Tag Archives: information and advice

Update: Click Guide to #Dementia

I  have been touched and excited by the interest and support for the Guide. since we launched (read the original post here) and we are now working on the next two Guides which we hope to launch soon.

You can buy the Guide here and I appreciate it can be a tough choice between the eBook at £4-99 which has clickable links and the Paperback at £8-99 (plus p&p) a valuable reference book. Or why not buy both!

A big thank you to everyone sharing and liking information about the Guide.

The Click Guide is self funded and has been produced by a very small group of professionals who believe passionately that technology can benefit all of our lives but only if information is accessible to enable people to make informed choices about how digital resources can enhance care and support.

An important reminder that the Terms and Conditions for using the Click Guide to Dementia eBook state that the Guide is for personal use and can only be downloaded on one device (laptop, iPad, Tablet or smartphone).

If you are an organisation who would like to support staff, service users and volunteers to benefit from online access to the Guide or a membership subscription service who wish to add our digital resources to your database please contact us to buy a licence which is available for a reasonable fee  dependent on the numbers who will be accessing the resources in the Guide.

For more information about buying a licence or for a digital copy of the Terms and Conditions of Use please contact Shirley@clickguide.co.uk 




Is fragmented information a barrier to #connectedcare? guest post from @PaulBromford

One of the important issues identified ahead of Connected Care Camp is that people struggle to find information, advice and support about care services both online and offline.

Certainly the web is much more complex than it was a few years ago and the Care “marketplace” is an increasingly crowded space that many find difficult to negotiate.

One of the Breakout sessions at #psicare discussed this problem and attempted to come up with some solutions.

Our initial look at the problem revealed the following:

There’s no a lack of information – Searching “advice for carers” gives about  16,400,000 results search results.  But identifying trusted sources is an issue.

  • Many people only look for information once they are at a point of crisis – which confuses the issue further as people frantically search for an immediate solution.
  • People have difficulty identifying what a great care service looks like. There’s a need to share lessons from care successes and failures. In England the Care Quality Commission have an important role in sharing information.

So here are five possible solutions we came up with:

Make space for difficult conversations

The group accepted that making social care “sexy” is a challenge.  We live is a society obsessed with denying the effects of ageing. We keep hearing 50 is the new 30, 70 the new 50.

Although we agreed the need for a huge culture shift on attitudes towards ageing – we also accepted we had to be realistic around the outcomes of a 60-minute workshop!

Suggested Solution: A campaign of awareness for public and professionals to start having proactive conversations around longer-term care needs. The starting point to be establishing much better communication between health, housing and care. Housing in particular was thought to have a key role.

If every professional was equipped with the right skills, technology  and space to have a conversation – imagine how we could help people seeking care at the point of crisis?

Establish a principle of “The 5 Things I need to know”

In a free market the emergence of a “Tripadvisor” of Care might be wishful thinking.

But how about we establish the Top 5 things everyone should know to look for when they are looking at options? Available across care and related sectors including health and housing – this would also better support multi disciplinary specialists to give advice.

If it’s difficult to know what “good” really looks like let’s give people 5 things they should look for before anything else.

Map and connect locally available resources

The group felt that vital community hubs are underutilised as a way of enabling access to care information. There are scores of interest groups, informal community networks and clubs available in most localities that often exist under the radar of local authorities. Often run by volunteers they are the hidden networks where people seek informal advice and support from trusted advisors.

How can it be in 2013 that nobody can articulate how many of these actually exist? Surely technology – especially location based apps – can help us unlock this resource to help in the sharing of information and even to identify informal and potential carers.

Enable people in residential care to access digital tools

It remains a problem that many residential homes still do not have access to the most basic technology. Additionally most hospitals do not have publicly available WiFi – this is another barrier to stop people seeking out advice and support.

How can we expect and encourage people in residential care to suggest how their care can be improved when they are all too often excluded from the internet?

In a world where funding can go to all sorts of projects which struggle to articulate meaningful outcomes making digital technology available to the most socially excluded must be a priority.

Establish a more consistently understood and coherent way of care users engaging with services before, during and whilst receiving care services.

The group thought we were missing valuable insights from care givers and those receiving care about how they thought access to information and support could be improved.

