Technology-based Health Communication within the Home Environment

Sammanfattning: Background: To be able to live independently, older persons can use technology-based health communication (HC) for support, guidance, and contact with health care professionals within their home environment. Informal caregivers who assist in different situations can also find support in their caring role using technology. The study of mobile technologies is an important research area in gerontechnology. Nevertheless, there is a gap of research in technology-based HC utilized by older persons, including preferences related to cognitive impairment (CI) in a home environment.Aim: The overall aim of the thesis was to define the concept and describe experiences of HC within the home environment from a gerontechnological perspective. The aim of Study I was to identify and construct the meaning of HC from the perspective of older persons in need of care in the home environment and their informal caregivers. The aim of Study II was to describe how older persons with CI experienced technology-based HC through the use of a mobile application in order to facilitate a sense of coherence.Method: This thesis has a naturalistic approach. In Study I, the evolutionary model of concept analysis was used, based on a systematic literature review including 29 studies. In Study II, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 older persons with CI. The transcripts were analyzed with a deductive thematic analysis.Findings: The defining attributes of the concept HC identified in Study I were: Resources of the recipient, Influence on decisions, and Advantages of tailored information. These attributes led to the following descriptive definition of HC: Tailored information, based on needs and resources of the recipient influence care decisions. The findings of Study II resulted in an overall theme: A technology that supports but creates challenges. Further, the analysis yielded the following three themes, with associated subthemes: Making sense of mobile technologies, Mastering mobile technologies, and Added value to use mobile technologies.Conclusion: Technology-based HC utilized by older persons and their informal caregivers within the home environment emphasizes suiting needs, capacity and preferences to be considered useful. Influences of the context, the home environment also needs to be taken into account when developing technology-based HC and mobile technologies for this purpose. 

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