Participation of end users in the design of assistive technology for people with mild to severe cognitive problems
The European Rosetta project
Background: In the European Rosetta project three separate, previously developed, ICT systems were improved and integrated to create one modular system that helps community-dwelling people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia in different stages of the disease. The system aims to support them in daily functioning, monitor deviations from) patterns in daily behaviour and to automatically detect emergency situations. The study aimed to inventory the end users' needs and wishes regarding the development and design of the new integrated Rosetta system, and to describe the to be developed Rosetta system. Methods: Qualitative user-participatory design with in total 50 persons: 14 people with dementia, 13 informal carers, 6 professional carers, 9 dementia experts, 7 care partners within the project, and 1 volunteer. In the Netherlands user focus group sessions were performed and in Germany individual interviews. Dementia experts were consulted by means of a questionnaire, an expert meeting session, and interviews. Results: Persons with dementia and informal carers appreciated the following functionalities most: help in cases of emergencies, navigation support and the calendar function. Dementia experts rated various behaviours relevant to monitor in order to detect timely changes in functioning, e.g. eating, drinking, going to the toilet, taking medicine adequately, performance of activities and sleep patterns. No ethical issues regarding the use of sensors and cameras were mentioned. Conclusion: The user participatory design resulted in valuable input from persons with dementia, informal carers and professional carers/dementia experts, based on which a first prototype Rosetta system was built.