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Experiences with using information and communication technology to build a multi-municipal support network for informal carers

This multi-municipal intervention study explored whether informal carers of frail older people and disabled children living at home made use of information and communication technology (ICT) to gain knowledge about caring and to form informal support networks, thereby improving their health. Seventy-nine informal carers accessed web-based information about caring and an e-based discussion forum via their personal computers. They were able to maintain contact with each other using a web camera and via normal group meetings. After the first 12 months, 17 informal carers participated in focus group interviews and completed a short questionnaire. Four staff members were also interviewed. Participant carers who had prior experiences with a similar ICT-based support network reported greater satisfaction and more extensive use of the network than did participants with no such prior experience. It seems that infrequent usage of the service may be explained by too few other carers to identify with and inappropriate recruitment procedures. Nevertheless, carers of disabled children reported that the intervention had resulted in improved services across the participant municipalities. To achieve optimal effects of an ICT-based support network due attention must be given to recruitment processes and social environment building for which care practitioners require training and support.

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Additional Titles
Informatics for Health & Social Care

Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
ISBN/ISSN
1753-8157
Resource Database
Web of science - exported 12/7/2016
Publication Year
2013
Issue Number
3
Volume Number
38
Start Page
265-279