By 2025, there will be 12,000 more elderly people, and with an accelerated pace of treatment, more patients are being discharged earlier from hospital. One in three of Copenhagen’s inhabitants suffer from a chronic illness like diabetes, COPD, osteoporosis or some kind of musculoskeletal disorder. Welfare technology is part of the solution for these challenges, and it is constantly opening up new possibilities.
The Municipality of Copenhagen is ambitious to break new ground in the development and use of welfare technology and it aims to find solutions to real problems and needs. A precondition for both meeting the challenges and exploiting the opportunities presented by welfare technology is for the Health and Care Administration to first develop and test the best solutions with the help of citizens, employees, businesses and knowledge institutions, who are invited to contribute with any ideas, challenges and new welfare technology solutions.
So what is welfare technology? Welfare technology is a type of emerging technology that focuses on supporting a person’s daily life and the daily work of the employees who use it. In the field of health care and elder care, welfare technology is aimed at:
- Senior citizens, people with a chronic illness etc., where welfare technology is a vehicle for allowing people to recapture and expand their way of life.
- Employees, where welfare technology represents an avenue for freeing up resources and executing work tasks in an easier and smarter way.
In the course of following a programme titled The 2025 Plan – Innovating for health and care, the Health and Care Administration has selected three focus areas for the use of welfare technology.
1: The use of technologies to create a rich and stimulating living environment in care centres. These are solutions that will promote new experiences and a safe environment, and engage the residents of the community. For instance:
- Call systems – making it possible for people to contact employees
- Digitally supported mental training – for the training and rehabilitation of everyday activities and general cognitive capacities
2: Mobile communications and information solutions that can connect residents, relatives and staff with each other both locally and in the health care system. These solutions must contribute to a greater sense of freedom and security and support the residents’ desire and ability for mobility, such as through the use of telecommunications solutions which facilitate easy communication with all the actors in the health care system. For instance:
- Smart-home technology – making a home both intelligent and accessible
- Social IT and robot technology – supporting communication, social networks and interaction
3: Better working environments through the use of welfare technology.
Inspirational Question: How can you maintain the citizens need for freedom and dignity in the development of welfare technology that seeks to increase safety? For instance in the case of people with Alzheimer’s , who tends to get lost.