Caring for the non-professional
The aim of this project is to provide a tailored experience to support the non-professional carer in accessing relevant, empirically researched information on understanding bi-polar disorder and the importance of self-care, as a carer. It is the hope of the developers that this application be used in conjunction with current psychoeducational methods, which in itself has demonstrated effective additional treatment.
Bi-polar disorder for many years, remained hidden from the public gaze. In recent years, media campaigns, education and a more accepting attitude, toward people with psychiatric disorders, has helped to reduce this stigma. Many mental health services, are now in place, which help the bi-polar sufferer recover. Effective intervention takes time and while the individual is recovering, much of the burden of managing and maintaining the individual’s daily life, falls upon a loved one. They become a non-professional carer. Research indicates, that this person is often ill equipped to cope with this role and may suffer psychological and physical exhaustion as a result. Since the carer plays a vital role in reducing the anxiety and stress of everyday living, they are an essential component in the cycle of recovery. With this in mind, the aim of this application, is to provide material, which may help prevent carer burnout. The application provides access to information, in regards the importance of self-care and management, as well as suggestions as to how they may maintain their own health and well-being. The research provided by this application was sourced from peer reviewed journals, the academic jargon used by the literature was simplified in order to make the research more accessible to the intended users. The application also provides a service locator connected too Google maps, indicating locations of support services that may be of interest to them. Information feedback is tailored on the users indicated needs, selected during registration of the app. Feedback during usability testing showed ease of use and appreciation for the simple and efficient presentation of essential information. It is the hope of the developers that this application becomes an additional psychoeducational tool to help prevent carer burnout. If time had allowed the developers would have added the following features: To change the language of the app. An icon which if taped provides the emergency services with details of their next of kin and informing them that the injured party is a carer for an individual with a psychiatric condition. Finally, the option to share their personal experiences with other carers through an online, monitored, social platform. The developers believe that while the application would require constant updates to stay current on the relevant research as well a dedicated technical team the proposed application would, help to improve the lives of those caring for an individual with bi-polar disorder. Website: nonprofessionalcaring.wordpress.com
Findings in usability testing suggest the app is current, innovative and considerate. Ease of use and tailored feedback has been acknowledged in removing unnecessary and irrelevant overload of information for the user. Similar to the need for online support services, this app provides a necessary support intervention for a carer in need. The app provides a very convenient structure for accessing relevant information, without the prior need for understanding bipolar disorder.