eHomecare – for safety and communication in everyday life : The perspectives of older users, relatives and care managers

Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this thesis was to examine how eHomecare affects the daily lives of older users and their relatives, with a focus on safety and communication. A further aim was to explore care managers’ perspectives, expectations and experiences of eHomecare and its implementation. Methods: Participants in study one and two were older people with granted eHomecare and eight relatives and, care managers in study three and four. Data were collected through four qualitative studies, using individual interviews in the first and second studies before the introduction and after six months’ use of eHomecare, by individual vignette-based interviews in the third study, and with focus-group interviews in the fourth study. Data were analysed using different qualitative content analyses. Results: The participants described safety as a part of everyday life. eHomecare was found to facilitate a ‘new safety’ for older people and a ‘re-established safety’ for relatives, yet its use raised concerns about ethical considerations and reduced human contact. Participants could attain feelings of togetherness and affection through communication, although this was also considered a vulnerable activity due to physical changes and loss of other people. Used correctly, eHomecare increased communication and thus closeness and participation for the participants. For older participants unable to use the technology as hoped, eHomecare led to disappointment. Care managers expressed that eHomecare can increase older peoples’ everyday life-quality if they receive the right tools at the right time. Care managers, however, have difficulties with eHomecare’s management process. While they struggle with their own attitudes, lack of time and high workloads, their decisions are also influenced by surrounding organisations and the older people’s relatives. Care managers’ own organisations, work situations, relevant stakeholders and society in general can hinder them in managing eHomecare as a new homecare service. Widespread information about eHomecare and opportunities for relevant stakeholders to participate in its implementation are good preconditions for fulfilling the mission of care managers. Conclusions: The findings describe eHomecare from the perspectives of its older users, their relatives and the care managers responsible for managing the service. Used correctly, eHomecare increases possibilities for communication and provides safety. However, care managers have a complex mission when managing the service and they express a need for support and knowledge. The findings can be used clinically to develop older peoples’ utilization of eHomecare and to develop support for the fulfilment of care managers’ mission.Keywords: care managers, content analysis, communication, eHomecare, experiences, information and communication technology, older people, participation, perceptions, relatives, safety, welfare technology