Care Direct freephone 0800 444 000 Care Direct is a new freephone service, also available online, for the benefit of older people, their carers and relatives.
Described as a project and designed by the Department of Health (DoH) and some local councils, it aims to help users get information from the organisations that provide social care, health, housing and social security benefits.
The site comes at a time when free nursing care has been made available to elderly residents in nursing homes and they may want to ask questions about their long-term care.
The site was devised after consultations with charities, housing organisations, social services and nursing organisations, among others listed in the ‘About’ section.
The website is available to all and you can access it by browsing the DoH site and clicking on the ‘What’s new’ section.
Care Direct is a project consisting of pilot studies across the UK because only a handful of local councils have been involved initially.
The site invites you to click on ‘your area’, where you will find information about your local council. But the information given is just a local directory in another format because it gives you telephone numbers of social services.
The service is to be available right across England in the next four years but is currently being piloted in Somerset, with plans to reach Bournemouth, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Devon before the end of the year.
One pilot study area is Plymouth. When you click on the council we are told that the project “operates out of a city centre site that will deal with telephone calls, personal visits and outreach work”. The page provides a map, the address and some contact names of the helpdesk.
A large-text version is available but it doesn’t seem quite large enough and we wonder whether a myopic elderly browser would need to squint and strain to see it. Still, the designer has come up with a praiseworthy idea with the target audience in mind.
The ‘Useful links’ section gives an A to Z of national and social healthcare organisations. In some cases it provides an address, and in all cases a website link.
There is information about a range of organisations. One we did not know existed was Action on Elder Abuse, but it provides emotional support in English, Welsh, Urdu and other languages for those concerned about such issues.
By clicking on the ‘News’ section on the homepage, you will see quotations from ministers about the Care Direct initiative, not surprisingly all positive.