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AAL-Active and Assisted Living Research and Development Programme

A Feasibility Study on Using Ambient Assisted Living Technology to Support Toothbrushing Adherence in Elderly in the Homecare Setting

Alternative title: Bruk av elektronisk tannbørste med digital oppfølging

Awarded: NOK 0.20 mill.

The project's goal has been to gain knowledge about the use of electronic toothbrushes with digital follow-up can be a useful tool in the dental health services for patients who receive home services. A limited number of toothbrushes (10) have been tested over a 1-month period on users in Sogndal municipality, and who have sensors for registering use. The pandemic has made it impossible to deploy toothbrushes to more users at the timeThe registrations are transferred to an app, and can be read by users themselves, relatives or healthcare professionals, depending on who has been granted access. In the focus group interviews with dental health and health personnel, it has been clarified that a direct connection to other sensors for, for example, presence, has not been appropriate. A connection to the camera may be appropriate in some cases. The use of toothbrushes has been well received by users, relatives and health professionals. In further research, it will be interesting to look at whether the use of toothbrushes with such sensors can contribute to better dental health, and thereby better public health for vulnerable groups such as patients who receive home nursing care. Implementation of equipment, follow-up and data handling should be coordinated with, and follow other developments in e-health and welfare technology.

Det har i prosjektet vært vurdert å knytte opp bruk/registeringer av tannbørstene til annen sensorteknologi som er utplassert i de enkelte hjem, f.eks påminnelser, lokaliseringstekonologi. Det er ikke vurdert til å være hensiktsmessig - det blir kompliserende, og vil ikke ha noen hensikt. Brukere av hjemmetjenestene har oppfølging på andre måter som ikke direkte innvirker på registeringer av tannbørstene. Evt tilknytning til kamera kan være en god ide med tanke på samhandling og digital hjemmeoppfølging via video.

Poor oral health due to low-quality toothbrushing efforts is widespread in elderly citizens, leading to an increased occurrence of pneumonia and other serious conditions and diseases. High-quality oral hygiene has been shown to: a) save 1 in 10 deaths caused by pneumonia infections in the elderly population, b) increase quality of life of the cognitively impaired elderly and their relatives and caregivers, c) present a positive business case for private and public healthcare providers, and d) present a new business opportunity for the healthcare industry, if found safe and feasible in use. The two ORASTAR industry consortium members MEDICA and ZITEC have previously successfully collaborated on developing an oral-care monitoring product for the nursing-home sector called CARIOT BRUSH, which is currently being evaluated at several care organizations in Denmark and Norway. However, our collaborating end-user organizations find that oral-care challenges are much more widespread in the homecare sector compared to care institutions. In the homecare sector, a gradual decline in the ability to provide proper oral self-care is often not detected by caregivers in due time, which could lead to several diseases, reduced quality of life of the elderly and their relatives, and high costs associated with hospitalization and rehabilitation. In addition, accurate toothbrushing status information could arguably also support identifying those citizens who can still handle the daily brushing tasks themselves, and who are therefore not in need of assistance. This could likely help avoid unnecessary care contacts and thus minimize the risk of spreading infectious diseases, as well as save caregiver resources. The ORASTAR project is planned as a short collaborative feasibility study aiming at creating a shared agenda between business and end-user partners for investigating the potential of extending the existing CARIOT BRUSH product for use in the homecare sector.

Funding scheme:

AAL-Active and Assisted Living Research and Development Programme