Between 1980 and 2003 the group of people aged 80 and older has increased by 81 percent in Sweden. The trend is similar in many other countries in Europe. At the same time, there is a medical paradox since more peoples’ lives can be saved due medical developments in modern health care simultaneously as better conditions make people live longer.
This result in rising needs of care to the increasing numbers of patients. As concern eldercare, this demands more care to be provided at home and at distance from hospitals but with the support from compe¬tent professionals from different care authorities.
One way to handle this situation is the use of information and communication technology (ICT), which enables people to communicate, gather information and interact with distance service without the limitations of time and space. Thus, ICT, has the potential to facilitate remote communication and the support of competent health care professionals to home-based care and improve the utilisation of resources, such as health care employees.
However, ICT also compels changes of the processes, organisation and control systems of care and will imply changes in the work situation of health care employees. There are studies reporting a resistance of health care employees towards introduction of ICT in eldercare and a worry about dehumanised care. New technology may put new demands on the employees in terms of competence, autonomy, and flexibility. This in turn may create stress and affect work satisfaction and affect the quality of care that is provided negatively.
The purpose of this project, starting in October 2005, is to study how eldercare and the working situation of employees providing this care may be affected by new ICT in eldercare. The project SARAH is financed by money from and European Union’s Structural Fund Goal 1. Project owner has been CDH, Centre for Distance-Spanning Healthcare at Luleå University of Technology. The project is performed in cooperation between Norrbotten County, the municipalities Luleå and Boden, Department of Health Care and the Division of Quality & Environmental Management at Luleå University of Technology and two ICT companies