Welcome to the latest Carelink Newsletter. With under a year left to go, the Carelink research project, funded under the European AAL programme, has been making good progress towards its goal of developing a smart, adaptive and low-cost solution for positively managing the wandering of people with dementia, enabling them to walk freely while reducing the stress on the caregivers. We continue to focus on user and commercial validation. This newsletter will be used to communicate the latest project news, keep you informed on current developments in Assisted Technologies and provide relevant updates on dementia research. Catch up on Carelink’s participation at conferences and events and find out where we will be showcasing our work in the future. To find out more about Carelink, watch this video
The project review in late 2019 was a good opportunity to take stock. The review was positive and some excellent progress has been made on all fronts, progress which consolidates our belief that Carelink is unique. Some of the most exciting outcomes, including hardware and software updates, are detailed below and in the Carelink blog.
Philosophical Approach and Value Proposition: As the team listened to feedback from carers, dementia subject experts and people with dementia and over the course of our product road-mapping and value proposition discussions, Carelink has shifted its emphasis away from monitoring and tracking individuals ensuring known location at all times towards a more enabling view with an emphasis on optimising quality of life. Safety is still paramount but Carelink has shifted its communications towards what the solution can facilitate rather than the preventative aspects of the technology. This will help address stigmatisation concerns associated with tracking devices.
Project Status Update
From the outset the team were focussed on delivering a solution that had true value to the end users and could therefore achieve business impact. In late 2017/ early 2018 preliminary user group research which engaged with 37 people from target user groups (people with dementia, carers) and 6 subject experts helped guide the user mapping and requirements definition process, ultimately resulting in refined architecture. Simultaneously, the value proposition has been refined from a business perspective. An End-to-end technical demo is scheduled for completion in September, at which point further user validation will take place both from a technical and business value perspectives More information can be found at Carelink-aal.org.
Carelink Research Spotlight
The Carelink team includes expert researchers in the areas of intelligent communications, artificial intelligence, sensor device and networks. We will use the Research Spotlight to highlight some of the key research investigations that underpin the Carelink solution.
Assessment of Risk for People with Alzheimers by Monitoring Hearbeat and Identifying Falls
Fernando Luis Ferreira, Daniel Rodrigues, David Pereira, Joao Sarraipa, Ricardo Goncalves
The Uninova team has worked to develop an app that can detect falls or risk of falls in the elderly. Research has indicated that falls are a big cause of concern in this demographic, resulting in follow on health implications that can seriously impact on quality of life. Uninova has developed the android app which can be leveraged through the increasingly pervasive smartphones, thereby eliminating the need for other equipment purchase. Through the use of sensors on the smartphone such as the accelerometer, risks can be identified and only when a subject does not respond or take remedial action will alerts or notifications be triggered. Fall data including intensity, longitude and latitude are recorded and records enable identification of false positives resulting in better system performance. Heartbeat can also be monitored giving greater context in a given situation. Uninova presented its work in this regard at the 10th International Conference on eHealth in July, 2018.
In The News
Funding The importance of collaboration with people with dementia has received some welcome attention
in recent times. Wendy Mithcell’s blog post articulates the importance of meaningful involvement really well – researchers should not use people with dementia to secure funding or tick a box. A good example of meaningful collaboration is highlighted by Damian Murphy (Director, Innovations in Dementia) in this blog which references Dementia Enquirers, a UK project equipping People with Dementia to lead their own research ideas using their own research agendas. A suitable language and framework will need to evolve in order to facilitate the
collaboration between Research veterans embedded in their specific contexts and People with Dementia.
On the subject of intelligent assistive technologies (IATs), a report published by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in July 2018 highlights the need for more research into the development and development of IATs including the importance of collaboration with PwD and Carers and the need for a robust regulatory framework to ensure quality of research and timely clinical trials.
Ethical considerations referenced by this report include the themes of autonomy, privacy, beneficence, non-maleficence, interdependence and justice. As Carelink develops its smart tracker the team has been conscious of the need to collaborate with and get feedback from their most important stakeholders (people with dementia). Completing this research in an ethical manner is not without its challenges including in the areas of meaningful involvement and informed consent. We cover more on our privacy and permission considerations on the Carelink blog.s
12/13 March – Carelink consortium meeting (Lisboa, Portugal)
15 – 18 April – IEEE 5th World Forum on Internet of Things (Limerick, Ireland)
30 – 31 May – Innovation on Research, Technology and Applications (Lisboa, Portugal)
17 – 19 July – 11th International Conference on e-Health (Porto, Portugal)
23 – 25 September AAL Forum 2019 (Aarhus, Denmark)
Date TBD, – mHealth Conference NUIG (Galway, Ireland)
Access useful resources about Dementia.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland Publications
Genio Publications and Research – https://www.genio.ie/our-impact/research-evidence?programme-area=dementia
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