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Pilot site activities of niCE-life project nearing completion

The experimentation of a technological ecosystem based on gps tracking technology to support elderly citizens affected by forms of cognitive decline was conceived in the frame of WP T2 "The design and development of technical solutions" and subsequently implemented in the pilot site of Treviso. The technological solution consists of two main elements, a bracelet equipped with several sensors and a monitoring platform able to make information available to formal and informal caregivers. The technological ecosystem has made it possible to support the elderly by acting on two main elements, safety and health. Regarding the safety-related elements, the smart bracelet is characterised by the following functionalities:

  • An emergency button available to the elderly person;

  • the identification of the participant's position in case of need;

  • the automatic detection of any falls;

  • The creation of safety perimeters, beyond which the system automatically generates an alarm.

With regard to the health dimension, the technological ecosystem allows the following elements to be assessed:

  • the quality of sleep;

  • heart rate trends;

  • The physical activity carried out by users.

The objectives that the project team set to achieve through the experimentation are twofold. On the one hand, the experimentation aimed at verifying the effectiveness of the technological solution in supporting elderly citizens suffering from cognitive pathologies, investigating the impact both on the quality of life of the elderly citizen, but also on informal caregivers. Secondly, the piloting sought to understand how this innovative technological solution fits into an integrated care model.

After the development phase of the intervention model and the planning of the piloting activities, the various actions started in the first part of 2021. The first activities were the training of project workers and the search for potential participants through the various channels available to ISRAA. Senior citizens were involved in three different scenarios. The first scenario in which the system was implemented was the Dementia Centre, which supports elderly people and caregivers in their homes. The second implementation scenario was "Borgo Mazzini Smart Cohousing", a series of buildings in which elderly people with a good degree of autonomy but at risk of developing cognitive decline live. Finally, the third implementation scenario was the nursing home "Casa Albergo Salce".

The piloting continued until 30 December, but the activities related to the collection of data and feedback from the participants started in October 2021 and continued until December 2021. Between April and December, in the actual testing phase, the elderly wore the smart bracelets, while the project team supported informal caregivers in monitoring activities and understanding the information generated by the platform. In the final phase of the trial, the same questionnaires administered at the beginning of the trial were collected, i.e. the Quality of Life (EQ-5D-3L) and the Zarit Burden interview, aimed at investigating the impact on the quality of life of the elderly and the burden of the care activities provided by the caregivers.

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