It was felt there is no consistency for users in understanding when care services should be reviewed or appraised for instance

Linking to the “5 things you need to know about care” the group pondered how digital technology could help people comment on the service they receive and raise awareness of resources such as Patient Opinion, Care Opinion, NHS Choices and Your Care Home.  Perhaps a personalised digital care plan – complete with alerts for family and friends could be used to connect services in one place and sharing updates to innovations like Mindings

Quick Poll: Which organisation would you recommend to an older person seeking advice about care and support options?

One thing was very clear from our discussion:

We don’t need more information. We need better quality connected conversations.





Poll: Which organisation would you recommend to an older person seeking advice about care and support options?

One of the problems identified in online discussions and the Connected Care Camp survey is the struggle many individuals, their families and friends experience trying to find information, guidance and advice about care and support options. How can we improve the systems?

This quick poll aims to provide an indication of which organisations are recommended as useful resources.

[The answers are randomised and not in any particular order]

Connected Care Camp takes place on the 7th December 2013 and you can follow the discussions on Twitter via the hashtag #psicare

Available now! The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Care

“technology supports the development of solutions that are tailored and accessible to individuals while also enabling their wide distribution at significantly lower cost than traditional services” Annika Small Nominet Trust

“My (printed) copy arrived this morning. Very well researched and informative. Well done Shirley – and thank you for mentioning new electronic version of Whose Shoes? – aligned to TLAP’s ‘Making It Real’. Planning launch programme with TLAP next week! :)”   Gill Phillips @WhoseShoes

All the information you need in one place

Whether you work in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors (or are a carer or use services), digital technology is transforming the way care services are delivered. It will not, of course, ever replace human contact, kindness, empathy and understanding. But it does allow people to connect in different ways, quickly and easily. Digital technology and social networks provide some of the most powerful tools available today for building a sense of belonging, support and sharing among groups of people who share similar interests and concerns.

The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care has been developed to help professionals, carers and service users make use of the fantastic resources which are already available across the whole spectrum of needs in adult social care today. We believe it is important to bring all of this information together in a single place. The Guide lists more than a hundred resources, spanning the areas of care, health and housing.

The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care can be downloaded instantly as  an eBook at a cost of £3-99 or ordered as a hard copy printed publication.

NB: If you are using a computer you will need the free Adobe Digital programme.  Clicking on the downloaded book should prompt you to install this if you do not have it already.  On a tablet you need to identify the correct app for reading an epub (on an iPad this is iBooks). If you still cannot open the book we advise you to contact the Lulu technical support team

Contact us to find out about the discounts available for bulk orders of the printed publication.

#disabledgradnojob – crowdsourcing ideas through Twitter

I receive many requests for help and advice across a range of diverse areas including: social media, social learning, employment, finding a good care home, the not for profit sector and community engagement. Those who follow me on Twitter @shirleyayres will be aware of my belief that social media networks are important communication channels for an increasingly connected world.

I recently received an email asking the question “How does a person with a disability get an interview or funding for research?” I am not a disability specialist but I use the internet and social media networks daily to find and evaluate information and knowledge sources and prepare reports which have included ‘The future for personalisation? service users, carers & digital engagement’ 

The challenge – an experienced manager and frustrated potential employee with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science and a Masters in Human Resource Development who has not been able to find paid employment since 2002.  A feeling that recruitment agencies are interested in her CV until she mentions that she has a disability. Wondering about the value of supported employment schemes because apparently the  work experience placements and volunteering are not sufficient evidence for employers of her current capacity in a work environment.

I thought it would be worth seeing if ideas could be crowdsourced through Twitter. I am aware of the limitations of Twitter when 140 characters can only provide a brief summary of a question and the issues whilst maintaining confidentiality. I sent out this tweet:  “I’m looking for recruitment agencies which specialise in placing graduates with disabilities” which I followed with “ any thoughts qualified HR disabledgrad w/ lots of work placements but #nojobUnfortunately I did not use a #hashtag initially so I am unable to assess the reach of the tweets (through Tweetreach) but I received over 20 responses with a range of ideas including offers to contact connections and to respond directly to the email request for advice.

I would like to thank everyone who responded and I have now reviewed all of the recommended websites and associated links. My summary of the resources available with links to the websites and Twitter names which may be helpful for people in a similar situation.

