The EU-funded ValueCare project has made great progress since being launched in December 2019. The ValueCare project aims to deliver personalized integrated health and social care services, better outcomes for citizens, improved care experience, improved staff satisfaction and greater efficiency in the use of resources and coordination of care in a setting that ensures trust of users and policy makers with regard to data access, protection and sharing and which can be replicated and deployed at large scale in other EU countries (The Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain and Croatia). The research has three main objectives:
- To deliver integrated outcome-based care to older people experiencing cognitive impairment, frailty and multiple chronic health conditions.
- To contribute to the sustainability of health and social care systems in Europe.
- To provide a secure, scalable and robust digital solution for integrated care.
More specifically, in Ireland, the ValueCare project focuses on co-designing a digital solution to help older people (≥75) experiencing mild to moderate frailty to live independently in their homes. The research involves a two-phase approach; the first phase focuses on the co-design of a digital solution with key stakeholders (older people, formal and informal carers, health and social care providers), while the second phase involves the implementation of the co-designed digital solution at the designated Cork and Kerry pilot sites. Co-design is as specific value-driven approach which uses real-life experiences of people with health conditions and healthcare providers to improve service design and delivery. Each stakeholder are involved as equal partners and co-creators, and the experiences of users and communities are at the core of the design process
The Irish ValueCare Research Team at University College Dublin, led by Professor Áine Carroll, have been working on Phase 1 in which they will collect data from participants (families, caregivers, health and social care providers) through iterative focus groups, interviews and workshops – bringing inspiration and feedback into the development of the value-based digital solution. Central to setting up Phase 1, we have been focusing on ethical approval applications and stakeholder mapping, both at national and local levels, specific to our Cork and Kerry pilot sites. As the restrictions related to Covid-19 have meant that in-person data collection may be challenging, we have created online and interactive co-design methods which we hope will be meaningful for our participants and effectively capture their valuable insights. The Irish ValueCare Research Team has worked closely with the Integrated Care Programme for Older People (ICPOP) and Age Friendly Ireland (AFI) to ensure the research aligns with the Integrated Care Framework for Older Persons in Ireland and encompasses the various stakeholders’ voices which we want to include in this research. As such the main goal for the coming months is to conduct Phase 1 data collection with our key stakeholders to ensure that their values are captured to inform the design and intent of the digital solution for integrated care.
We feel that is an innovative approach to integrated care for older people since digital solutions are often designed and prescribed to its intended user, whereas the ValueCare project seeks to identify their priorities and preferences regarding their care and create a digital solution to meet these needs. We feel the ValueCare project is an exciting opportunity to understand the experiences of older people living with frailty in Ireland and provide a tool that may help them live well and independently.