W. Dewing, S. Metz, W. Winchester. "Does Home-Care Automation for Elders Change the Caregiver Experience?" Gerontechnology 2002; 2(1): 111.
The promise of automated home-care systems includes improved caregiver effectiveness, caregiver satisfaction, and quality of elder care, along with reduced caregiver burden and lessened incidence of caregiver "burnout". However, such systems could be linked to less meaningful interactions with elders resulting in increased elder isolation and depression. These are key factors for evaluation during a long-term field test of an automated home-care system we call the Independent LifeStyle Assistant TM (I.L.S.A.). I.L.S.A. monitors the daily activities of elders through a variety of sensors to identify functional decline as an indicator of imminent health concerns. Caregivers can use WWW/Internet, telephone, and email technologies to check the status of their elders at any time, while the system can self-generate alerts via telephone and email with important elder status updates. By alerting caregivers to potential health concerns, I.L.S.A. hopes to prolong elder independence at home and improve the caregiver experience. Our initial field tests of I.L.S.A. systems will monitor 10- 20 homes of elders living in a community setting and are scheduled for May 2002 through March 2003. During this time we will measure system use, caregiving time, activities, burden, and satisfaction, and perceptions of system effectiveness. Analyses will be based on both quantitative data (e.g., system logs, job satisfaction and burden scales) and qualitative data (e.g., interviews and weekly user logs). These results will help anticipate the potential for monitoring technologies to bring dramatic changes to both caregiver effectiveness and the emotional experience of caregiving.