EvenBreak @Evenbreak Evenbreak is a new social enterprise which helps  employers attract more disabled applicants and helps disabled job seekers find work with employers who will value them. Evenbreak is run by disabled people, for disabled people and they are keen to promote a positive image of disabled people in employment.  Job seekers can post a CV and browse for jobs, employers can post jobs and browse registered candidates. It was interesting to read about Evenbreak – the story on the blog.

Diversity Jobs claims to attract 20 million searches each month for the vacancies it carries on behalf of organisations keen to be known as inclusive employers of talent, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, disability, age and sexual orientation. Job seekers can post a CV and browse for jobs, employers can post jobs and browse registered candidates

MilkRound  @milkroundonline  whilst Milkround is not specifically aimed at disabled applicants it has been included because it was recommended and provides useful information about graduate careers,  internships, graduate jobs and schemes.. The site is designed to help applicants understand different job areas and industries. It also acts as a guide to student life with offers, information and the latest internships and placements.

EmployAbility @Employ_Ability was recommended by a number of people. EmployAbility is a not-for-profit organisation assisting students and graduates with disabilities, including dyslexia or long term health conditions, into employment. Students and graduates can register for support and advice, there is a list of Disability Inclusive employers and useful FAQs for employers and universities.

Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services @AGCAS kindly retweeted my request for ideas. AGCAS is the professional association for higher education (HE) careers practitioners and those involved in the provision of careers and employability education, information, advice and guidance to current or prospective HE students and graduates.

Some of the charities that run supported employment programmes:

Papworth Trust @Papworth_Trust delivers several government employment programmes, including the Work Programme and Work Choice. They specialise in helping disabled people, those with health conditions or those who are disadvantaged to find and keep jobs. The Employment Helpdesk 0800 952 5000 is available between 10am and 4pm. A jobs page lists employment opportunities at Papworth Trust.

United Response @united response work with people with learning disabilities across England and Wales. They provide supported employment services and a growing number of social enterprises. Many people they support have complex physical needs in addition to their leanring disability. A jobs page lists employment opportunities at United Response.

Remploy @Remployare one of the UK’s leading providers of employment services and employment to people experiencing complex barriers to work. Having spent time with staff at one of the Remploy offices I am impressed by their dedication and determination to support candidates in finding suitable employment opportunities.

Some inspiring disabled entrepreneurs with wisdom and experience to share

Martyn Sibley @martynsibley Martyn is an entrepreneur,  blogger, speaker and  creator of a series of webinars providing information for people living with long term conditions and disabilities He is co-editor of the informative online magazine Disability Horizons a disability lifestyle magazine pioneering a 21st century view of disability

Alison Smith @PeskyPeople  Alison is a Disability Arts consultantt, poet and human rights campaigner  who is harnessing digital and social media to improve access for disabled and deaf people. Developer of @go_genie which is making the inaccessible accessible through crowd-sourced access information.

Denise Stephens @enabledby Enabled by Design is a community of people who are passionate about well-designed, everyday products that challenge the one-size-fits-all approach to assistive equipment. A good example of a website that encourages service users with a disability to share information and thoughts about products and services that are improving the quality of their lives.

Other useful resources

AbilityNet @AbilityNet AbilityNet is a national charity helping disabled adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their technology. The Equality and Human Rights Commission, AbilityNet and BCS have developed the Web Accessibility Essentials e-learning course designed to equip individuals and businesses interested in accessibility best practice with a fundamental understanding of digital inclusion.

VoiceAbility @voiceability_vaVoiceAbility provides advocacy, active voice and voice work services. No specific employment support services but their current vacancies are advertised on the website.

ClearKit @Clearkit The Clear Company audits recruitment policy, process and practice for employers creating better opportunities for people from under represented groups in the work place. The Disability Clearkit was developed in association with the DWP, to address the barriers employers face when recruiting disabled talent by inspiring, educating and empowering organisations to adopt best practice principles when recruiting. Organisations can apply to become Clear Assured which states their commitment to identifying and removing barriers from recruitment policy, process and practice which have the potential to exclude disabled people.

