The Social Web, a Community Technology for Healthy Aging

  • Lead Applicant: Dr Rodney Reynolds (UCL Institute for Global Health)
  • Main Collaborator: Dylan Kneale (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering, International Longevity Centre)
  • Additional Collaborators:

TrueBlue Health Consultancy (Vince Ion & Bob Fryer)

The Royal Society for Public Health (Richard Parrish)

Background:

Building on the findings of a recently completed and successful EU funded grant, Webwise (10/2010 - 9/2012), which was held by Dr Reynolds with consortium partners from Europe (including TrueBlue Consultancy), this small grant proposal seeks to demonstrate the value of social web technologies in healthy aging. Webwise identified barriers to public health education and training and how those could be overcome using social web technologies.

UCL students involved in the Webwise research provided evidence that university and community based organisations (CBOs) could collaborate successfully to develop online/offline interventions that promote improved health in vulnerable populations. With this current small grant proposal, we seek to apply the students' insight to problems of aging. In particular we are interested in targeting multi-sectoral organisations that work with and care for people suffering from dementia.

Proposal:

With our partner organisations we propose to run a workshop for multi-sectoral CBOs. These will focus on providing health services to people with dementia and their families and carers. The purpose of the workshop is to demonstrate how social media can be used effectively within organisations and between organisations and their clients. We seek to address three common problems in healthy aging: social isolation, care monitoring and training/education of staff and family/community carers.

How:

The workshop is the major intended outcome of our proposed collaboration. It will be the culmination of a period of desk research and face-to-face inquiry over the next eight months. The desk research is intended to extend the already extant literature review performed in the context of Webwise and to update it with newly published material. It will also focus identified literature around the target areas of social isolation, care monitoring and training/education. The face-to-face inquiry will identify organisational and interpersonal priorities of relevant stakeholders. The content of the workshop will be based on the findings of these activities combined with techniques for overcoming barriers to social media use identified by Webwise. Attendees to the workshop will include leading policy-makers and practitioners from organisations with remits including health care delivery, older people, carers and dementia, including representatives from central and local government and the voluntary sector. The workshop will include a presentation of the potential of Webwise research findings to an influential audience, as well as a discussion of ways implementing the research recommendations to change current practice.

Rodney Reynolds (UCL, Institute for Global Health) will be lead on the desk research activities and advise the face-to-face inquiry; TrueBlue (Vince Ion and Bob Fryer) will lead on implementing the face-to-face inquiry with other business partners (including Richard Parrish, The Royal Society for Public Health); Dylan Kneale (UCL: Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering /International Longevity Centre) will lead on organising the workshop in conjunction with the other project partners.

Timeframe:

The project will be realised between August 2013 and July 2014. Principle information gathering will take place through the winter of 2014. The workshop will occur in the Spring of 2014. Evaluation of the workshop will be undertaken by the partner organisations in early Summer 2014.

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