Published: Friday, 20th November 2020

HelpToCare, an app created in Kent has been shortlisted for the System Led Support for Carers Award at the 2020 Health Service Journal Awards, recognising its outstanding contribution to healthcare.

Commissioned by the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) the app has been shortlisted despite tough competition from over 1000 entries.

The project team has been selected based on their ambition, visionary spirit and the demonstrable positive impact that their project has had on patient and staff experiences within the health and/or social care sector.

The judging panel consists of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community including: Sir Bruce Keogh, Chair, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT, Mark Axcell, Chief Executive, Black Country Healthcare FT and Caroline Beardall, Director of Workforce and OD, NHS England and NHS Improvement – South East.

The HelptoCare app was developed by NHS NEL Commissioning Support Unit, delivered by the Design and Learning Centre (Kent County Council) and the project board includes representatives from NHS local care, digital transformation, Medway Council and Kent County Council.

The app is based on the award-winning Stop Look Care booklet created by the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group.  Kent carers identified their own psychological wellbeing and their ability to manage nursing tasks as being key challenges. The Help to Care app now provides support in both areas in direct response to this need.

HelptoCare features over 30 advice and guidance articles on a range of care-related topics which support the identification of deterioration, and encourage appropriate, timely referrals to suitable NHS, social care and voluntary sector services for both the carer and cared for.

Findings from a pilot study showed that the app enabled infections to be identified and treated early, stimulated conversation and access to mental health support services, enabled more effective personal care, and improved inhaler technique with less healthcare contacts, improving access to timely and appropriate healthcare interventions.

The team designed and implemented their HelptoCare App to provide a free, public facing solution to support carers and the people they care for, improving the care they receive at, or close to home.

Supporting everyone in a caring role

Cathy Bellman, Associate Director for Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) and Primary Care Network (PCN) Development at NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the System Led Support for Carers award, recognising the collaborative efforts and dedication of the partnership over the last 12 months to successfully implement the HelpToCare App, which supports all those in a caring role. We are committed to delivering improved outcomes for our residents, and to be chosen among the other incredible nominees is a wonderful achievement. This nomination has been a tremendous boost to everyone involved and I am sure it will bolster our continued efforts to improve our services.”

The app has been a vital tool for carers 

Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adults’ Services, said: “We are delighted that the Help to Care app has been shortlisted for an HSJ award. The app has been vital tool to help all carers, including those who look after their friends or family members, access support and advice when they need it the most. The app is a fantastic example of our continued partnership working to make sure carers know they are not alone.”

Providing essential support

Clair Bell, KCC Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “Since its launch in May, the HelpToCare app has provided essential support to our carers in Kent during extremely challenging circumstances as a result of the pandemic restrictions. I am delighted that it has been shortlisted for this award; a much-deserved accolade for this valuable and successful project.”

Now in its 40th year, the HSJ Awards is the largest annual benchmarking and recognition programme for healthcare. Through a rigorous, fair and transparent judging process the awards produce a roll call of the best organisations, teams and people in the NHS and the wider health sector.

The full list of finalists for the 2020 HSJ Awards can be found on their website.

Winners will be selected ahead of the ceremony, which will take place virtually in March 2021.

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