SKILL the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities has now closed  Disability Rights UK are  providing support and information for disabled students and there is a freephone helpline 0800 328 5050

Disability Alliance, the National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL) and Radar have now unified to form ‘Disability Rights UK’ @DAnewsflash

The  Disability Toolkits website, established in 2006, provides information, advice and resources for disabled students, for academics involved in the provision of placements, and for prospective employers offering work experience, internships and placements. There is useful general guidance about managing off campus learning for disabled students. The page with useful links does not seem to have been updated recently and therefore does not reflect the recent closures and amalgamations which have taken place amongst disability organisations. It is probably wise to double check any specific information provided.


There are many innovative ways in which individuals and communities are using social media to find, share and act upon information, knowledge and experience.  There is no shortage of information but limited signposting which makes it hard to find relevant resources. There also seems to be a lack of co-ordination between information providers across boundaries. It is a continuing challenge to find the right information to meet particular and specific circumstances especially in the complex and very broad area of care.  Access to timely and appropriate information, advice and support has been highlighted time and again as a major problem across the care and  health sectors

A Google search for “UK recruitment agencies placing disabled graduate students” offered  23,900,000  results. Using Twitter as an information source provided useful initial signposting to recommended resources which could then be explored further.  I predict a growing demand for trusted intermediaries aware of the role of social innovation and technology, confident in using the internet who are able to provide quality search results within a relevant context.  A logical response perhaps to  “information overload and filter failure” (Clay Shirky).  

I am sure there are many other resources available which are not mentioned in this post. Please feel free to add resources you have found useful, any comments you may have about using any of the services listed or tweet your thoughts using #disabledgradnojob. 

What are your #socialcare information needs?

This post was inspired by @daveneenhan following a recent Guardian article about Bromley’s MyLife approach to choice and control. The new portal aims to provide “a route for self-support in adult social care” This was followed by a Twitter discussion about the value of static online Directories of Social Care services which do not encourage or engage with people who use care services to comment or add to the Directory. In fairness to Bromley they are not alone in providing what is basically an online list of local care services. Most local authorities such as Lewisham My Life My Choice have adopted a similar format.

We would love to know about local authorities who are actively using social media channels to inform and engage their residents aboput social care so please do share good practice. A special mention here for Monmouthshire County Council and Helen Reynolds @HelReynolds who have opened up access to social media channels for all their staff and provide excellent case studies of digital engagement.

‘The future for personalisation? service users, carers & digital engagement’ highlighted the urgent need for people to be signposted to relevant information. Research from the Institute for Public Policy at Oxford Brookes University (2011) and Melanie Henwood Associates (2011) suggests that despite the massive investment by local authorities in providing online social care directories the situation has not changed since 2007.

“Time and again, people described the struggle to obtain information, advice or advocacy to help them in making life-changing decisions”.

There are an increasing number of ‘bottom-up’ and community led initiatives that harness the power of the internet to provide information and resources so why are local authorities not using them?

A few examples which are not included in most local authority Directory of Social Care services websites:

Enabled by Design a community of people who are passionate about well-designed, everyday products that challenge the one-size-fits-all approach to assistive equipment. An excellent example of a website that encourages service users with a disability to share information and thoughts about products and services that are improving the quality of people&’s lives. @enabledby

Netbuddy is for swapping practical tips and information on all aspects of supporting people with learning disabilities. The site includes forums and downloadable information packs @netbuddytoptips

Go Genie Making the inaccessible accessible. Crowd-sourced access information for any place any time any where. @go_genie

Chill4usCarers actively uses social media to raise awareness and support for carers. The Carers’ forum provides information, news and views. Chill4usCarers organises Computers4carers which provides free laptops for carers. It also offers a chat room, open 24 hours a day @Chill4usCarers

The Amazings http://theamazings.org/ help people who are about to retire or have retired create amazing experiences with the skills, knowledge and passion they’ve picked up throughout their life. @theamazingsuk

Martyn Sibley has used his personal experiences to create a series of disability webinars interactive sessions providing information to people living with long-term health conditions and disabilities. @martynsibley

This is only a very small sample of the many new and innovative approaches which are being developed to improve social care services. Can you find this information through your local authority website?

We believe that research which actually asks service users & carers about their information and advice needs is required urgently. This is a very important debate and we would love to hear your views!