In September 2018, the paper “They Don’t Care About Us! Care Personnel’s Perspectives on Ambient Assisted Living Technology Usage: Scenario-Based Survey Study” was published in the “Journal of Medical Internet Research – Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies”. The paper can be accessed at the journal website.

Background

Demographic change represents enormous burdens for the care sectors, resulting in high proportions of (older) people in need of care and a lack of care staff. Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies have the potential to support the bottlenecks in care supply but are not yet in widespread use in professional care contexts. Objective: The objective of our study was to investigate professional caregivers’ AAL technology acceptance and their perception regarding specific technologies, data handling, perceived benefits, and barriers. In particular, this study focuses on the perspectives on AAL technologies differing between care professionals working in diverse care contexts to examine the extent to which the care context influences the acceptance of assistive technologies. Methods: A Web-based survey (N=170) was carried out focusing on professional caregivers including medical, geriatric, and disabled people’s caregivers. Based on a scenario, the participants were asked for their perceptions concerning specific technologies, specific types of gathered data, and potential benefits of and barriers to AAL technology usage.

Results

The care context significantly impacted the evaluations of AAL technologies (F14,220=2.514; P=.002). Professional caregivers of disabled people had a significantly more critical attitude toward AAL technologies than medical and geriatric caregivers, indicated (1) by being the only caregiver group that rejected evaluations of AAL technology acceptance (F2,118=4.570; P=.01) and specific technologies (F2,118=11.727; P<.001) applied for gathering data and (2) by the comparatively lowest agreements referring to the evaluations of data types (F2,118=4.073, P=.02) that are allowed to be gathered.

Conclusions

AAL technology acceptance is critical because of technology implementation reasons, especially in the care of people with disabilities. AAL technologies in care contexts have to be tailored to care professional’s needs and concerns (“care about us”). The results contribute to a broader understanding of professional caregivers’ needs referring to specific data and technology configurations and enclose major differences concerning diverse care contexts. Integrating these findings into user group-tailored technology concepts and communication strategies will support a sustainable adoption of AAL systems in professional care contexts.

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