The University of Brighton has been awarded £157,000 to help people manage their own care, at individual and community level.
The project is part of the EU’s Interreg €4m ‘2Seas Mers Zeeen’ initiative called ‘EMPOWERCARE’ which aims to address issues facing communities in caring for the growing ageing population. It will “bring together existing, proven solutions, including innovative technologies, from across Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK”.
Dr Theo Fotis, from the university’s Centre for Secure, Intelligent and Usable Systems (CSIUS), is leading the university’s research: “We are very excited by this project which we hope will bring real benefits to help people to manage their care.
“We will be working with citizens at our Digital Health Living Lab to develop a technology blueprint on initiatives and technology that support enablement at individual and community level.”
He said older people are not always fully involved in decisions concerning their own health and wellbeing, and the right support is not in place to enable them to remain in their homes, supported by their local community.
In 2013 the over 65s made up 18.2% of the European population and this figure is set to rise to 28.7% by 2080. Traditional services are already at capacity and the present system pushes people to the default point of safety: the hospital. With the cost of care for older people increasing, he said, it is necessary to integrate these groups more closely with their communities, keeping them healthier and in their own homes safely for longer.
EMPOWERCARE teams will work together to “develop a holistic approach to respond to current gaps in the care of people aged 65+ and those aged 50+ and living with a chronic condition”.
Dr Fotis is Deputy Director (Outreach) of CSIUS and Principal Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences. He researches digital health through co-production which enhances healthcare delivery utilising digital technologies.