Long-term care: Mixed reality applications help people in need of care and caregivers
The provision of care for people in need of long-term care is facing major challenges. Measures must be taken at many levels to make jobs in this sector more attractive and to ensure the care of those affected. WU researcher Birgit Trukeschitz and her team at the WU Research Institute for Economics of Aging are evaluating the practicality and impact of new technologies developed for older people and long-term care in national and European projects. Now Birgit Trukeschitz has been honored as Researcher of the Month for her work.
“Just show me what you see”
As part of the European project “Care about Care”, nursing assistants and care workers in Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium are testing mixed reality applications from the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt. These applications combine the real world with the virtual one: the caregiver can contact an expert from a specific care organization via an app on the service cell phone or a special headset while at the customer's home. The live stream of sound and images helps the expert to better understand the situation and thus find a solution together with the colleague on site. Marking tools make it easier for the expert to underline certain issues visually - e.g., which dressing material to use in a specific case or where the skin shows problematic changes. In addition, the caregiver on site has a live image of the expert in front of them.
The potential of remote care assist systems in long-term care
A successful technological design and organizational embedding of this form of remote support is of utmost importance to ensure a meaningful contribution:
The work at the Expert*innen-Center opens up a whole new field of activity for experienced caregivers where they can pass on their know-how to colleagues according to their needs.
Newly hired caregivers receive virtual support and guidance. Workflow and on-the-job training take on new forms; the live transmission of sound and images facilitates communication with colleagues who have difficulty expressing themselves in German; the exchange in the team on a specific situation takes place immediately.
Customers also benefit: People in need of care receive competent support right on the spot, even in difficult situations. This improves the quality of care.
The remote care assist system helps reduce travel times. Valuable working time can be used differently and environmentally harmful emissions are avoided.
A project report on the evaluation of the remote care assist system will be published in mid-2023.
About Birgit Trukeschitz
Birgit Trukeschitz has been leading research and development projects at the WU Research Institute for Economics of Aging since 2007. She studied economics at WU and received her PhD with distinction from the WU Institute for Social Policy on the economic analysis of the social service sector.
She has been a visiting researcher at the London School of Economics, the University of Kent, and the German Center of Gerontology. At the WU Research Institute for Economics of Aging, Birgit Trukeschitz established the research areas “Digitalization and the Elderly/Long-Term Care (AAL)” focusing on the evaluation of digital technologies and “Economic Analysis in Long-Term Care” focusing on outcome measurement.
She is a member of the ASCOT International Advisory Committee and developed the German language version of ASCOT (Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit) together with her team.
Birgit Trukeschitz has received several awards for her research and university teaching. She publishes research findings in prestigious, mostly interdisciplinary journals such as Health Economics, Journals of Gerontology, and Social Science and Medicine.
Researcher of the Month
With the Researcher of the Month series, WU presents outstanding work by researchers who have made important contributions to solving key economic, social, and legal issues. Our monthly Researcher of the Month video provides insights into the work of our researchers and offers glimpses behind the scenes of WU’s diverse research activities.