CareSensus: Care with sense for real elders.

This project tackled the challenging field of elderly care by informal caregivers. The overall project goal was to evaluate an existing prototype-system to refine the existing design proposal in order to better support elderly caregiving. This 9 month project was carried in Philips Research Eindhoven.

The core of the project was the evaluation of a system for monitoring senior’s lifestyle by means of room occupancy at home. This was done by field trials with seniors and their children. Furthermore, a context-mapping research was carried out with caregiving children, nurses and care planners, to gain insights and understanding of the elderly care context. The knowledge gathered resulted in an improved framework definition for the project, and a redesign proposal for the system. Given the very fragmented, dynamic and delicate context, any appropriate solution would have to be efficient, integrating, humane, connecting and insightful.
The context research consisted on interviews, cultural probes and card-sorting exercises with informal, and professional caregivers. Real stories, bottlenecks and problems were identified, such as cumbersome senior’s information management, lack of insight into the senior’s lifestyle changes by professionals, and care-need/care-delivered crisis. Context knowledge was translated into infographics and target personas for elderly, informal caregiver and professional caregiver. Evaluation of those in sessions with professional caregivers was positive.
The field trial performed consisted on the installation of senior monitoring systems in the apartment of four seniors of varied fragility level, and age. The systems were used by the seniors (monitored) and their children (receiving the information through a website). In a later stage the system was also accessible to the caregivers of the care-complex. Qualitative feedback and quantitative measurements revealed a global appreciation of the system, yet a big room for improvement in aspects such as use-case definition, information accuracy, technology robustness, and system interactivity.
Based on the knowledge gathered, guidelines were drawn and a system redesign proposal was made. This redesign was based on lifestyle monitoring through different vertical layers, and an ecosystem of interfaces for the different agents of care (formal and informal caregivers) and use cases. Preliminary evaluation with real users using mockups and wireframes was very positive.

This screen shows the final UI design proposition for informal caregivers. It shows the use of the home space along the days, and activity level. 

This screen is the landing page where informal caregivers (children) could get a quick update on events, pattern changes, and potential issues.

This diagram shows the basic flow between the different mobile screens. Information is kept to a minimum for providing a simple and quick way of getting updated.

This diagram shows the use different agents of care could do of the different CareSensus interfaces.

This is the future vision for a care platform around CareSensus. This platform would provide appropriate and actionable information customized to the needs of each agent care.

A set of personas was created for this project based on the insights of the field trials and the context studies. Elder personas were coupled with Child personas and Nurse personas.

During the context studies, participants were interviewed, and they carried out card sorting exercises and filled in a diary for a week.

The diary studies consisted on a booklet with simple tasks, and a set of inspiring postcards in which to write down care-related stories.