Before participants in EIT Health’s CARE Campus began to elaborate their cure, Lefkos Middleton, a Professor of Neurology and Ageing Research in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, delivered the diagnosis: “Caregiving services in Europe are often not provided by people with proper accreditation. The time has come for comprehensive quality control of caregiving, and state of the art training courses for carers. This training can also provide new career pathways.”

This was the unmet need that the 13-14 March workshop, hosted by the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing in Oxford, UK, was seeking to address. Started in April 2016,

EIT Health Campus CARE project (Caregiving and Ageing Reimagined for Europe) is an effort to develop professional training for caregivers, as a way to improve care for older adults.

More training and professional standards are desperately needed: The over-85 demographic is the fastest growing cohort in Europe, so the demand for care is booming, while the supply of carers is decreasing. As participants in the conference noted, more caregivers would be helpful for seniors but professionalisation of the field through training and certificates would also provide a potential for job creation in Europe.

“The fast rising elderly population pose significant challenges globally for governments, clinicians and caregivers. A complete relook at how health and care is delivered for this population is imperative to achieve solutions to meet their increasing needs,” said Eugene Varughese, Head of International Business at Philips Healthcare Home Monitoring at Philips Healthcare. “The EIT Health CARE initiative is a vital step in curating best practices of care for the elderly, and this will transform the ageing experience for Europe and beyond.”

The CARE Campus solution to this challenge involves development of online training modules in the form of MOOCs to reach carers and provide them with the knowledge and tools to increase the quality of care they provide. The CARE Campus workshop allowed experts from industry and academia in Europe and the United States to brainstorm on the framework and content for these training modules.

The workshop in Oxford had three main objectives:

  •                to design an innovative Curriculum for Care
  •                to build a digital platform where the courses will be made available
  •                to build high quality courses offering a professional certificate

Efforts to design the curriculum involved thematic working groups discussing:

  • Carers: This working group discussed specific course modules, a carer manual, how to reach to the different target groups of carers, and how certification of caregiving can attract more people to the market.
  • Age related diseases, poly-pharmacy and multi-morbidities: It was agreed that this module would mostly target professional caregivers, as they need to understand the health challenges of older adults.
  • Healthy ageing and prevention of common diseases of ageing: Participants in this group said the aim should be optimizing quality of life of carers and cared for. The module could be framed along the stages of ageing and what preventative measures and signs of common diseases could be identified at each stage.
  • New technologies: Here, the discussion centered around a two part module – a framework to identify the needs of caregivers, the other would present tools to navigate technologies to support caregiving.

After clarifying these issues, participants agreed on several concepts for the curriculum that will be put in place, including the challenges of differing target groups – whether the carers are family carers, or if they are professional carers for example. Regarding the creation of a digital platform, participants also discussed a potential partnership with EdX, as well the details of what accreditation and certification for the course would look like.

Details were set for continued work toward developing the training modules and offering them to carers by June 2018. EIT Health Director of Education, Dr. Ursula Mühle said the progress made at the conference, and the training modules that are expected to be produced, are excellent examples of the potential that EIT Health can offer by bringing together education, innovation and business creation.

Participants in CARE Campus include the following EIT Health Partners:
GE Healthcare
Imperial College London
Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique
Karolinska Institutet
Medtronic INC.
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB
Stockholms Stad
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford
University of Coimbra

External Project Partners include:
Nestlé Skin Health
Bavarian Research Alliance GmbH (BayFOR)
Global Coalition on Aging (US)
Home Instead Senior Care (US)
Philips Healthcare
Ville de Nice
UPMC – University Pierre and Marie CURIE
Gérontopôle – Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Toulouse

For more information, contact Annick Ducher of EIT Health Campus.