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Vilans in Taiwan for HAAL meeting and Digital Care update

Published on: 03-04-2023

Vilans Senior Researcher and eHealth expert, Dr. Henk Herman Nap recently lead a team of Dutch researchers to Taiwan for a meeting of the HAAL (HeAlthy Ageing Eco-System for PeopLe with Dementia) Consortium. The group also visited the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan where Dr. Nap gave an update on digital long-term care in the Netherlands.

Multiple care technologies in one AAL bundle

The EU-funded HAAL project is made up of partners from Italy, Taiwan and the Netherlands. The goal is to support people with dementia, their loved ones and care professionals during the different stages of dementia by embedding multiple care and well-being technologies in one AAL (Active and Assisted Living) bundle.

Nap: “The main advantages of AALJP projects involve applied – in situ – co-design and research with a strong market focus. No other funding programme offers this ideal mix of iterative design, development, evaluation and business modelling. In addition, it is highly valuable that AAL is also a movement, a positive and knowledgeable movement of researchers, end-users, companies, universities and the AAL CMU with National Contact Persons (NCPs). The AAL Forum strengthens this movement and the genuine involvement of people working within the programme. Through the years, AAL became a family with lots of support activities and possibilities for dissemination.”

HAAL (HeAlthy Ageing eco-system for peopLe with dementia)

What makes HAAL unique is that a careful selection of international AAL services will help support dementia care in the different stages of dementia.

HAAL offers a complete package of AAL technologies for people with dementia at all stages – starting from the stage of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), global deterioration scale (GDS stage 3), to the stage of severe dementia (GDS stage 7). For the first half of the project, we included 318 end-users in 7 studies, from co-design to responsible innovation. In 2023 we started with Alpha testing the HAAL dashboard and bundle to support people with dementia and their (in)formal carers.

Henk Herman Nap, Senior Researcher, Vilans

Social robot, GUARDIAN 

The use of sensors in diapers and implementing digital tools in everyday care situations are among the most effective and the promising AAL innovations that are either currently being used in practice or being tested. The AAL project GUARDIAN also developed a social robot companion for the home environment of older people. With a decreasing workforce of care professionals and to support an active and positive working life of informal carers, there is a need for assistive technologies at home. Not only to support older adults in need of care, but also caregivers. The GUARDIAN project introduced a social companion in the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland and aims to directly benefit three groups of end-users; seniors, formal- and informal carers.

Nap: “From the start, the project followed a unique iterative design, research and development methodology with three streams, focusing on: 1. Co-creation & Personalisation; 2. Ethical and value-sensitive design; 3. Business Modelling & Cost-effectiveness. This means that the GUARDIAN robot eco-system will be more widely deployable and a lot more advanced than existing models.”

Digital long-term care in the Netherlands

In addition to discussing the latest progress on AAL co-design, alpha and beta testing, technical development and responsible innovation, the group also visited the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan where Dr. Nap gave an update on digital long-term care in the Netherlands.

Nap: “The amount of money the Netherlands spends on looking after its ageing population is twice as much what is spent by many of its European neighbours who are also struggling to meet the care needs of its baby boomers. And, while this expenditure has resulted in Dutch older people being happier with fewer chronic conditions, it is an expense that cannot be sustained, especially since the number of people over 75 is expected to double by 2040.”

The Dutch the government has introduced a new healthcare programme called, ‘Housing, Support and Care for Older People’. The aim is to try to limit the increase in healthcare costs without compromising quality. It has also accelerated collaboration among service providers and resulted in the Netherlands being a leader in eHealth and technology-driven solutions.

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