CARAH is an Irish Research Council funded Living Lab project with an emphasis on collaborative multi-stakeholder engagement in the co-design of inclusive integrated digital and interpersonal solutions for the provision of CARe At Home for older people living in the community. Without an enhanced model of integrated virtual and in-person service delivery, and the correct, well-tested technology and training to support it, there is a danger that some of those unable to avail of community Day Care services, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, will find themselves in situations of increased vulnerability and exclusion. Collaborating with Drogheda Community Services Trust (DCST), we are evaluating a pilot online Day Care at/from home service ([email protected]) as a solution to address service delivery challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to increase long-term service capacity, addressing growing waiting lists for community day care service access.
This research will evaluate how services were delivered during the pandemic and identify inclusive resource-efficient ways to leverage technology and service structures to reach greater numbers of those in need in the community, and reduce waiting lists from community nurse referrals. Integration of the human and technology elements of service delivery will be examined to evaluate the impact on in-person interactions and quality of life. Remaining mindful that nobody should be left behind, as a result of online service delivery, the project includes a wider community engagement through the Building Digital Bridges workshop series. Building Digital Bridges will leverage the experience and identify the needs of other community groups, as well as public and private sector stakeholders, seeking to find digital access solutions to keep older people connected during the pandemic. The processes developed, as part of this research and the broader CARAH project, will embed new approaches to improve how community organisations listen to and involve clients and volunteers in continuous reflexive service delivery.