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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(10)2022 05 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1855594

ABSTRACT

Many western societies are confronted with issues in planning and adapting their health policies due to an ageing population living alone. The "NOt Alone at Home-NOAH" project aimed to involve older people in the Agile co-creation of services for a collaborative monitoring and awareness notification for remote caregivers. Our research aim was to create a scalable and modern information system that permitted a non-invasive monitorization of the users for keeping their caregivers up to date. This was done via a cloud IoT (Internet of Things), which collects and processes data from its domotic sensors. The notifications generated by the system, via the three applications we developed (NOAH/NOAH Care/Admin Centre), offer caregivers an easy way of detecting changes in the day-to-day behaviour and activities of their patients, giving them time to intervene in case of abnormal activity. Such an approach would lead to a longer and more independent life for the older people. We evaluated our system by conducting a year-long pilot-study, offering caregivers constant information from the end-users while still living independently. For creating our pilot groups, we used the ABAS (Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System) II, which we then matched with the pre-profiled Behavioral Analysis Models of older people familiar with modern communication devices. Our results showed a low association between daily skills and the sensors we used, in contrast with the results from previous studies done in this field. Another result was efficiently capturing the behaviour changes that took place due to the COVID-19 Lockdown measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Self-Help Devices , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Caregivers , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Pilot Projects
2.
Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol ; 17(3): 268-274, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1665821

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Assistive technology users may encounter challenges and inequality in having an access to health information and care during the emergency or in a crisis time. This issue seems to be understudied in most developing countries. The aim of this study was to explore the challenges faced by Iranian people with disabilities faced during the COVID-19 pandemic as far as the use of assistive technology is concerned. METHOD: A thematic analysis approach was employed to collect and analyse the data. We interviewed 10, 12 and 20 participants with physical, visual, and hearing disability, respectively during the pandemic between May to July 2020. A six-step thematic analysis method was used to identify categories and main themes. RESULTS: The results revealed that people with disability were faced with some challenges in accessing information or receiving it on time during the emergency time. The lack of clear information may increase uncertainty about providing, using or maintaining assistive products. With no clear information or instruction, increased fear of infection, as well as the lack of necessary infrastructure for using available online applications, people with a disability had to rely more on others and seemed to feel disempowered. CONCLUSION: Assistive technology (AT) users may not receive enough care and attention during health crisis, nor may be included in crisis management programs. Actions to create preparedness plans to meet the needs of AT users in possible future crisis seem to be necessary.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONAssistive technology users' voice and needs should be given priority in crisis management programs.Web accessibility barriers and information accessibility challenges need more research attention in order to create effective and timely information dissemination programs.There seems to be a research gap about AT users during health crisis, and more research in this area is needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disabled Persons , Self-Help Devices , Humans , Iran , Pandemics
3.
BMJ Glob Health ; 7(1)2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662312

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: To improve access to assistive products (APs) globally, data must be available to inform evidence-based decision-making, policy development and evaluation, and market-shaping interventions. METHODS: This systematic review was undertaken to identify studies presenting population-based estimates of need and coverage for five APs (hearing aids, limb prostheses, wheelchairs, glasses and personal digital assistants) grouped by four functional domains (hearing, mobility, vision and cognition). RESULTS: Data including 656 AP access indicators were extracted from 207 studies, most of which (n=199, 96%) were cross-sectional, either collecting primary (n=167) or using secondary (n=32) data. There was considerable heterogeneity in assessment approaches used and how AP indicators were reported; over half (n=110) used a combination of clinical and self-reported assessment data. Of 35 studies reporting AP use out of all people with functional difficulty in the corresponding functional domains, the proportions ranged from 4.5% to 47.0% for hearing aids, from 0.9% to 17.6% for mobility devices, and from 0.1% to 86.6% for near and distance glasses. Studies reporting AP need indicators demonstrated >60% unmet need for each of the five APs in most settings. CONCLUSION: Variation in definitions of indicators of AP access have likely led to overestimates/underestimates of need and coverage, particularly, where the relationship between functioning difficulty and the need for an AP is complex. This review demonstrates high unmet need for APs globally, due in part to disparate data across this sector, and emphasises the need to standardise AP data collection and reporting strategies to provide a comparable evidence base to improve access to APs.


Subject(s)
Self-Help Devices , Humans
4.
Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol ; 17(3): 248-259, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585326

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Assistive technology (AT) is an effective tool to promote social connectedness among older adults affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; however, its role in reducing loneliness and health inequities is not well understood. The goal of this scoping review was to construct a model for how technologies may be deployed to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social isolation, loneliness and health inequities for older adults. METHODS: PubMed, SCOPUS and PsychINFO were searched from 2010 to 2020 for the following keywords: "social isolation," "loneliness," "social support," "resilience," "technology," "pandemic" and "health inequit*." Articles selected for full analysis attempted to understand how technology alleviates social isolation and/or loneliness among older adults. RESULTS: Eighteen articles met the criteria for selection and data extraction. Six were review-type studies, seven were observational, three were randomized control trials, one opinion piece and one case study. ATs have been shown to reduce loneliness and social isolation, strengthen social support, and promote resilience among older adults. AT reduces loneliness both directly and indirectly, by affecting social isolation. There is insufficient evidence to determine technology's relationship to health inequities experienced by older adults. CONCLUSIONS: The model we have proposed should help advance research on the relationship between ATs and health inequities among older adults that may be aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We hypothesize that AT interventions for social support and functional competence should be sequenced to reduce health disparities.Implications for rehabilitationThe social distancing and quarantine measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can be linked to adverse health outcomes among older adult populations.Technology is an effective tool to promote social connectedness among older adults affected by the pandemic.Assistive technology (AT) interventions for social support and functional competence should be sequenced in order to have best effects on reducing health disparities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Self-Help Devices , Aged , Humans , Loneliness , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Isolation
5.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(22)2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523964

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic imposed significant challenges to users of assistive technology (AT). Three key issues emerged from a series of structured qualitative interviews with 35 AT users in six low- and middle-income countries. These were (1) access to information about COVID-19 and available supports and policies, (2) insufficiency of the government response to meet the needs of AT users, and (3) the response of civil society which partially offset the gap in government response. AT users noted the need for better communication, improved planning for the delivery and maintenance of AT during times of crisis, and higher-quality standards to ensure the availability of appropriate technology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disabled Persons , Self-Help Devices , Government , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
6.
BMC Geriatr ; 21(1): 643, 2021 11 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518259

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Digital health solutions such as assistive technologies create significant opportunities to optimise the effectiveness of both health and social care delivery. Assistive technologies include 'low-tech' items, such as memory aids and digital calendars or 'high-tech' items, like health tracking devices and wearables. Depending on the type of assistive devices, they can be used to improve quality of life, effect lifestyle improvements and increase levels of independence. Acceptance of technology among patients and carers depends on various factors such as perceived skills and competencies in using the device, expectations, trust and reliability. This service evaluation explored the impact of a pilot service redesign focused on improving health and wellbeing by the use of a voice-activated device 'smart speaker', Alexa Echo Show 8. METHODS: A service evaluation/market research was conducted for a pilot service redesign programme. Data were collected via a survey in person or telephone and from two focus groups of patients (n = 44) and informal carers (n = 7). The age of the study participants ranged from 50 to 90 years. Also, the participants belonged to two types of cohort: one specifically focused on diabetes and the other on a range of long-term health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, dementia, depression and others. RESULTS: The device had a positive impact on the health and social well-being of the users; many direct and indirect benefits were identified. Both patients and carers had positive attitudes towards using the device. Self-reported benefits included: reminders for medications and appointments improved adherence and disease control; increased independence and productivity; and for those living alone, the device helped combat their loneliness and low mood. CONCLUSION: The findings from the study help to realise the potential of assistive technology for empowering supporting health/social care. Especially, the season of COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for remote management of health, the use of assistive technology could have a pivotal role to play with the sustainability of health/social care provision by promoting shared care between the care provider and service user. Further evaluation can explore the key drivers and barriers for implementing assistive technologies, especially in people who are ageing and with long-term health conditions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Self-Help Devices , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Caregivers , Humans , Pandemics , Quality of Life , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2
7.
BMJ Open Respir Res ; 8(1)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518147

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Outcomes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with persistent hypercapnic respiratory failure are improved by long-term home non-invasive ventilation (NIV). Provision of home-NIV presents clinical and service challenges. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcomes of home-NIV in hypercapnic patients with COPD who had been set-up at our centre using remote-monitoring and iVAPS-autoEPAP NIV mode (Lumis device, ResMed). METHODS: Retrospective analysis of a data set of 46 patients with COPD who commenced remote-monitored home-NIV (AirView, ResMed) between February 2017 and January 2018. Events including time to readmission or death at 12 months were compared with a retrospectively identified cohort of 27 patients with hypercapnic COPD who had not been referred for consideration of home-NIV. RESULTS: The median time to readmission or death was significantly prolonged in patients who commenced home-NIV (median 160 days, 95% CI 69.38 to 250.63) versus the comparison cohort (66 days, 95% CI 21.9 to 110.1; p<0.01). Average time to hospital readmission was 221 days (95% CI, 47.77 to 394.23) and 70 days (95% CI, 55.31 to 84.69; p<0.05), respectively. Median decrease in bicarbonate level of 4.9 mmol/L (p<0.0151) and daytime partial pressure of carbon dioxide 2.2 kPa (p<0.032) in home-NIV patients with no required increase in nurse home visits is compatible with effectiveness of this service model. Median reduction of 14 occupied bed days per annum was observed per patient who continued home-NIV throughout the study period (N=32). CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate the feasibility and provide initial utility data for a technology-assisted service model for the provision of home-NIV therapy for patients with COPD.


Subject(s)
Noninvasive Ventilation , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive , Self-Help Devices , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/therapy , Retrospective Studies
8.
Sensors (Basel) ; 21(21)2021 Nov 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512569

ABSTRACT

Spatial orientation and navigation depend primarily on vision. Blind people lack this critical source of information. To facilitate wayfinding and to increase the feeling of safety for these people, the "feelSpace belt" was developed. The belt signals magnetic north as a fixed reference frame via vibrotactile stimulation. This study investigates the effect of the belt on typical orientation and navigation tasks and evaluates the emotional impact. Eleven blind subjects wore the belt daily for seven weeks. Before, during and after the study period, they filled in questionnaires to document their experiences. A small sub-group of the subjects took part in behavioural experiments before and after four weeks of training, i.e., a straight-line walking task to evaluate the belt's effect on keeping a straight heading, an angular rotation task to examine effects on egocentric orientation, and a triangle completion navigation task to test the ability to take shortcuts. The belt reduced subjective discomfort and increased confidence during navigation. Additionally, the participants felt safer wearing the belt in various outdoor situations. Furthermore, the behavioural tasks point towards an intuitive comprehension of the belt. Altogether, the blind participants benefited from the vibrotactile belt as an assistive technology in challenging everyday situations.


Subject(s)
Self-Help Devices , Visually Impaired Persons , Blindness , Humans , Space Perception
9.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488552

ABSTRACT

The SARS COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2019 and has impacted people everywhere. Disparities in impact and outcomes are becoming apparent for individuals and communities which go beyond the trajectory of the disease itself, influenced by the strength and weaknesses of systems of universal health care, and the actions of civil society and government. This article is one of a series exploring COVID-19-related experiences of assistive technology (AT) users across the globe and implications for AT systems strengthening. AT such as mobility products, braille devices, and information communication technologies are key enablers of functioning, necessary to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Reporting on a survey of 73 AT users across six global regions, we demonstrate that minority groups already living with health inequities are unduly impacted. An AT ecosystem analysis was conducted using the WHO GATE 5P framework, that is, people, products, personnel, provision and policy. AT users and families call for inclusive pandemic responses which encompass their needs across the lifespan, from very young to very old. We offer specific recommendations for future action to strengthen access to AT across public policy and civil society in pandemic preparedness and response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disabled Persons , Self-Help Devices , Ecosystem , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(19)2021 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1458223

ABSTRACT

Globally, health systems face challenges in the delivery of assistive technology (AT) and only 10% of people are currently able to access the assistive products they need. The COVID-19 pandemic presented an uncharted path for AT providers to navigate, placing them under pressure to be agile and rapidly adapt. This article, part of a series, explores the experiences and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on AT providers and aims to inform how AT providers can be better prepared and supported in the future. A mixed methods approach was used to gather service data and perspectives from AT providers via a survey. A total of 37 responses were received from 18 countries. Service data showed extensive service disruption throughout 2020. Thematic analysis suggested significant changes to routine AT service delivery including rapid momentum towards home-based, decentralised, and digital services for which many AT providers were not prepared. Providers were required to make difficult decisions and deliver services in new ways to balance meeting demands, complying with government restrictions, and ensuring the safety of staff and clients. Few but important positives were expressed including the belief that expanded capacity to use remote and digital AT service delivery would remain useful in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Self-Help Devices , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
11.
Sensors (Basel) ; 21(14)2021 Jul 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323320

ABSTRACT

In the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of people diagnosed with dementia. With diminishing public health and social care resources, there is substantial need for assistive technology-based devices that support independent living. However, existing devices may not fully meet these needs due to fears and uncertainties about their use, educational support, and finances. Further challenges have been created by COVID-19 and the need for improved safety and security. We have performed a systematic review by exploring several databases describing assistive technologies for dementia and identifying relevant publications for this review. We found there is significant need for appropriate user testing of such devices and have highlighted certifying bodies for this purpose. Given the safety measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this review identifies the benefits and challenges of existing assistive technologies for people living with dementia and their caregivers. It also provides suggestions for future research in these areas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dementia , Self-Help Devices , Caregivers , Dementia/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Int Rev Psychiatry ; 33(4): 404-411, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1015107

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 restrictions affect daily living in Norway, including home-dwelling people with dementia, and researchers conducting clinical trials in dementia care. In this paper, we 1) describe the development of a pandemic cohort (PAN.DEM) incorporated in the LIVE@Home.Path, an ongoing clinical intervention trial on resource utilisation including home-dwelling people with dementia and their caregivers (N = 438 dyads), 2) describe pre-pandemic use of assistive technology and 3) explore the extent to which COVID-19 restrictions increase caregivers interest in innovation in the PAN.DEM cohort (N = 126). Our main finding is that assistive technology is available to 71% pre-pandemic; the vast majority utilise traditional stove guards and safety alarms, only a few operate sensor technology, including GPS, fall detectors or communication aids. In response to COVID-19, 17% show increased interest in technology; being less familiar with operating a telephone and having higher cognitive functioning are both associated with increased interest. We conclude that wearable and sensor technology has not yet been fully implemented among people with dementia in Norway, and few caregivers show increased interest under the restrictions. Clinicaltrials.gov (NCT0404336).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Caregivers/psychology , Dementia/epidemiology , Health Resources , Independent Living , Self-Help Devices , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Humans , Male , Norway/epidemiology , Self-Help Devices/supply & distribution , Self-Help Devices/trends
15.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 121: 108197, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939097

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Covid-19 confers substantial risk for the >400,000 patients who receive methadone for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) and methods for safely dispensing large quantities of methadone to patients are lacking. METHODS: This study evaluated the MedMinder "Jon", an electronic and cellular-enabled pillbox that provides real-time monitoring to remotely manage take-home doses of methadone using a 12-week, within-subject, Phase II (NCT03254043) trial. We transitioned all participants from liquid to tablet methadone one week prior to randomization. Participants completed both treatment-as-usual and electronic pillbox conditions before choosing a condition in a final "choice phase". We assessed feasibility, satisfaction, and safety outcomes during the exit interview. RESULTS: Overall, we randomized 25 participants, 24 (96.0%) completed >1 study session, and 21 (84.0%) completed the exit interview. We dispensed 167.92 g (1,974 doses) of methadone. Participants would use the pillbox again (86.3%) and recommend it to others (95.4%). Overall, 52.4% selected the pillbox in the choice condition and those who did not cited issues related to study requirements. Less than 1% of pillbox alerts were for medication being consumed outside the dosing window and we observed no evidence of actual or attempted methadone diversion. DISCUSSION: We were able to adequately manage patients who would not otherwise qualify for large quantities of take-home methadone when we dispensed methadone tablets via a secure pillbox. The integration of a commercially available pillbox into routine clinic operations increases opportunity for dispensing medication. Our data support remote monitoring of methadone take-home doses and may inform clinic practices related to Covid-19.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Methadone/therapeutic use , Opioid-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , Self-Help Devices , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Medication Adherence , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Surveys and Questionnaires
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