Stay in touch - To promote social participation and reduce loneliness among seniors who are supported by home care

In this project, we are interested in investigating how home care services more systematically can work with initiatives related to "meaningful life together with other people", i.e. social participation to reduce loneliness.

If an older adult is unable to handle everyday life and live independently on his or her own, he or she can apply for support from home care services. Home care service are obliged to deliver service according to a care manager’s decisions which means that the older adult must, among other things, have a reasonable level of living and have an active and meaningful life together with other people.

The aim of this project is to develop knowledge about how support from home care services can be developed to support social participation and thereby prevent/reduce loneliness. In addition, the purpose is to see if and with what results such support can be implemented by home care providers.

To meet the aim of the project, older adults who have support from home care services as well as home care staff have been interviewed and participated in workshops. In the project we applied a participatory approach and methods to capture the expertise and tacit knowledge that potential end users of the working model have. In the study, we therefore work closely with both public and private home care providers. Through these methods of interviews and workshops, a work model, "Stay in touch", has emerged. "Stay in touch" is based on the assumption that home care services deliver service according to decisions by care managers, but that staff also are those who can get early indications of loneliness and thus need tools to address such problem.

The problem of loneliness needs to be addressed and "Stay in touch" intends to support home care staff to be able to do this in a systematic, evidence-based and sustainable way. In collaboration with public and private home care providers, the work model has been developed, refined and now is about to be tested. As a part of the testing phase, the home care services first train their staff in using the work model and then using it over a longer period of time. Usefulness of the model will be evaluated using several methods, including interviews, technical data and through the use of register data from the National Board of Health and Welfare. "Stay in touch" is developed to provide support through training and support materials are available via a website and a technical application for smart phones.

Research leader

Professor Ingeborg Nilsson, Occupational Therapy, Umeå University

Doctoral student

Therese Nordin, Occupational Therapy, Umeå University

Group members

Docent Per Gustavsson, Epidemiology, Umeå University

Professor Anna Sofia Lundgren, Ethnology, Umeå University

Funding

FORTE (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare)

Strategic Research Area Health Care Science (SFO-V)

Publications

Nordin, T., Rosenberg,L., & Nilsson, I. (2020). Personhood through ‘me’ and ‘we’: satisfactory social participation among home care recipients. Submitted.