The number of older people is increasing in the world. By 2050 the world’s population aged 60 and older is expected to be 2 billion people, which is an increase from being only 900 million in 2015. In the US they will spend $191.9 billion on nursing care facilities and continuing care retirement communities. In this context it is important to look into eHealth solutions that will facilitate this care. As aged care also involves not only health care professionals but also family members forming a triad of care, an improvement of health and wellbeing information sharing within it could increase the quality of care and reduce caregiving burden. .
Leysan Nurgaliva from the University of Trento who has been a visiting researcher in the HTO group and has looked into this issue. This week she successfully defended her PhD thesis, and Åsa Cajander was on the examination committee and attended the defence. The defence was indeed an occasion where Leysan Nurgalieva could show that audience that she has the knowledge and skills to earn a PhD. She did an excellent presentation of her work, and also came though as a very knowledgeable research professional.
The title of the thesis is:
Technology Mediated Information Sharing Within the Triad of Aged Care, and you can find the thesis here
One interesting finding was that patients with lower educational levels and older patients share more information than the average patient. It is difficult to say why they share more, but some of the reasons could be that they want relatives and others to help them understand the medical records better.
Another interesting area was the variety of relationships seniors have with relatives and what factors affect their interest in sharing health-related information. Leysan and her colleagues came up with a framework that defines sharing dimensions, as an attempt to organise those factors (refer to this paper for more details).One can conclude that there is definitely not one way fits all in this.
Finally, I must say that I found the discussion at the defence related to inclusion of the patient perspective to be super interesting. Leysan Nurgalieva described that the patients, and especially older care recipients, are indeed not an obvious part of the discussions when you talk about information sharing, and that this is something that needs to change in the future.
Leysan Nurgalieva will continue working with eHealth and join Gavin Doherty’s research group at Trinity College so we will definitely see more of her work in the future.