HI-TECH RESEARCH FOR THE FUTURE OF HOME CARE
Ancona, September 14, 2015
How an innovative technological platform can improve the quality of life of People With Dementia (PwD) and their caregivers, enable them to live at home independently and to maintain an active social life. These are the main goals of “Home 4 Dem”, a new European project led by the National Institute of Health and Science on Aging (IRCCS-INRCA), that involves partners from four EU Countries, such as ArieLAB Srl and AUTOMA Srl in Italy, i-Home Lab, Ralph Eichenberger Szenografie and DOMO SAFETY in Switzerland, Lund University and Trelleborg Kommunen in Sweden, and Karde AS in Norway. Home 4 Dem has been co-funded by the Active and Assisted Living Joint Program (AAL JP), a research programme promoted by the European Commission, involving the Italian Ministry Of Education, University and Research, the Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche (Switzerland), Vinnova Innovation Agency (Sweden) and the Norwegian Research Council.
Dementia is a major burden for industrialised societies. Studies confirm that the amount of home caregiving received by People with Dementia is much greater compared to formal health care, in the range of six hours per day versus one hour per day. Furthermore, supervision constitutes the largest amount of this care, even in generous Scandinavian welfare systems.
Enabling People with Dementia to live in their homes in spite of difficulties is imperative for both the individual and society. “Older people generally report higher preference for their home over other living arrangements – claims Lorena Rossi, Project Coordinator and Researcher at IRCCS-INRCA (Italian National Research Center on Aging) – Part of the difficulty and stress related to dementia caregiving might be alleviated by employing new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and by developing innovative support services for these patients”.
The first phase of the project is aimed at developing an innovative and modular third generation ICT solution for independent living, by integrating and improving two existing platforms: the UpTech solution, based on a clinical-research study recently conducted in Italy and the Domo Safety solution, a highly market-oriented system from Switzerland. A system of algorithms for behavioural analysis will be implemented, to allow constant interaction between users and the technological platform. Finally, the newly updated platform will be tested under real-life conditions in a 12-month trial, involving 120 PwD-caregiver dyads (240 people in total) in four European countries. In Italy and in Switzerland the solution will be used as a product freely purchasable by families in the private market as a response to their caregiving needs (e.g. safety, control, prevention, etc.). At the same time, the platform will be tested in collaboration with formal care services in Sweden and in Norway. In this case, the professional caregivers will have access to some of the information generated by the ICT solution. This will allow them to better monitor the care provided to the PwD and even react in case of adverse events (e.g. when an emergency alarm is triggered or the system detects reduced food intake by the PwD in the previous week).
The project formally started September 1st, 2015 and will conclude February 28th, 2018 (30 months duration).