CPS validation: the reCare’s journey

Have you ever felt euphoric for having a great idea that could really make a difference? We are six students from the University of Trento and that’s the way we feel. We have decided to approach a widespread issue that affects most of the families in the whole word: ageing.

Ageing from a social perspective. Nowadays, the vast majority of us do not live under the same roof with their older relatives and many have to leave their own town, seeking for a job. As a consequence, the vast majority of granparents live alone or in a nursing home. This separation causes a stressful condition, both for sons and daughters, willing to be involved in the life of their parents despite the distance, and for the older adults, willing to keep in touch with their families. Specifically, this situation tends to generate a source of growing pressure in the “primary caregivers”, i.e. those who mainly handle the caregiving process in the family.

The reCare team has a specific aim: reduce the stress that is experienced by primary caregivers. Many changes has been made on the way, but this is still our main goal. Follow us in this journey and see what we came up with!

First Brainstorming and presentation poster

After the very first brainstorming session, we decided to tackle the problem at several levels, focusing on bidirectional communication between caregivers and the older relative.

Here is the poster we designed to present our team and preliminary Customer-Problem-Solution (CPS) paradigma:

Since many medical devices that track health parameters are available, we decided to focus more on the development of a system that could enable a direct communication between the older adult and the family through several channels, such as videos, photos, voice records and so on.

In this way, both sides could be more involved in each other life even when distant one from the other. The idea was to save time for the caregivers, still allowing to have a feedback on the health conditions of the beloved. In addition, nephews and secondary caregivers could contact their granparents through different media, so that to relieve their loneliness.

Customer — Problem validation

Customer types and problems

Firstly, we considered two main targets: primary caregivers and secondary caregivers. Secondary caregivers are the other family members not directly involved in the active caregiving process. Both of them could be interested in reducing the stress and anxiety caused by the distance and lack of time.

Secondly, older adults are potential customer, who may be directly interested in keeping in touch via several media. Receive photos from their grandchildren, videos from their sons… In this way, they could avoid isolation and feel more involved in the everyday life of their family.

Finally, nursing homes. They could be interested in reducing the time that their doctors and nurses have to spend when explaining the situation to the family, several times.

Validation board

The validation board was a substantial tool to define the best way to validate the problems we wanted to solve. We based the validation process on the riskiest assumption among all the assumptions that sustained the problem we found for each costumer.

We opted for a preliminary validation of the first three types of costumer, since they were more connected one to the other, while the nursing homes and professional caregivers represented a different system that needed a different strategy. Indeed, we already had some data that had been previously collected in another context.

Validation Board: reCare

Riskest assumptions:

Primary caregivers → feeling of responsability causes stress and anxiety

Secondary caregivers → want to be involved in the caregiving process

Older relatives → use a videos, photos and voice records to communicate

Validation process

An online survey was prepared to address the primary and secondary caregivers, whilst older adults were directly interviewed.

Here are a short video summary of our findings and the recording of on of our interviews’…

Our findings from interviews and the survey:

Primary caregivers → they actually experience stress and anxiety related to the responsibility of taking care of their beloved ones. Also, the lack of time to manage a job, a family and these duties make them feel in a highly demanding situation.

Secondary caregivers → they do not feel the need to be directly involved in the caregiving process. Despite that, they want to be informed on the wellbeing of the older relative.

Older adults → they tend to be more wary when dealing with other technologies than a telephone. They expect their primary caregivers to be readily present in case of necessity, want to communicate, but they are less interested in directly involving their grandchildren.

Of these three costumers, the best validation of assumptions was obtained in the case of primary caregivers. For this reason, we decided to work on them to figure out a possible solution.

What’s next?

We arranged a meeting with someone who is into the management of clinical data for nursing homes and knows the trend of communication technologies in the health related field… are you curious to know how we pivoted our idea? Read our next article!