Interview with CuppaCare Founder, Sara Dunn
Founded in 2016, CuppaCare revolutionises training for care providers and care staff, using smartphones to deliver 'Sips' - short interactive learning and guidance - through an app for staff to use on the go. In our short interview with Founder, Sara Dunn, we discuss how the idea for CuppaCare came about, and her dreams for the future.
Tell us a bit about your background?
I started my working life as a publisher in the book trade, when we still had paper manuscripts we marked up by hand! I became a freelance editor and I moved early into 'electronic publishing' as it was then called. I always had an interest in care, with lots of family working in the field, so it felt natural to use my publishing skills to help care organisations in the public and third sectors. That's what I have been doing for the last 20 years.
How did you come to the idea of creating CuppaCare?
I had done quite a few evaluations of information systems and learning systems in the health and social care arena. I also carried out the original national research on care workers' digital skills for the sector skills council, Skills for Care in 2014. I could see that smartphones were going to be the main way to access information, and I could see that care workers needed more 'on the spot' help. So I had been nursing the idea for CuppaCare for a while. When the UfI Trust, a new charity that supports innovation in vocational technology came on the scene, I thought they might be interested in the CuppaCare concept. And luckily they were! We have had really generous support from them ever since.
How do you hope CuppaCare will help those in the care working profession?
Essentially, by providing reliable 'fingertip knowledge'. Care workers are often in situations where there is no one they can easily ask a question of, and CuppaCare aims to help and reassure that situation. I called it Cuppa because I wanted it to feel friendly and refreshing, a quick boost in a tiring day.
How do you see CuppaCare changing the face of training for care providers?
It adds a completely new kind of flexibility because it can be used alongside traditional training methods or as an aid to performance support. In our conversations with managers and staff, they always come up with loads of ways of using the system, for example:
- a member of staff is assigned a new client with Parkinson's Disease. They have never encountered this condition before, so their manager sends a Sip on Parkinson's straight to their phone.
- a spot check reveals that a care assistant is confused about aspects of administering medication. The manager sends them a Sip on Cuppa on how to administer medication, then checks their understanding at the next supervision.
- it's summer, and a team manager wants to remind staff about hydration ahead of a spell of hot weather. They ask staff to review relevant Sip content from Cuppa; later they can show a CQC inspector the record of staff reviewing the content.
- CQC are due; managers allocate all staff our Sip on CQC inspection, ahead of a meeting to discuss what to expect.
Each time we speak to a care manager or employer we get new ideas, that's the beauty of Cuppa really, it can do something for everyone!