Meeting the ageing population challenge – High-quality training for 12,000 caregivers

CARE Campus online education, unique in outreach and design

By 2060, 155 million Europeans, or 30 percent of the total European population, will be 65 years or older. In this ageing demography, caregivers have crucial role but are often undereducated and have a low influence on their work situation. Qualitative training for caregivers has a huge potential as it raises the skills levels of a large and sometimes overlooked workforce and can have a significant impact on caregiving for an ageing population. CARE Campus is a unique, EIT Health-supported, training programme providing high-quality distance education for both professional and family caregivers. When wrapping up the four-year programme, almost 12.000 caregivers have taken the online courses.

 

A unique training programme targeting all caregivers

The main objective of CARE Campus is to contribute to quality training for caregivers providing care for older adults in Europe. The programme is unique in both its outreach and design and the aim is to become an EU standard. The courses are available online to anyone who signs up and have been designed to suit both professional and family caregivers – a novel approach to meet the education needs of all caregivers.

– People are living longer, will have more coexisting diseases later in life, and will need support later in life. Consequently, care for older adults is becoming more complex, and those who work as caregivers will have the greatest need for quality education, comments Eric Asaba, Principal Investigator of CARE Campus and Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy at Karolinska Institutet, KI, Sweden.

 

Achievements so far

CARE is an abbreviation for Caregiving and Ageing Reimagined for Europe, a consortium with participants from ten European countries, including academic institutions, private corporations, non-profit associations and the public sector. From 2016-2019 the programme has been funded by EIT Health.

To date, CARE has resulted in ten qualitative courses available online. Between December 2018 and November 2019 as many as 11,983 students were registered for the courses being tracked. In addition, other successful projects have been carried out in connection to the courses, such as citizen events in Toulouse, Nice, and Paris in France as well as in Coimbra in Portugal to spread knowledge about care for older adults.

The CARE Campus consortium.

 

Individual study or blended learning

A strength of the CARE Campus project is the large network of partners that have developed the courses together. The consortium has thus been able to bring in experience and knowledge from several different countries and sectors into the project. The courses were also developed through engaging with caregivers both during the testing and piloting of the e-learning materials:

– In this way, we were able to both try to better adapt the course content to support needs of the caregivers, and validate their experiences, as well as see potential for how the course media could easily be engaged with in a variety of real world settings; from study groups in community centers to self study on a mobile device or as part of an instructor lead workshop, says Project Manager Anneliese Lilienthal.

Another advantage is that the courses can easily be combined with other education:

– The courses can be used in blended learning in adult education or in flipped classroom approaches to deepen the learning experience. The opportunity to adapt the training and to use time more efficiently is a win-win, for the student as well as for those designing training for caregivers, comments Eric Asaba.

Anneliese Lilienthal, Project Manager.

 

Prof. Eric Asaba, CARE Campus project leader.

 

CARE Campus in short:

EIT Health Campus started CARE to develop standardised qualitative training for elder carers. It is today one of the largest training and advocacy networks for caregiving in Europe.

  • Ten courses are currently available online in English on the EdX platform and in French on a different platform.
  • The self-paced courses allow caregivers to access learning materials, customized to fit each student’s working and learning needs.
  • The topics of the courses range from supporting personal care for older adults and independence to nutrition, healthy ageing, age related diseases and disorders, technology and ageing, and caregiving for older people at the end of life. There is also a course about care for carers, to provide support to the caregivers themselves who often have a stressful and burdensome situation.
  • Up to November 2019 as many as 11,983 students were registered for the courses. All courses are available at the CARE Campus website.
  • The partners of the CARE consortium have all an interest in or operations concerning caregiving for older adults and have provided expertise in the project. A list of all partners involved can be found here.

Text: Annika Lagerhorn