Project Description

Digitally supporting carers

The challenge

Supporting carers is key to empowering people with care needs.

Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility.

Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility.

Kent & Medway STP commissioned the team to respond to the changing health and care needs of a population that is living longer, often with long-term conditions that require paid or unpaid care.

NHS England’s Long Term Plan commits to redesigning care services and increasing the digital options available to people in need of NHS advice or care.

We led a collaborative project team to develop a digital resource, the Help4Carers app.

Our approach

We used mix of design-thinking sessions and focus groups of key stakeholders and caregivers across the region to co-create the app — from content to UX, design and development.

The group included digital, workforce and local care STP workstreams, as well as representatives from Local Authorities and care organisations. Further testing included engagement with user groups organised via carers’ support and care provider networks.

Carers identified that they lack awareness of locally available support. As a result, they carers often find themselves in challenging or stressful situations or may dial 999 and 111 services.

Up to 40% of care home emergency admissions may be avoidable, partly as a result of lack of information and support for carers.

Our solution

The Help4Carers is a free smartphone app for carers and careworkers. It contains nationally relevant content on the fundamentals of care and is accessible whenever needed and wherever the carer is. It is adaptable for local use to include local content and pathway information.

  • Simple and easy to use interface
  • Tailored advice articles and guidance
  • Symptoms assessment tool
  • Local service referral
  • Learning and development resources

The impact

In the long term, the app will support independence and enable more people to make a choice to live in their own home, supported by carers or domiciliary care providers. 100% of care workers said that using the app increased their confidence. We hope this will help reduce turnover in the care sector.

The product has shown itself to have the potential to assist anyone who is in or who may assume a caring role, even if for a short time.

We anticipate a decrease in demand for secondary care services, especially where deterioration is identified and mitigated earlier through referrals to social service or primary health care.

User engagement uncovered the unexpected benefit of self-management: carers living with diabetes and asthma felt the app would help them to manage their condition.


The future

The app is currently part of a NHS Digital Social Care Pathfinder programme; to scale up digital adult social care products and services piloted at a local level, to benefit the whole health and social care sector at scale.






A staff member identified skin damage and used the app as an assessment tool. The app directed her to a GP whom diagnosed the client with cellulitis. Having that direct advice allowed her to act swiftly”

Meritum Integrated Care