The impact of ICT services on the perceptions of quality of life of older people

Jacqueline Damant, Martin Knapp, Sarah Watters, Paul Freddolino, Margaret Ellis, Derek King (2013)

Journal of Assistive Technologies 7 1 5-21

Available online: 1 March 2013

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to report results of the impact of the information and communication technology (ICT) platform and telecare services developed by the MonAMI consortium on the quality of life (QOL) of older people in three European communities. Design/methodology/approach – In a three-month trial, the MonAMI technology was installed in the homes of older people with various needs, in the cities of Stockholm, Sweden; Zaragoza, Spain; and Kosice, Slovakia. Evaluation criteria and instrumentation were developed to assess the effects of the services on users' perceived QOL in the domains of independence, physical health, psychological wellbeing, social networking, and physical environment. Findings – A total of 62 users, with a mean age of 79 years, participated in the trial. Results demonstrate that the MonAMI services had some positive, significant effects on users' QOL. For instance, users with a higher number of disabilities at baseline reported greater confidence in keeping intruders from entering their home compared to users with fewer disabilities (OR=2.51, 0.01 p<0.05). However, overall findings show that healthier, more independent users perceived more benefits from the services compared to users who report more health problems and are less independent. Research limitations/implications – The complexities of conducting the MonAMI trial led to a small, heterogeneous sample of users over a short time span. This in turn created difficulties in observing the potential effects of the services and achieving significance on some indicators of QOL. Originality/value – This paper provides quantitative analyses around the impact of telecare services; suggests important directions for further research; and highlights the methodological challenges of evaluating ICT-based care services in a community setting.