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

Estefanía Guisado-Fernández*, Guido Giunti, Laura Mackey, Paula Alexandra Silva, Catherine Blake, Brian Caulfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalGerontechnology
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Connected health
  • Dementia
  • Informal caregiver
  • Usability
  • User experience

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