www.TechforLTC.org: Bringing Assistive Technologies to LTC

Period of Performance: 02/01/2009 - 01/31/2010

$327K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Ideas, Inc.
Kirtland, OH 44094
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall purpose of this project is to construct a web-based, searchable, updateable informatics database of existing and emerging technologies for individuals with disability who require long-term care, and particularly individuals who live in shared residential settings. Our goal is to support more informed decision-making about purchasing and incorporating assistive technology [AT] into care settings. The prototype version of the website www.TechforLTC.org was created/enhanced during Phase I. The prototype version focuses on seven care issues: wander management, fall management, assistance call systems, incontinence, bathing, transfer devices, medication management. Phase II of the SBIR project will revise and expand the content of the site, then assess the efficacy of the website as a valuable resource for care providers and designers of long-term care settings. Specifically, Phase II will 1) add additional functionality identified as desirable by Phase I participants 2) add additional content in the form of 6 new Care Issues and expanded resource information and 3) conduct efficacy evaluations to determine if the site is useful and helps consumers make more informed assistive technology purchasing decisions. This methodology follows an Iterative design process which seeks to progressively refine the design of website through evaluation from the early to later stages of the design process. www.TechforLTC.org will be evaluated multiple times by over 300 users, comprised of long-term care providers, architects, and manufacturers. The primary goal of this project is helping long-term care providers maximize their efficiency and accuracy in making decisions about the purchase and implementation of new technologies. The variety of pressures on long-term care providers to "do more with less", combined with the lack of any existing resources that are designed to educate long-term care consumers about making informed assistive technology decisions and our intent to make this website both available at no cost to consumers and self-funding for long-term sustainability, make it a worthwhile project. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Nearly all persons in residential long-term care settings have multiple physical and/or cognitive limitations that result in significant disability;thus technologies targeted at residential long-term care can potentially reach large numbers of older people with the greatest needs. Existing resources for assistive technologies overwhelmingly focus on children and adults living in the community. The current and projected shortage of long-term care workers makes the availability of comprehensive, unbiased, easily accessible information about products and devices that improve efficiency and enhance quality of life critically important.