EFORTT: Ethical Frameworks for Telecare Technologies for Older People at Home (completed)
This research examines the ethical, social and gender implications of technological interventions for older citizens in 'preventive' and 'responsive' telecare. These interventions are occurring, in some instances, in a sociological, ethical and democratic vacuum. Debate about the possible far-reaching consequences of these developments, for both individual patients and for the health care systems in European space is all but absent. To create the conditions for such a debate, it is imperative to carry out empirical and deliberative studies examining both the everyday and more futuristic forms of development.
Developments in telecare (the provision of health and social care at a distance) are rapidly evolving. Information and communication technology (ICT)-based care technologies include real-time audio and visual contacts between patients and caregivers; embedded technologies such as smart homes, clothes and furniture to monitor patients inside and even outside their homes; electronic tagging of dementia patients and more biotechnological innovations, such as implants and devices for chronic disease monitoring.These technologies cover a wide range of innovations, from those already functioning to those that are prospective and theoretical
The project teams will observe telecare systems being introduced into people's homes, and conduct interviews with users, carers and practitioners. There will be initial group discussions of aspirations for home care and new care technologies with a series of citizens panels of older people and carers, followed by subsequent citizen panels to consider the emerging findings from the study. Each of the European partners will convene a local advisory group which will guide the research. These groups will include representatives of older peoples organisations; health and social care providers and practitioners, industry, researchers. The project will culminate in an international participative conference in Barcelona in 2011
Jan 2010: The project has conducted ethnographic research using observations, interviews and citizens panels in all four countries. Participants include technology developers/manufacturers; providers and installers of telecare devices in domestic settings; professionals and volunteers working with telecare users; telecare users and their families; retired people who may be considering future options for their own independence or care
Project consortium includes: Diakonhjemmet University College (Norway); University of Amsterdam (Netherlands); Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain). All four partners have a Local Advisory Group which meets at six monthly intervals. These groups consist of academic and non-academic colleagues with an interest in the areas of care technologies, their development and practice. UK partner is working with Age Concern, Lancashire County Council, Chubb, and Just Checking.
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