framework to attract and retain talented individuals, ultimately enhancing the quality of care
- a comprehensive review of existing training programs to align them more closely with the requirements of adult social care roles
- increased investment in marketing and advertising campaigns to promote the vital contributions of the adult social care workforce and encourage individuals to consider careers in the sector.
- the introduction of a professional registration scheme for adult social care workers to ensure that workers meet specific standards of professionalism, competence, and ethical conduct
- for the sector to embrace technological advancements and encourage innovative solutions to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance the quality of care
Dr Carolyn Downs said: "As the population continues to age, the demand of adult social care services is on the rise. The pandemic highlighted the importance of adult social care services and exposed the vulnerabilities within the system, highlighting the need for immediate action to ensure the well-being of our elderly population. As we move forward, it is crucial that we continue to work together to address the challenges faced by the adult social care system. Together, we can ensure the well-being of our elderly population and create a better future for all.
"Through LAPIS, we have made a significant step towards addressing the challenges facing the adult social care sector. Its policy recommendations provide a roadmap for effective reform and will undoubtedly contribute to the betterment of care provision in our society. Our upcoming event offers a fantastic opportunity to engage in a meaningful dialogue and explore innovative solutions to address the challenges facing the industry."
To register to attend the free event on 12 July to hear from the researchers involved, engage in the debate and have a preview of the new app, please visit: CareXchange Symposium Tickets, Wed 12 Jul 2023 at 10:30 | Eventbrite
In addition to Lancaster University Management School, partners in the LAPIS project include the University of Lodz - Poland, Associazione Submeet - Incontrarsi per Crescere - Italy, Druzhestvo Znanie - Bulgaria, Applied Industrial Technologies (APINTECH) Ltd - Cyprus , 50+ Hellas Astiki Me Kerdoskopiketairia - Greece and Lancaster and Morecambe College in the UK.