Dedicated app for social care workers launched

A new dedicated app for the adult social care workforce in England has been launched to support staff through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Close-up of hands using a smartphone

• Care workers get access to guidance, learning resources, discounts and other support all in one place
• Support will be offered on mental health and wellbeing through toolkits and resources
• The Care Workforce app will unite 1.5 million care workers across more than 18,000 care providers

A new dedicated app for the adult social care workforce in England has been launched to support staff on-the-go through the coronavirus pandemic.

The social care workforce is spread across 18,000 providers and it can often be difficult to communicate with all staff in one clear way. The Care Workforce app, developed with NHSX and the NHS Business Services Authority, will be introduced under the new CARE brand and will act as a single digital hub for social care workers to access relevant updates, guidance, support and discounts from their phone.

The CARE branded app comes in response to calls from the sector for a more unified and connecting brand, and can be downloaded on Apple and Android supported smartphones or accessed by browsers on any device.

New mental wellbeing guidance will soon be published to further support the care sector with bespoke advice for care workers. This guidance will be signposted on the Care Workforce app when available. The tool will be the first of its kind provided for the care workforce, and will:

• act as a single one-stop-shop providing the sector with all the latest guidance, wellbeing support and advice they need to protect themselves from COVID-19 and keep themselves well

• provide access to learning resources on crucial areas such as infection control as well as practical advice and support for mental wellbeing

• show how care workers can take advantage of offers available to NHS and social care staff, including free car parking and discounts through organisations and initiatives like Discounts for Carers and the Blue Light Card

• signpost free access to apps like Silvercloud, Daylight and Sleepio, which can help boost users’ mental wellbeing through programmes covering sleep, stress and resilience

New mental wellbeing guidance will soon be published to further support the care sector with bespoke advice for care workers. This guidance will be signposted on the Care Workforce app when available.

It builds on a cash injection of £1.6 billion for local authorities, as well as the recently launched social care action plan, which set out a series of measures including ramping up testing and access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“Our incredible social care workforce are on the frontline day and night providing quality care to the most vulnerable in our society during the most unprecedented time in our history. The whole country is incredibly grateful of the work they continue to do for our loved ones.

“As part of our continued work to back the care sector, we have launched a new app specifically for care workers to make sure they have the most up-to-date guidance to keep them safe, connected with their colleagues across the country, which also allows them to access discounts like their NHS counterparts.

“It’s available to download right now, and I would urge everyone in social care to do so.”

Helen Whately, Minister of State for Care, commented:

“The care sector is a vital part of our health and care frontline and this pandemic has shone a light on the skills, commitment and dedication of our care workers.

“The Care Workforce app is there to help those frontline care workers ‒ from providing the latest news and guidance, to sharing stories to draw inspiration from in challenging times, and as a way of connecting colleagues from Cornwall to Carlisle. I hope it will help unite people working in care across the country.

“The care workforce have long asked for a single, unifying brand to connect them to each other and I am delighted that we are able today to launch this important new tool under the CARE umbrella.”

In the future, the app will act as a networking platform to bring the social care workforce together in one place to share learnings, best practice and inspiring stories from across the sector

A version of the app is also under consideration for NHS workers.

This follows the launch of the social care action plan, which set out a range of measures to protect staff and residents living in care homes.

The workforce will be expanded by 20,000 through a new recruitment campaign, while NHS nurses and student nurses are being deployed to support social care sector where appropriate.

Care homes are being supported with new ways to order PPE, with millions of items delivered so far. Care staff, alongside residents, are now eligible for testing, whether or not they have symptoms, and since this was announced on 28 April we have delivered over 30,000 tests.

An extra £1.6 billion has also been made available to local authorities to address the additional pressures from COVID-19, with a further £1.3 billion available to provide enhanced support for patients being discharged.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England, said:

“This new app will help to keep the social care workforce fully informed of all the issues in social care, and it will provide an easily accessible and portable resource for every care worker”

Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive at the Social Care Institute for Excellence, said:

“It’s more than welcome to see an app like this that’s specifically designed with the adult social care workforce in mind.

“That workforce has many challenges at the moment, including how to keep services running during the COVID-19 situation; but also how to ensure that issues such as safeguarding, mental capacity and rights under the Care Act are not lost. We’ve all been using technology a lot more in the last few weeks and I’m sure that this will be a really useful addition to help the workforce to provide the best care and support that they can during the current crisis.”

Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum, said:

“Care Workforce is a welcome addition to the frontline. It brings together all the important guidance and information for staff into one place – making sure the workforce have at their fingertips the information they need to deliver great care.”

Alex Fox, OBE FRSA, Chief Executive, Shared Lives Plus, said:

“It has never been more important for everyone working in social care to be connected with each other and well informed about the latest changes in policy. The app will help all of us with this. Shared Lives Plus is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care through the pandemic and we encourage everyone working in Shared Lives to sign up.”

Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth said:

“Technology has proved to be incredibly valuable in keeping our workforce informed during this crisis and this new app specifically aimed at the social care workforce will help workers get easy access to the information they need, when they need it.”

“Hard-pressed care workers now have an app that offers them access to useful resources on the move. They can get details on offers they can take up from companies recognising the great work that they are doing and information on how they can support their wellbeing during these very challenging times.”

Share: