The project has received funding from the ESRC- Impact Acceleration Account:

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/staff/research/rqi/rqi_information_and_support/rqi_impact_funding/if-esrciaa

THE PROJECT TEAM

Prof. Maziar Nekovee, Director of Centre for Advanced Communications, Mobile Technology and IoT, School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex.

Dr Henglien Lisa Chen, Deputy-Director of The Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research,  School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex.

Dr Naji Tabet, Director of Centre for Dementia Studies, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex.

Dr. Dimitra Petrakaki, Head of Mid and Early Career Researcher Development, Digital Futures at Work Research Centre, The University of Sussex Business School.

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

Nila Sholl (School of Education and Social Work)

Pascal Zanker (School of Engineering and Informatics)

Connected Care aims to address three main challenges that care homes for people living with dementia currently face.

First, care homes are increasingly challenged by a rising number of people living with dementia and a simultaneous demand to improve quality of care amidst limited funding and staff shortages.

Second, although innovation is associated with better quality of care, there is limited research looking into the ways in which digital technology, including Internet of Things and sensors, could help care homes deliver better care for people with dementia.

Third, scholarly research has highlighted that top-down implementations of technology fail to deliver their potential benefits when there is limited user buy-in. In the context of care homes, care workers, residents and their families are often under-represented in technological developments.

Our inter-disciplinary project aims to address the above challenges by:

a) exploring together with care home staff, families/carers and people living with dementia what their collective needs and expectations are and

b) translating these demands, in collaboration with designers, into products that will be meaningful for users.

The project uses qualitative methods to enrich its understanding about the current challenges and needs of care home staff and people with dementia and their families. It also uses participatory approaches where all stakeholders meet in workshops to discuss their overlapping needs whilst shaping the questions and approach of our research.

The project aims to address the following questions:

      • What are the challenges that care homes face specifically in relation to the delivery of care to people living with dementia?
      • How can digital technology (such as censors, AI, IoT and 5G) be developed and used to improve the work of care home staff and the delivery of dementia care?

Through engagement with care home managers and staff, families, local health and social care authorities and industrial partners we aim to develop methodological expertise concerning the co-design of health research in social sciences; contribute to the literature on care work by reinvigorating the debate as to how technology and care work play out; and offer evidence-based recommendations to all involved stakeholders as to how to (co)-create, integrate and demonstrate novel digital service enabling intelligent and connected care homes.

The project engages with care homes and care home staff based in Brighton and Hove and Sussex; families/carers of people with dementia; technology providers and local health and social care authorities.

We envisage our research will have an impact on the following stakeholders:

    • care homes and care home staff: development of digital solutions that support the work of care home staff by offering information in a timely fashion whilst automating more routine tasks that free up time for staff to care for residents.
    • family/carers: digital solutions that will be affordable and user-friendly for the day to day communication and interaction between residents in care homes and family members.
    • Health and social care authorities: cost effective solutions that will improve the delivery of dementia care and offer opportunities for more personalised care.