We have interviewed some seniors in Norway as to their thoughts of the usefulness of the H2Hcare system – all in the name of user-driven-design. The seniors were selected from voluntary members of the NGO Seniornett and 6 patients and 5 informal caregivers were interviewed. They were all in the age group 69 to 82 years of age – and living well with their heart disease. Since the subjects were selected from a group of volunteers to begin with, the findings do not necessarily represent a valid cross-section of the senior population with heart disease. One possible result of this recruitment procedure (immediate response and eager to participate) may be that we have an overrepresentation of persons who are relatively healthy both mentally and physically.
The interviews were split into two parts: thoughts and experiences with the hospital discharge process and then the time thereafter. And also if the subjects could envision the benefits from a robot-help system in the processes – like the H2Hcare.
Today’s seniors were born before or at the time of the invention of the transistor and are immigrants to the digital world. As far as the (near unlimited) possibilities opening up with the introduction of high-technology (robots in this case), it is in general difficult to envision the uses and their value for people in the upper age groups.
The seniors could see little differences between the two post-operative faces: pre- and post- discharge. Their perceived needs were overlapping in the two faces.
Access and information were two key words. The discharge process itself was applauded in general, although it contained a fair amount of difficult tribal language (medical). But the individual needs and questions would arise afterwards – and after a while:
What happens now? What to expect? What to look out for? Who to contact in case of emergencies – 24/7? Who knows my case good enough? Who’s responsible? What if I forget to take my meds? What are possible side-effects? What if I get a cold? And, in Norway: can I go outside on (very) cold days? What to do to get my former life back?
A majority of the senior participants were positive to the introduction of an H2Hcare-type of robot. And would also consider using such a device – depending on it’s functions. The robot must be tailor-made to each individual patient and be available for pre-discharge training (and tailoring) in the hospital.
There was a broad consensus as to the useful functions of the robot system: Communication (help with connecting to responsible person for help), Information (like “Siri” but tailor-made to the person and the medical situation), Motivation (“You are doing fine”. “All is normal”. “Your training is good”), Remainder (for medicine intake, hospital check-ups, training sessions).