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Developing new Smart house Technology to support and assist elderly in private and public spaces at Kampen Residential Care +

Awarded: NOK 1.4 mill.

The thesis title is "Use of Welfare Technology in Elderly Care" Abstract This thesis is an interpretive qualitative research study exploring the use of welfare technology in elderly care. In Norway, health care and social services for elderly people are important parts of the welfare policy. A growing elderly population is putting a strain on the society?s welfare system. Scarce welfare resources restrict human care services for our future generations. Alternative housings and the use of welfare technology are effective techniques that can be used to transform current elderly care into a more sustainable service delivery. This thesis reports from two interpretive case studies and an action research study, which explore upon the use of welfare technology in a care housing and a nursing home. These studies form the basis to answering the thesis's main research questions. The questions are as follows: 1) What are the key constraints and benefits of the use of welfare technology in elderly care? 2) What role could technology play in elderly care? 3) How can the increasing use of technology-supported services be incorporated into the elderly care work? A key constraint of elderly care is the primary focus on formal care services and the lack of attention paid to technology-supported services beyond the use of the personal safety alarm. Moreover, technology-supported care services are often introduced too late thus resulting in a failure to support users in practice. Some users experience difficulties and gaps in the services provided when traversing the care staircase. This is heightened by the vast array of care services and their interaction with the different caring locations, including ordinary homes, care housing and nursing homes. Moreover, the lack of infrastructure and a standard for welfare technology is constraining users who want to prolong independent living. The findings indicate that the key constraints of using welfare technology are more pronounced than its potential benefits. However, we stress that the identified key constraints lie in the importance of knowledge in the processes of transforming elderly care, as the constraints can be solved by expanded use of technology. The role that technology plays in elderly care is diverse, however the most essential role is to support users with safety and security measures. The traditional safety alarm is seen as limited because it requires users to understand how to use it regardless of their cognitive and physical capabilities. We recognise a need for separating welfare technology into the active and passive use of technology. Welfare technologies should be designed with different levels of automation to support unstable user needs and the diversity of users. We recognise elderly care as a collaborative effort including joint work contribution from elderly people (self-care), family and volunteers (informal care), and paid health care providers (formal care). The use of technology can play a role in the division of elderly care work and be an important tool in delegate work responsibility back to the elderly people, with or without backup support from informal and formal care providers. We believe that all of those involved in care work will benefit from the increasing use of technology-support services. Furthermore, we present one approach of how to transform conventional home care practice into a new service delivery with use of welfare technology, such as telecare, to increase independence of the elderly care users and decrease the need for fully supported care. Moreover, we call for a re-design of the current care staircase to overcome the key constraints and to realise the use of welfare technology in order to exploits full potential and reap the resultant benefits. Thus, we propose an elderly care trajectory that includes the joint collaborative care work with assumptions for technology-supported services for the various types of care work.

The contribution of this PhD thesis aims to explore how new Smart house technology may support elderly people living at smart homes at Kampen Residential Care+ to extend the time the elderly could be self-reliant in their private homes. The lack of human resources and beds in nursery homes provides a need for looking at optional possibilities to meet the need for caring of the growing elderly population. Most elderly wish to postpone institutionalization and rather live at home as long as possible. The N orwegian government also has an interest in finding smart solutions to serve the elderly due to the scarcity of health resources. There are a number of research projects and solutions for smart homes that have been developed in prior studies (1-8); howeve r many of these studies have primary explored technological possibilities and currently there are no common agreements as to how the additional smart home package should be designed. In a regular Norwegian home several technologies are included that also support elderly in daily activities like washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwave, electrical controlled chairs and bed etc. In addition the smart homes at Kampen Residential Care+ offer inhabitants a smart house package infrastructure including safet y alarm for elderly, automatic door locker, automatic stove switcher and control system for light and electricity. However, these technologies have also become regular in homes adapted for elderly that are not living in so called smart homes. Therefore, t his thesis is a contribution to explore how new ICT or additional smart home package could support elderly inhabitants needing care and assistance in order stay longer as self-reliant in their homes. The study includes developing prototypes for private an d public interactive information / dissemination screens including participatory design and user studies evaluating the usability of the prototype for redesign to better met the need of the users.

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Thematic Areas and Topics

Portefølje Industri og tjenestenæringerBransjer og næringerIKT-næringenLTP2 Samfunnssikkerhet og samhørighetLTP2 Muliggjørende og industrielle teknologierLTP2 Fagmiljøer og talenterBransjer og næringerBygg, anlegg og eiendomHelseLTP2 Styrket konkurransekraft og innovasjonsevneHelseSamfunnsmedisinsk og annen helsefaglig forskningIKTLTP2 Et kunnskapsintensivt næringsliv i hele landetPortefølje Naturvitenskap og teknologiPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderTjenesterettet FoUAnvendt forskningEnergiIKTIKT - Bruk og anvendelser i andre fagLTP2 Klima, miljø og miljøvennlig energiLTP2 Fornyelse i offentlig sektorEnergiEnergibruk i bygg og områderPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderNæring og handelBransjer og næringerLTP2 IKT og digital transformasjonLTP2 Miljøvennlig energi og lavutslippsløsningerVelferd, arbeidsliv og utdanningPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderVelferdPortefølje Energi, transport og lavutslippInnovasjon i offentlig sektor (utgår 2014)Næringslivets innovasjoner i og for offentlig forvaltning og tjenesteyting (utgår 2014)Velferd, arbeidsliv og utdanningLevekår og befolkningsutviklingPortefølje Muliggjørende teknologierLTP2 Helse, forebygging og behandlingLTP2 Utvikle fagmiljøer av fremragende kvalitetInnovasjon i offentlig sektor (utgår 2014)GrunnforskningPortefølje HelsePortefølje Velferd, kultur og samfunnPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderHelse og omsorgPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderLæring, skole og utdanningLTP2 Utenforskap, inkludering, kulturmøter og migrasjon