Reducing loneliness Careview

Reducing loneliness with an app and a map: Careview

If you work in health and social care, engage with older residents or newly arrived migrants, this blog post is for you.

“Loneliness is on its way to becoming Britain’s most lethal condition” reported Joe Smith in The Independent last April. He highlights Julianne Holt-Lunstad’s research which states that loneliness significantly increases the risk of premature death.

1 in 20 people always or often feeling lonely (ONS, 2018). Therefore, the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness cut across many aspects of life.

First of all, social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015). Secondly, the cost to public services per person can be up to £12,000 (IoT UK, 2017).

Another aspect is that it can be extremely difficult to find those in need. The risk factors include poverty, reduced mobility, being a carer or belonging to a minority social group. In order to reduce social isolation, prevention and early intervention are key.

What can be done about it? What tools are available for support? Introducing Careview, an award-winning digital platform to tackle social isolation.

But first, how did I get to be involved with Careview?

Reducing social isolation - careview

Meeting the team that helps reduce loneliness

When I first moved to Leeds, in November 2017, I was eager to meet new people. One of those early introductions was to Natalie Nelissen, Research Fellow at mHabitat. mHabitat is a Leeds-based NHS hosted team which supports digital innovation in health and social care.

Natalie and I bonded over our shared love for research and data. Her role at mHabitat is to evaluate mobile health tools and communicate the results. We talked about how we use so many apps daily, but very few are independently evaluated. As soon as we met, I was keen to get Natalie involved with Research Retold as a research communicator.

Beyond work commitments, we promised to keep each other accountable with learning French on Duolingo. Although that didn’t work out so well, we kept in touch and I invited Natalie to our one-year anniversary in November 2018.

Reducing loneliness with an app and a map Mihaela Gruia Natalie Nelissen

On the evening, I showed Natalie a project we’d just finalised on social housing and wellbeing. I also gave her a copy of our newly published Guide to Communicating Research Beyond Academia. The combination of the two gave Natalie some food for thought and sparked an idea…

 

Research Retold and Careview

Fast forward to January 2019, and Natalie introduced me to Jon Hindley and Shaun Cale from Leeds City Council.

Jon is the Advanced Health Improvement Specialist and Shaun is a Health Improvement Practitioner.

Natalie, Jon and Shaun first came into our office holding a copy of our guide, brimming with enthusiasm about Careview. They described Careview as an innovative way of identifying social isolation which enables community and locality-based services to do targeted interventions.

Using Careview, non-health professionals and community members (e.g. postal workers) can help identify the vulnerable members of their community.

The team was beyond excited to tell the world about the app’s impact on reducing loneliness in Leeds. Similarly, they were keen to see how the project could expand beyond Leeds. They just needed the tool to showcase the positive results, something a bit quicker and more appealing than the official 38-page page evaluation report……

So they wanted our help to produce a compelling 2-page visual summary about the project that they could disseminate to stakeholders.

Reducing social isolation - Careview visual summary 1

The process of producing a 2-page visual summary of Careview

Natalie, Jon and Shaun were among the first people that read and implemented insights from our guide. They came to our meeting prepared with the messages they wanted to communicate. They also emphasised how that guide had helped them have clarity and focus.

In our initial research meeting, we completed the Lean Research Canvas. This is a mapping exercise that kicks off our research communication process. This covers insights into the audience, the key messages, ideal outcomes, call to action and more.

This effective exercise brings everyone up to speed about the research. After this meeting, Natalie pulled together the text. After this, I gave with editorial guidance on the text and the language. 

Once the text was 99% final, James, our Leeds-based graphic designer, joined the team. He visually interpreted the text and designed it in line with Careview’s brand. James used Careview’s branding guide and website for inspiration for the visuals.

This was the team’s favourite part because it brought the text to life and gave energy to the page.

The first design was tested on various people and went through several iterations. We refined the text, improved the visuals and polished the overall look and feel.

We printed the document on high-quality, thick matte paper to maximise its impact.

If you want our help to produce a similar 2-page visual summary, get in touch today.

Reducing social isolation - Careview visual summary 2

Communicating Careview’s results in reducing loneliness

On the 11th of February, The Urban Sustainable Lab put on an event on inclusive innovation and tackling social isolation. The event brought together practitioners working in health and social care. The host was Co>Space North, a not-for-profit run by mHabitat. Eddy Adams, from the European Commission on urban development and innovation, moderated the discussion. 

The Careview team shared practical insights from its 12-month trial, such as methods, impact and stories from frontline staff. The aim was to show attendees the potential benefits of technology solutions and give them confidence that they can work.

In addition, the team ran a masterclass on building inclusive approaches to digital innovation. This was especially applicable for organisations that rely on frontline staff from diverse backgrounds.

The speakers for this session were:

– Kate Simmons, Head of Lab, Citizens Advice

– Rich Daley, Software Architect, Fish Percolator

– Giulia Rancati, Head of Strategic Operations, Genius 100 Visions, Inspired by Einstein

We received great feedback on the visual summary on the day. I’m hopeful it will lead to Careview’s growth.

Since the event, Jon has been disseminating the document to key people that can help Careview grow. He has so far been able to secure an important meeting with the Director of Communities and Environment “in no small part thanks to the superb two-page visual summary”.

I’m excited to keep supporting the Careview team and to stay involved with their journey to reduce loneliness in our communities.

Throughout this collaboration, I was most impressed by the team’s passion for Careview. Their energetic, diverse and multicultural team makes this project truly unique and remarkable.

DOWNLOAD THE VISUAL SUMMARY

Reducing loneliness - Careview Jon, Mihaela, Natalie

Reducing loneliness - careview visual summary on the tables

If you are interested in learning more about Careview, reach out to the team at hello@care.vu.  

References:

  1. Holt-Lunstad, J. et al. (2015), Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 10(2) 227–237, Available online at https://www.ahsw.org.uk/userfiles/Research/Perspectives%20on%20Psychological%20Science-2015-Holt-Lunstad-227-37.pdf
  2. Office for National Statistics (2017) Loneliness – What characteristics and circumstances are associated with feeling lonely?, Available online at https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/lonelinesswhatcharacteristicsandcircumstancesareassociatedwithfeelinglonely/2018-04-10
  3. Griffiths, H. (2017) Social Isolation And Loneliness In The UK – With a focus on the use of technology to tackle these conditions, IoT UK, FUTURE CITIES CATAPULT, Available online at https://iotuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Social-Isolation-and-Loneliness-Landscape-UK.pdf

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