Digitalization in Public Care – Consequences on Workflow and Attitudes among Care Givers and Older Adults

Open Access
Article
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Marie SjölinderA Mårtensson

Abstract: To be able to meet the demographical changes and the increasing demand on resources within elder care, new digital tools are needed to an increasing extent. Implementation of new digital services demand both changes in workflow and skills in using the digital services. The feeling of being included in the process and time given for learning and introduction could affect how new digital tools are perceived by the personnel. However, time and resources for learning and support could vary between municipalities, and between units within the same municipality (Sjölinder & Mårtensson, 2021). Though both resources are limited, and it is important how new digital services are introduced to the personnel more in-depth knowledge is needed regarding which aspects that needs to be given the largest focus.With respect to older adults, there exist many assumptions and negative stereotypes regarding aging (Lagacé et al., 2015; McDonough, 2016), and about older adults as users of new digital services (Lagacé, et al, 2016; McDonough, 2016). However, many older adults today have experience from using technology and are in general positive to start to use new digital services, but as in the case with the personnel, the learning context and the time that is provided are important (Broady, 2010; Sjölinder & Mårtensson, 2021). When new digital tools are provided to the older adults by the municipality, the learning context for the older adults might be affected by the care givers time and engagement, which in turn could affect the attitudes that are conveyed to the older users about older adults as users of technology.This paper describes a qualitative study with the aim to get a deeper understanding of opportunities and challenges related to digitalization within municipalities. The focus is on how new digital tools have been implemented in the organizations, and on how it had affected care personnel and older care takers. This, in terms of how and to which extent has implementation of new digital tools changed work-related behavior and attitudes towards technology, and to which extent has it changed attitudes towards older adults as technology users.In the study, municipality managers at different levels where interviewed. They described concrete examples of digitalization based on experiences from within their own organization. Using the examples that were given, the respondents were asked questions about how the technology had been received by the personnel and the older adults; how it had affected the attitudes towards new digital tools among the care giving personnel and older adults; and how it had affected the way the personnel thought about organizational changes and changes in workflow related new digital tools. Finally, the respondents described, based on their own previous insights, the municipalities’ next steps towards digitalization, and how they wanted to use new digital tools to take their organizations further towards the future.

Keywords: Digitalization, technology implementation, older adults and technology usage

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001669

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