Introduction: Home-bound seniors are Canada's fastest
growing population. Already frail seniors fall short of home care
services and have fewer access to long term care institutions.
The home care budget will become unmanageable by public funding
unless it identifies new approaches. Since 1997, seniors in their
apartments or long term care institutions in the Ottawa region,
have been steadily using customized videoconferencing links to
health centers, schools and various community organizations. The
purpose of this presentation is to provide a five year analysis
and retrospect on the key factors of success and failures, when
supplying telehealth solutions to frail seniors.
Description: Various IT models were tested in 1996-1997 during three surveys (total 229 seniors) and led to the design of personal videoconferencing (VC)units with simplified access for seniors with disabilities. Since 1999, VC users have been participants of the growing "Intergenerational Virtual Village". In light of the reports of four telehealth projects and of yearly evaluations of the recreational and cross cultural programs, we are examining the pros and cons as well as structural and cultural barriers to the VC involvement of seniors.
Results: Main prerequisites for successful videoconferencing in a geriatric population are threefold: non-intrusive, readily accessible technologies; inducing of nonverbal communication and health related support; guaranteed privacy and confidentiality.
Conclusions: In an aging population with increasing needs for home care, simplified VC for home users could become an indispensable adjunct of supportive housing and long term care services for seniors.
1 Network Director, PACE 2000 International
Foundation (Programmes for Autonomy and Communication for the
2 Vice Dean and Associate Dean (Academic), School of Management, University of Ottawa
3 President, PACE 2000 International Foundation (Programmes for Autonomy and Communication for the Elderly)
©1999 Fondation Internationale PACE 2000