University of Oulu

Guisado-Fernández, E., Giunti, G., Mackey, L., Silva, P. A., Blake, C., & Caulfield, B. (2019). Informal caregivers’ attitudes and compliance towards a connected health platform for home care support: Insights from a long-term exposure. Gerontechnology, 18(4), 231–242.

Informal caregivers’ attitudes and compliance towards a connected health platform for home care support : insights from a long-term exposure

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Author: Guisado-Fernández, Estefanía1; Giunti, Guido2; Mackey, Laura3;
Organizations: 1Insight Centre for Data Analytics, 3rd floor O’Brien Science Building East, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
2M3S Research Unit, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
4Department of Computer Science, Center for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra (CISUC), University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: International Society for Gerontechnology, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-04-22


Background: When designing Connected Health (CH) solutions for home care, it is vital to focus on usability and user experience to ensure that technologies are easy to use and meet users’ expectations and needs. Generally, the usability and user experience tests are conducted during short-term exposure, which does not allow a true understanding of how the technology can help with the home caring tasks.

Research aim: We aim to investigate informal caregivers’ feedback on the utility and usability of a CH monitoring platform for People with Dementia (PwD) during a period of extended use in the natural living context, and to understand how this was related to compliance patterns.

Methods: Informal caregiver’s feedback about the CH platform, usability, and the impact of short-term versus long-term exposure were investigated through semi-structured individual interviews at the beginning and end of a 6-month deployment in the home care setting. Informal caregivers’ compliance with the CH platform was analysed from their daily platform utilization during the deployment time.

Results: 11 informal caregivers agreed to participate. There was a change in the participants’ opinions about the CH platform between the short-term and the long-term exposure feedback. Their initial impressions about what the CH platform could offer them to improve their delivery of home care for the PwD did not correspond with what they found that the CH platform could provide them following the long-term exposure. If at the beginning they saw the CH platform as a helpful tool to facilitate home care delivery and to improve their self-efficacy, after the deployment they expressed that because of the way the platform was designed it was mainly conceived for dementia research benefit and not to fulfill their caring needs. Compliance with the CH platform was quite low and similar between all participants.

Conclusions: Most contemporary CH studies are not conducted in real-life settings and without enough duration in time. Consequently, this is not providing accurate insights into the factual informal caregivers’ interaction with these technologies and their suitability for their caring needs and support. With this study, we have recognized the importance of studying how informal caregivers’ are engaging with CH for home care in their own environments and for enough duration of time. We have also highlighted that, despite the fact of applying UCD, the result may not always be satisfactory for the user. For these reasons, more longitudinal research on PwD and their informal caregivers, CH technologies adoption need to be conducted.

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Series: Gerontechnology
ISSN: 1569-1101
ISSN-E: 1569-111X
ISSN-L: 1569-1101
Volume: 18
Issue: 4
Pages: 231 - 242
DOI: 10.4017/gt.2019.
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
3111 Biomedicine
217 Medical engineering
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
318 Medical biotechnology
Funding: The authors EG-F and GG gratefully acknowledge a grant (#676201) for the Connected Health Early-Stage Researcher Support System (CHESS ITN) from the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Commission. The author LMM gratefully acknowledges a grant (DEM-2015-1464) from the Health Research Board Ireland (HRB). The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
EU Grant Number: (676201) CHESS - Connected Health Early Stage Researcher Support System
Copyright information: © International Society for Gerontechnology 2019. Published here with The Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) by Creative Commons license.