SHAPES goes live
For this moment we have worked for three years – to see our SHAPES digital solutions go live under real-world conditions. More than 500 older people plus family members, caregivers and other health professionals from several European countries have already started or are currently about to start the long-awaited intervention period for each of the 25 use cases of SHAPES.
Each of the 25 use cases was developed to meet specifically the needs of older people in Europe. As these needs vary significantly from one person to the other, so do our personalized use cases. SHAPES includes on the one side use cases for generally healthy and agile older persons, who wish to monitor their health status and get recommendations on how to improve their well-being. On the other side SHAPES also developed use cases for persons with chronic diseases and multi-morbidities, which should be monitored quite closely to early detect situations, in which the patient is at risk and to avoid hospitalizations.
Additionally, more specific use cases have been developed, for example for persons, who need to train their orofacial musculature after a stroke or persons who need gait rehabilitation. Other use cases aim to prevent a cognitive decline with specific cognitive and physical training. Also, the social component has been considered – one use case particularly aims to motivate older persons to interact with the community and participate in sports clubs or cultural events.
Apart from the many use cases dedicated to the older persons themselves, some of the SHAPES use cases are dedicated to their formal and informal caregivers. The formal caregivers can be trained with diagnosis and treatment scenarios, while informal caregivers of persons with dementia can be trained with a programme, which includes also elements of psychoeducation and techniques for self-care.
This large number of tailor-made use cases is only possible due to the broad bandwidth of SHAPES digital solutions. For each use case, one or several digital solutions have been selected and adapted to the respective needs of the addressed older person group. These digital solutions originate from different technologies areas, which range from robotic to artificial intelligence, chatbots and a wide range of health and wellbeing apps.
For instance, SHAPES offers two different types of robots, which are able to socially interact with older persons, lead through rehabilitation exercises or do tasks like night surveillance. SHAPES also includes health and well-being platforms, with which older persons or their caregiver is able to monitor their health status. For chronic diseases like heart failure, diabetes or COPD predictive modelling algorithms have been developed, which are able to rise an alarm, if the patient gets in a high-risk situation. For interaction with older patients chatbots are available, in addition to online communication tools to stay in contact with family members and friends. Specifically, to improve cognitive well-being several games and training apps have been developed, that train older persons both physically as well as cognitively way. For the security of older people, who are living alone, IoT data like smart plugs or air quality nodes are used to inform older people about unusual or even risky situations.
And now we are at an exciting moment in our project, where we can see our technologies work in real life – in hospitals, nursing homes and individual homes of older persons. We are looking forward to the results of the evaluation – does our SHAPES platform help older persons to improve their health and well-being? First positive feedback from the participants of our pan-European pilot campaign give us grounds for optimism.
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft für Angewandte Forschung (FhG), Germany