Cornwall Council is trialling a smartphone app designed to help people with a learning disability, autism or mental health conditions manage their anxiety and live independently.
The Brain in Hand app is a portable support system that allows users to quickly find their best coping strategies, access their diary and receive prompts for things they need to remember.
It also has an in-built anxiety monitor that can be accessed by a team of professionals who get in touch when the user needs extra help in solving problems that they initially can’t fix themselves.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for adults Rob Rotchell said: “Cornwall Council is currently trialling a number of different types of technology that support people in different ways to live independently.
“These trials have shown that the support they offer can change the lives of the people that use them, as well as their family members and carers.
“The way that care and support is delivered in Cornwall has to move with the technology that is now available and whilst the technology does not replace contact with people, it is able to enhance someone’s quality of life and independence.”
Cornwall resident Fran Johnson has been using the app for five months and it has helped her to manage her morning routine, with prompts that remind her of her daily tasks. She said: “I can also pick different faces which help me communicate to people about how I am feeling. It reminds me about appointments, for example, to remind me when I work in the charity shop.”
Ana Ribeiro from Action on Hearing Loss supports Fran on a daily basis. She says: “It’s been great to see the change in Fran. The aim of using the app was to help her be more confident and I have definitely seen her transform, she’s now able to manage her morning routine and we are now working towards her being able to confidently go shopping on her own.”
Rotchell added: “Cornwall Council faces huge challenges to deliver care services with limited and stretched resources as well as responding to people’s changing expectations of public services.
“Technology-enabled care is a key way of developing care services to meet with these expectations and the results of these trials show how much of an impact it can make on people’s lives.”
Nationally, Brain in Hand has so far helped more than 4,000 people to reduce anxiety and improve independence, lowering demand on carers and support services.