Smart clothes-assisted home-nursing care program for family caregivers of older persons with dementia and hip fracture: a mixed-methods study

Yi Jun Hou, Sih Ying Zeng, Chung Chih Lin, Ching Tzu Yang, Huei Ling Huang, Min Chi Chen, Hsiu Hsin Tsai, Jersey Liang, Yea Ing L. Shyu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The purpose of this preliminary study was to explore whether a smart clothes-assisted home-nursing care program could benefit family caregivers and their care recipients. Methods: Family caregivers in charge of a care recipient’s living situation participated in this convergent parallel, mixed methods study. We recruited older persons with dementia (n = 7) and those discharged following hip-fracture surgery (n = 6) from neurological clinics and surgical wards of a medical center, respectively, along with their family caregivers: three spouses, eight sons, one daughter, and one daughter-in-law. Care recipients were asked to wear a smart vest at least 4 days/week for 6 months, which contained a coin-size monitor hidden in an inner pocket. Sensors installed in bedrooms and living areas received signals from the smart clothing, which were transmitted to a mobile phone app of homecare nurses, who provided caregivers with transmitted information regarding activities, emergency situations and suggestions for caregiving activities. Outcomes included changes from baseline in caregivers’ preparedness and depressive symptoms collected at 1- and 3-months, which were analyzed with Friedman’s non-parametric test of repeated measures with post-hoc analysis. Transcripts of face-to-face semi-structured interview data about caregivers’ experiences were analyzed to identify descriptive, interpretative, and pattern codes. Results: Preparedness did not change from baseline at either 1- or 3-months for family caregivers of persons with dementia. However, depressive symptoms decreased significantly at 1-month and 3-months compared with baseline, but not between 1-months and 3-months. Analysis of the interview data revealed the smart clothes program increased family caregivers’ knowledge of the care recipient’s situation and condition, informed healthcare providers of the care recipient’s physical health and cognitive status, helped homecare nurses provide timely interventions, balanced the care recipient’s exercise and safety, motivated recipients to exercise, helped family caregivers balance work and caregiving, and provided guidance for caregiving activities. Conclusions: Experiences with the smart clothes-assisted home-nursing care program directly benefited family caregivers, which provided indirect benefits to the care recipients due to the timely interventions and caregiving guidance from homecare nurses. These benefits suggest a smart-clothes-assisted program might be beneficial for all family caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Dementia
  • Family caregivers
  • Hip fracture
  • Homecare nursing
  • Smart clothes

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