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Abstract

There are a number of problems that informal caregivers nowadays have to face: lack of experience and formal education in care, limited societal support, shortage of specific tools to manage the whole care cycle, problems coordinating care and other employment for carers (mostly women), stress and depression. This is a well-known problem since family carers provide 80 % of long term care to dependent older people in Europe.

 

BREATHE platform will provide an ICT-based solution for the caregiver and the elderly in order to mitigate these problems and impact at three different levels:

 

  • Personal, by increasing quality of life and care.
  • Local and regional, by providing a tool usable by different stakeholders to effectively manage the reality of the informal care as well as by opening opportunities of new business models and employment.
  • European, by reducing health system costs as a consequence of an effective management of the informal care.
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    The individual solution is based on a strong server side system that maintains updated models of both caregiver and assisted person and offers strategic support and customized guidance for the informal caregiver during the whole long-term care process.

    Objectives

    BREATHE Project aims to provide a rich platform for improving the quality of life of informal caregivers at all levels. In order to achieve a plausible scenario in which family caregivers can find useful services and resources to an adequately support of domiciliary care, it is necessary the involvement of them in the development process since first stages.

     

    This system is fed by three independent information sources:

     

  • AAL (Ambien Assisted Living) system that gathers information about daily life activities of the elderly at home.
  • Structured information that both caregiver and assisted person should complete (e.g. questionnaires).
  • Non-structured sources of information such as a dairy, notes and posts in social networks.
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    There are three independent channels of interaction. The first one is a web application adapted to the limited ICT (Information and Communications Technology) skills of informal caregivers and with special emphasis in making it appealing and friendly as well as being unobtrusive and not inhibiting into their daily activities. The second one is a smart phone application that allows the informal caregiver to have a ubiquitous access to BREATHE facilities. The last one is the AAL system at home as itself. BREATHE assumes that informal caregivers need to have “eyes” at the home of the elderly or assisted person who needs care. Though vision is the most basic cognitive process used for recognising a person, an event, or an action; fusion of video data and information acquired by other sensors can facilitate scene analysis. Appropriate measures will be taken to preserve dignity and maintain privacy and confidentiality. 

     

    Regarding the outputs of the system, BREATHE platform will be able to provide status reports that informal caregivers can share with doctors at the health system, smart progressive learning support that provides guidance when needed avoiding overloading with unusable information, connection to social networks in order to avoid isolation, support for self-assessment about depression and stress levels, customized pieces of advice for both the caregiver and the assisted person depending on their actual status and support for the participation of social care professional working behind the scene. 

    Work packages (WPs)

    BREATHE Project is composed by 6 different work packages. The most relevant information regarding any of them are detailed: 

     

  • WP1. Requirements and specifications. The aim of this WP is to collect a complete list of requirements from the different end- users involved in the value chain, to identify those technical specifications of each individual subsystem as well as the overall integrated solution and to deal with of legal and ethical constraints. BIME is the WP leader.
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  • WP2. AAL application at home. The aim of this WP is to implement the whole AAL system running at elderly people’s home which most relevant technology is the video-based monitoring system. This AAL application acts as the client side of the main component of the BREATHE platform running at server side. Special attention must be paid to ethical issues because the success and acceptance of the overall solution is dependent on it. KU is the WP leader.
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  • WP3. Informal caregiver tool. The aim of this WP is to develop those ICT tools available to the informal caregiver community that will bring significant opportunities in several dimensions of their life conditions, namely: for receiving information and training, for easing communication among healthcare professionals, for improving their working conditions and for enabling social integration with other informal caregivers or other cared person´s relatives. TSB is the WP leader.
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  • WP4. Field trials implementation. The aim of this WP is to validate the usefulness of the BREATHE project, their different components, and the services and measures offered in the various use scenarios from two perspectives, technical and user focused. Three field trials in different countries will be executed: Spain, Ireland and United Kingdom. CYB is the WP leader.
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  • WP5. Exploitation, IPR and dissemination. The aim of this WP is to identify and select as much appropriate business and intervention models as possible and to create a strategic plan to realize BREATHE exploitation in the public and private markets, to explore with potential customers in partners’ countries cultural differences, commonalities and exploitation opportunities, to manage the outcome knowledge and IPR and to actively disseminate the generated knowledge through a website, other web 2.0 tools, scientific papers, whitepapers and workshops. KU is the WP leader.
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  • WP6. Project management. The aim of this WP is to check the overall project management, ensuring an efficient execution of the project with effective management of performance and costs in line with guidelines from AAL Joint Programme, to coordinate the work among WPs, to manage legal, contractual, and financial issues of the project as a whole, to set up and maintain project management boards, to manage project risks and success parameters and to oversee IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) as well as Ethical issues management. TSB will be the WP leader.
  • Expected outcomes

    The result will be a comprehensive working prototype that will be used as a mature demonstrator to target customers (i.e. public care sector, private service providers of care and associations of informal caregivers) whose main strengths will be:

     

  • All informal caregivers needs (communication, professional and amateur support, training, social integration and guidance) are covered.
  • Specially focused on informal caregiver’s needs or requirements.
  • Provision of support and guidance for the long-term care of elderly people.
  • Training that will progressively adapt its contents to the current status of both the carer and the assisted person.
  • Stress control of the informal caregiver and psychological support.
  • The informal caregiver and the assisted person can live together or apart. Both settings are supported.
  • The assisted person can be continuously supported even if the informal caregiver is out.
  • Computational load and complex processes are not carried out using the assisted person’s own PC.
  • Validated with real end user (test pilots) at three different countries: Spain, Ireland and United Kingdom.
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    Furthermore, the work done in this Project will contribute to the creation of two public Whitepapers which will be available for download from the Publications section:

     

  • “The needs and requirements of AAL and ICT solutions for informal long-term care of elderly people” in order to identify those challenges that should be addressed in both a socio-economic as well as scientific-technological domains.
  • “AAL systems and associated privacy issues” describing how ethical issues can be applied in order to have a successful vision and sensors-based supporting systems for elderly people.