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How can technology help to unburden informal caregivers?
Co-Care-IT focuses on the iterative development of a system to help mitigate the care burden of informal caregivers. User-Centred Design is central to this project.

Care for independently living people who are in need of long-term care, such as older adults, is often balanced between informal caregivers and professional (formal) care providers. Informal caregivers are partners, family members and friends that provide care as non-professionals. They take a large part of the care burden upon them when their loved one becomes sick or is in need of care. Due to recent changes in the Dutch health care system and the growing ageing population, there is an increasing pressure on informal caregivers to help provide the needed care. The opportunity to be there for their loved ones is an aspect of caregiving that is often experienced as very positive and rewarding, but providing intensive care for a long period of time can also be too demanding in the way that informal caregivers become overburdened.

Currently, information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly being explored as possible solutions for health care related issues. In the context of informal care however, these systems are not always effective, accessible or wanted. Co-Care-IT aims to study how technological applications can truly contribute to unburdening informal caregivers. For this purpose, current ICT solutions are being investigated to identify which aspects of these systems are most effective and suitable in practice. Potential new solutions for aiding informal caregivers are explored and developed through extensive research into the needs of informal caregivers and by applying user-centred design approaches. For example, the aim is to deploy technology for not only identifying the aspects of care giving that are perceived as most stressful or demanding, but also which aspects are positive. In this way, this research focuses on the actual needs of the informal caregivers and on emphasizing the positive aspects of caring for their loved one.

Do you know of any relevant or interesting solutions that help to relieve informal caregivers? Let us know via [at]

Images & Video


Design opportunities for supporting informal caregivers

( 2016 ) Lilian Bosch & Marije Kanis Extended abstracts of CHI 2016 download

Managing flexible care with a context aware system for ageing-in-place

( 2015 ) Saskia Robben, Lilian Bosch, Marije Kanis, Jasmien Decancq & Pascal Wiggers Pervasive Health 2015 Workshop on Process-oriented approach for patient-centered care delivery (PROCARE) download