Innovation Takes Center Stage: Lancaster University Launches Revolutionary App for Social Care


Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) is set to host a noteworthy event in celebration of the official launch of a groundbreaking app designed to enhance innovation within the adult social care sector. Developed by researchers involved in the Learning for Adult Social Care Practice Innovation and Skills (LAPIS) project, which is funded by the European Union and led by LUMS, the app aims to tackle the challenges and explore opportunities within the adult social care sector across the United Kingdom and Europe.

The LAPIS app will be unveiled during the much-anticipated ‘CareXchange Symposium’ on Wednesday, 12 July. This event will bring together policymakers, industry professionals, experts, and members of the public interested in the field. The symposium will take place at Lancaster University Management School, commencing at 10.30am and concluding at 3.30pm.

The researchers behind the LAPIS app are hopeful that it will revolutionise the social care sector by providing a valuable platform for practitioners of all levels to access crucial information, practical assistance, and a safe space for sharing knowledge and innovative ideas. Following its launch, the app will be readily available for download from any app store across the United Kingdom and Europe starting 12 July.

In addition to the unveiling of the app, the event promises to foster collaboration among healthcare professionals, researchers, and industry experts through interactive panel discussions, workshops, and debates focused on the much-needed innovations within the adult social care sector.

Dr Carolyn Downs

Dr Carolyn Downs, Principal Investigator of the LAPIS project from Lancaster University Management School, highlighted the lack of innovation within the sector and the need to address this issue. She emphasised the importance of enabling teams to replicate successful innovations and share best practices with the wider sector. Dr Downs stressed that this could significantly improve the experiences of service users and care workers who often face challenges such as being overburdened, lacking resources, and feeling undervalued.

The LAPIS app was meticulously designed based on feedback from workers, with one of its key features being the ability to empower users by quickly providing and exchanging detailed information about innovative social care practices. The researchers envision the app serving as a one-stop shop for workers, offering top tips, case studies, and stories tailored to their specific needs.

Throughout the three-year LAPIS project, the research team conducted a series of workshops and in-depth interviews with senior leaders from the sector across six partner countries. These efforts revealed the sector’s pressing need for improved training and development opportunities, adequate funding to attract and retain skilled social care workers, increased public awareness of social care work and its challenges, the alleviation of workloads and improvement of working conditions to combat burnout, and the support for the development and implementation of innovative approaches to social care work.

In addition to the app’s creation, the LAPIS project brought together academics, policymakers, and representatives from the social care industry to address these issues and important policy matters affecting the care sector. The project’s findings were submitted as evidence to a government inquiry investigating recruitment, retention, and training issues in health and social care last year. They were subsequently incorporated into a report published by the House of Commons.

The project has now released its second set of policy recommendations, shedding light on the immense pressures faced by the social care workforce and proposing effective solutions to tackle the crisis. These recommendations include:

  • The establishment of a national training and development framework to attract and retain talented individuals
  • A comprehensive review of existing training programmes to better align them with the requirements of adult social care roles
  • Increased investment in marketing and advertising campaigns to promote the valuable contributions of the adult social care workforce and encourage individuals to consider careers in the sector
  • The introduction of a professional registration scheme for adult social care workers to ensure adherence to specific standards of professionalism, competence, and ethical conduct
  • The embracement of technological advancements and innovative solutions to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and improve the quality of care.

Dr Carolyn Downs emphasised the rising demand for adult social care services as the population continues to age. The pandemic further underscored the importance of these services and exposed vulnerabilities within the system, necessitating immediate action to safeguard the well-being of the elderly population. Dr Downs stressed the significance of collaborative efforts in addressing the challenges faced by the adult social care system and ensuring a better future for all. She expressed optimism about the LAPIS project’s contributions towards tackling these challenges, with its policy recommendations offering a roadmap for effective reform and the betterment of care provision within society. The upcoming event provides an exceptional opportunity for meaningful dialogue and exploration of innovative solutions to address the industry’s challenges.

© 2024 Adult Social Care