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New app to help carers create ‘community of care’

A new app will provide carers of people with a life-limiting illness with additional support and resources to improve their own lives and help create a ‘community of care’ to assist in their care giving role.

Many people would like to help out their friends or family with a serious illness but they don't know how (Source: Shutterstock)
Many people would like to help out their friends or family with a serious illness but they don't know how (Source: Shutterstock)

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is set to develop the app which will focus on building a caring community around people with their broader network of family and friends.

The announcement was made last week during National Carers Week which recognises the need to provide support and share the load of care for Australia’s 2.8 million carers to maintain their own health and wellbeing. 

Many people with a life-limiting illness receive care at home and carers can experience feelings of isolation depending on the support network they can access.

PCA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Liz Callaghan says many people don't like to ask for help.

“Our app will enable the primary carer of a person who is sick to share their specific needs. It may be providing a meal, walking the dog or running an errand for them. It may also be providing care for the sick person while their primary carer attends a meeting, a child’s sporting event or takes a break,” she says.

“It will also allow them to identify how they are feeling and whether they would like visitors, and the best time of day to visit.

“Many people have told us that while they would like to help out their friends or family with a serious illness, they don't know how to help,” Ms Callaghan continues.

She says carers of people with a life limiting illness often find it most helpful is when a family member or friend can perform small practical tasks that they would otherwise need to do themselves.

“The app will address both issues by providing an easy way to communicate the help that is needed and providing a simple and coordinated channel for family and friends to respond,” Ms Callaghan explains.

The app is made possible through funding from nib foundation and is currently in the development phase. It is scheduled for launch in 2017.

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, said the new app reflects one of the core focuses of the foundation which is to fund programs that provide carers with the additional support and resources they need to improve their own lives.

“Providing the equivalent of $1.1 billion in unpaid care every week, carers have been identified as facing the lowest levels of wellbeing in society. Their dedication to helping others often leads to significant personal challenges including feelings of isolation, lack of time to maintain personal, physical and mental health, as well as stress and depression,” Ms Tribe says.

“We’re proud to help PCA support carers of people with a life-limiting illness by facilitating a first of its kind platform that will allow demands of their workload to be shared with family and friends in a structured and coordinated manner."

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