Award Date: 2019
Project Lead(s): Kate Ellis
Project Title: Feasibility and Usability of the WellAssist Solution by Routinify for Self-care and Caregiving
What is the issue?
Wearables promote physical activity, self-care, and social engagement. They may be beneficial for helping older adults aging in place. However, existing devices do not support communication with loved ones and care teams.
What did we do?
The WellAssist service by Routinify links to wearable devices and monitors the health, safety, and well-being of older adults living at home. It provides reminders about appointments and medications, information on time and place, and a way to share activity and health information with family members and care teams. We conducted a pilot study of the Routinify platform with 78 older adults and 11 caregivers. We provided each participant with a tablet and in-person training. We evaluated how well the platform helped them with daily activities and routines, manage health conditions and medications, and improve communication with their support circles. We also measured how frequently older adults accessed features and health services, their ability to remain at home, the likelihood of moving to a long-term care facility, and caregiver burden.
What did we find?
We were unable to recruit our target of 130 older adults. Most participants enrolled through direct contact with our research team, not the healthcare system. Forty percent of participants dropped out of the study due to health issues, frustration with too many evaluation tools, and needing more assistance to use the platform. Wellness scores for older adults improved overall, including increases in morale, activities of daily living, and religion. However, scores for physical wellness and the use of social resources declined. Since only four caregivers remained in the study at 12 weeks, we could not evaluate the impact of Routinify on caregiver burden.