Fostering Care Cooperatives in Europe by Building an Innovative Platform with ICT-Based and AAL-Driven Services
At a glance
- Project leader: Prof. Dr. Heidrun Karin Becker, Diotima Bertel, Johannes Burger
- Deputy of project leader: Andrea Kofler
- Project team: Silke , Verena Biehl, Brigitte Gantschnig, Andrea Glässel, Katarina Goba, Anja Kollmar, Ursula Meidert, Paul Schmitter
- Project status: completed
- Funding partner: EU and other international programmes (AAL Programme), Federal government (Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation SBFI)
- Project partner: SYNYO GmbH, SIVECO Romania SA, iDeal Development ApS, Cooperatives Europe asbl, VIA University College, ZDUS - Zveza društev upokojencev Slovenije
- Contact person: Verena Klamroth-Marganska
The iCareCoops project tackles the increasing demand for elderly
care at a time of limited resources. Eight partners from seven
European countries aimed to create novel ICT-driven solutions to
empower care givers and older people in need of care to extend the
time they can live in their preferred environment by facilitating
the cooperative model. The main objective of the iCareCoops project
is to increase efficiency and quality of elderly care through the
cooperative model and ICT solutions. Therefore, the three streams
of research and development of (i) care, (ii) cooperatives and
(iii) AAL solutions can be found throughout the project. Final
output is the iCareCoops software solution consisting in both a web
platform and a mobile application, as well as knowledge created by
the interdisciplinary consortium in form of consulting services and
the iCareCoops Foundation Guide.
iCareCoops is designed as a three-level-concept with information, cooperative, and AAL-driven service levels. These intelligent, interactive and inclusive services were developed with end-user involvement in all phases of the development, and are provided via a powerful web-based platform, a mobile app, and an open API. Users find essential know-how on elderly care and cooperatives on the complementary Care Cooperatives blog. The Foundation Navigator and convenient applications such as Member Management and Collective Buying streamline the process of founding and efficiently running a cooperative. Existing AAL tools are integrated via the AAL Solution Selector and a free CareCast App.
The iCareCoops software solution is aimed at three end-user target groups: the web platform allows cooperative managers easier and more time- and cost-efficient management of their cooperatives, of their members and the tasks provided. Older adults in need of care, and staff as well as volunteers who provide care services, can use the iCareCoops mobile app and schedule their tasks easier and more efficiently. Throughout the project, end-users of these three targeted groups – cooperative managers, care (service) providers (both formal and informal), and older adults in need of care – were included from the concept phase using paper prototype tests until the third prototype.
iCareCoops thus is the solution for efficient setup and management of care cooperatives. Its goals are to (1) promote the concept of elderly care cooperatives and the foundation of new ones and (2) to empower managers of smaller, local elderly care cooperatives (0-200 members) to run their organisation more efficiently. iCareCoops offers streamlined services to reach these goals. The iCareCoops framework with its guides, legal support, foundation advisory etc. provides an optimised all-in-one solution to entrepreneurs. The Care Cooperatives blog, available via www.carecooperatives.eu, in combination with additional marketing measures guarantees broad reach and engagement of relevant stakeholders. iCareCoops Manager and other management tools of the software solution enable cooperative managers to run their organisations with limited resources. Workshops providing consulting services support them to upgrade their skills. Therefore, iCareCoops Support and Manager are the two core ICT services. Additional services include the mobile app for care (service) providers, the AAL catalogue, 3rd party integration, and the possibility for collective buying and shared logistics.
Older people benefit from iCareCoops’ cooperative model because of their increased purchasing power, access to AAL solutions, and control over decision making in the community, which ultimately leads to enhanced autonomy and better quality of life. Care organisations can improve their interaction with older people, their service efficiency, and the integration of informal carers especially in rural regions. iCareCoops thus facilitates the reduction of care costs, advancements in healthcare innovation, and the promotion of a sense of community and sharing.
In summary, the three outcomes of the iCareCoops project are (1) an increase in awareness and an overview of cooperative innovation in the field of care; (2) support and guidance to cooperative entrepreneurs; and (3) an easy-to-use software solution that empowers and supports care cooperatives management, cooperative members providing care services, and older adults in need of care.