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Testing future welfare technology solutions

04-01-2016 News UK

Three municipal projects to test welfare technology solutions have been selected to receive between 1.0 and 1.5 million Danish Kroner (EUR 134,000-202,000) in grants for project management and evaluation. Solid evaluations of such projects are to help municipalities and regions learn from each other and will create a strong foundation for the dissemination of welfare technology.

Welfare Technology solutions make people more self-reliant and free up time for employees in the public sector. The joint government Strategy for Digital Welfare is to ensure that innovative and effective solutions are used as a matter of course in the provision of core welfare in municipalities and regions. The project grants awarded within the framework of the Strategy support these goals by financially contributing to the testing of welfare technology.

It can be a big decision for municipalities and regions to invest in welfare technology. To help overcome this barrier, the Strategy for Digital Welfare includes an initiative that aims to bring about evaluations of welfare technology solutions in order provide local and regional with solid knowledge about possible uses of welfare technology. This gives municipalities and regions a better basis for assessing the potential benefits of investing in welfare technology. The evaluations cover both the financial and quality benefits as well as citizens' and employees' assessments of the technology. Before any decision is made regarding nationwide roll-out of the individual solutions a national business case is required.

Following an open application process, the parties behind the Strategy for Digital Welfare have selected three projects that receive grants for project management and evaluation. The three projects are:
  • Evaluation of digitally supported work on early detection has been awarded a grant of DKK 1,065 million (EUR 143,000).
  • The project on use of patient-turning systems for the prevention of pressure ulcers and work injuries has been awarded a grant DKK 1.5 million (EUR 202,000).
  • Live-at-home longer and together, test and evaluation of an intelligent sensor-based alarm system for home has been awarded a grant of DKK 1.5 million (EUR 202,000).
Evaluation of digitally supported work on early detection
The project will test and evaluate a digital solution that supports efforts to detect signs of the disease among elderly medical patients already receiving municipality-provided home care. These citizens are at risk of having to be hospitalised if their signs of weakness or disease are not discovered in time.

Early detection is carried out using a change registration form that the care provider uses in everyday life. The purpose of registration is to ensure that changes in the citizen's condition are detected early and tracked systematically. Based on these observations, the care provider can take targeted action to prevent unnecessary admissions and readmissions to hospital. The digital solution, which will replace paper forms, is an app on the care provider's smartphone or tablet where information can be entered digitally. This ensures easy and accurate registration of relevant information which can be simultaneously disseminated to nurses and other professionals.

The evaluation of digitally supported work on early detection is led by Aalborg Municipality with the participation of the municipalities of Gentofte, Silkeborg, Greve, and Slagelse.

Patient-turning systems for the prevention of pressure ulcers and work injuries
The project on the use of patient-turning systems for the prevention of pressure ulcers and work injuries aims to bring about documentation on possible effects of municipal care workers' use of patient-turning systems. A patient-turning system is an electrically operated turning bedsheet that makes it easy and convenient to turn over a bedridden citizens who need to be moved often.

Using turning systems it is possible to reduce the number of care workers needed to move a bedridden citizen. At the same time, turning systems help prevent work injuries in the care workers as well as pressure ulcers in the citizens. The technology is already in operation on the involved care centres, but there is no solid evidence on the financial and qualitative effects of the implementation.

The evaluation of the use of patient-turning systems is carried out in cooperation between four participating municipalities with Aabenraa Municipality as a project manager. The other municipalities are Copenhagen, Ishøj, and Viborg.

Live-at-home longer and together - test and evaluation of an intelligent sensor-based alarm system
The project "Live-at-home longer and together" will explore whether a sensor-based intelligent alarm system can help relieve spouses who live at home with their dementia-afflicted partner, or other next-of-kin to dementia patients.

The cohabitant to a citizen who suffers from dementia is under severe pressure as they often have to handle daily care and practical tasks as well as be present day and night for the person afflicted with dementia. The sensor-based alarm system consists of various sensors that can monitor critical areas of the home, such as stove, bed, bath and exit, and alert the spouse of inadvertent actions. The alarm system also contains a camera solution that enables the spouse to take a look into the home, for instance to check if the person with dementia is still sleeping.

The project will examine whether the system's assistance to the spouse means that the spouse retains the energy and ability to care for the person with dementia for longer, thereby postponing the need to move the person with dementia into a nursing home. In addition, the project aims to determine whether the number of necessary scheduled contact hours is reduced when a sensor-based alarm system is in place.

The project is organised by the City of Aarhus in the role of project manager with the participation of Hedensted, Silkeborg, Viborg, and Syddjurs municipalities.

Read more about Strategy for Digital Welfare.