A new design for the support of collaborative care work in nursing homes

PhD candidate Francesco Ceschel

October 9, 2018
Versione stampabile

Time: h 11:00 am
Location: Room Ofek, Polo Ferrari 1 - Via Sommarive 5, Povo (TN)  

PhD Candidate

  • Francesco Ceschel

Abstract of Dissertation

Nursing homes are complex healthcare settings that take care of older adults with sever cognitive and physical impairments. Given the conditions of the patients, nursing homes can be considered end-of-life contexts. There, the care work that aim to mitigate and treat the conditions of the patients it is the result of the collaboration between the care professionals and the relatives of the patients. Indeed, when the patients are very old adults in a end-of-life situation, the provision of care often involves a family caregiver as the main point of contact for the healthcare service. However, caring for institutionalized older adults is known to be a complex issue both for the families of the older adults and the care professionals. Over the last few years, there has been an increasing interest in this topic primarily due to a growing older population and, hence, a heightened need of research contributions in this area. Previous studies on caregiving for older adults living in nursing homes recognize the necessity to support professionals’ work practices to ameliorate their working conditions, and decrease the risk of burnout and job dissatisfaction, as well as to relieve the families of the patients from the burden of caring for their loved ones. Yet, the literature shows a lack of solutions in terms of technologies for this kind of environments.

In this thesis we report an extensive study and analysis we performed within a network of six and nursing homes located in the northern Italy. We investigated the practice of caregiving within the nursing homes.
In particular, we focused on the work practices of care professionals, and on the relational issues between the care professionals and the families of the patients. We conducted, first, an exploratory study to comprehend the nature of our research context. Afterwards, we carried out a series of participatory design sessions and validation workshops to elicit the requirements for the development of a new technology platform to support the collaboration between care professionals and relatives of older patients.

The outcomes of this work shed new light on the opportunities of using ICT solutions to improve relations and information sharing among caregivers. Indeed, our findings state that the organizational and relational complexity of nursing homes emphasize how poor communication practices hinder the collaboration and the mutual understanding between the relatives of the patients and the care professional. As a result, we deliver a series of functional requirements for the development of a technology platform that aims to support relationships, communication, and coordination among care professionals, and between care professionals and families of the patients.