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Telemed J E Health. 2008 Apr;14(3):224-34. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2007.0046.

Real world implementation lessons and outcomes from the Worker Interactive Networking (WIN) project: workplace-based online caregiver support and remote monitoring of elders at home.

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  • 1Gerontechnology R&D and the Graduate Program in Nursing, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Rm. 419, 36 1st Avenue, Boston, MA 02129, USA. dmahoney@mghihp.edu

Abstract

The objective of this research was to determine the feasibility of and receptivity to the first computerized workplace-based direct caregiver intervention and to assess the effects on businesses, working family caregivers, and their elderly relatives. Working family caregivers, with at least one health and/or safety concern related to an elder residing alone at home during the workday, were recruited from five companies (n = 27). Caregivers received free computer access to the Worker Interactive Networking (WIN) Internet online caregiver support group and a remote elder monitoring system at home for 6 months. The remote monitoring system provided Web-based status reports and e-mail/pager alerts when individualized parameters were exceeded. Motion sensor signals were transmitted to a transponder that uploaded via wireless cellular communications to the project server, thereby not interfering with elders' telephone use. Formative qualitative analyses clarified acceptance and implementation issues. Summative quantitative evaluation determined pilot intervention effects and was conducted by external evaluators. Despite interoperability and cellular reception issues, the system was successfully deployed across four states to a variety of businesses and housing types. Positive results occurred on worker morale, productivity, and reduction of caregiver stress. Participants found it easy to learn and use. Elders did not find the technology "intrusive" or "isolating." Contrary to their expectations, managers reported no abuse of Internet access. Workers expressed a willingness to pay for a similar system in the future ranging from $10 to $130, depending on the features. They would pay the most for the option involving a geriatric nurse coach. The WIN system innovatively tailored to users' wants, and provided users customized control and personalized support. Use of the system was associated with positive outcomes. Enrollment response suggests a specific niche market for remote home monitoring, making it a manageable employee benefit.

PMID:
18570545
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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