Research centre
Assistive Technology in Health Care

Assistive Technology in Health Care

The Research Centre for Assistive Technology in Health Care at Zuyd University plays an important role in initiating and stimulating innovation in long term care.

Together with carers, professionals, businesses, and clients from care settings, we perform research and innovation, thereby developing knowledge in new ways to benefit professionals in care and the training provided by the university. The application of technology is central to the work. Technology is seen as one of the most promising solutions to meet the rapidly growing needs for care in a shortage labour market.

Research

The Dutch region of Limburg has an ageing population. This creates an imbalance of supply and demand in the field of healthcare. Ultimately that is a threat to the quality of care. The clever use of (supportive/assistive) technology in health care can be a solution. There is technology available that both increases the autonomy of the client and supports the provision of care. 

Healthcare workers want innovative ways to integrate technology in to their work and professional practices. However, in daily practice this is not a simple task, as a number of barriers stand in the way. Providers of these technologies are often unaware of the specific issues arising from practice. In addition the care providers may have difficulty defining their technology needs, and frequently lack knowledge of the possibilities offered by technology. The fields of healthcare and technology are therefore, at times, miles apart from each other. 

Goals
Narrowing the gap between the fields of healthcare and technology is one of the main goals of the research centre. Together with parties from both fields we work toward concrete solutions that are meaningful in healthcare practice, and we seek to contribute to the effective use of those solutions.

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Projects

The research centre is involved in several projects. Below you find the most recent projects.

  • Accompany

    The goal of this project is to further develop a service robot, the Care-O-bot 3, for elderly people to facilitate independent living at home.

    The development of this service robot will be based on a demand driven development, as the development of robotics for elderly people so far have been driven mainly by the technological possibilities. The service robot's repertoire of activities will be extended towards useful tasks and functions that are executed in a way users are comfortable with and find acceptable. The ACCOMPANY service robot should provide physical, cognitive and social assistance in everyday home tasks, and needs to contribute to the re-ablement of the user; i.e. assist the user in being able to carry out certain tasks on his/her own.

    Co-operation 
    The project is executed by an international consortium consisting of research institutions and a company. The ACCOMPANY consortium will be coordinated by the University of Hertfordshire (UK). The Fraunhofer institute (Germany), developer of the Care-O-bot 3 which will serve as starting point for the robot development, the universities of Siena (Italy), Manchester (UK) and Troyes (France) are the other partners involved. Zuyd University for Applied Sciences is connected to the project to tailor the development of the robot to its future users and their needs. 

    The European project ACCOMPANY is a three year project that started October 1st 2011. 

    More information 
    Please contact Gert Jan Gelderblom (gertjan.gelderblom@zuyd.nl) or Sandra Bedaf (sandra.bedaf@zuyd.nl).  

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  • Care and Service at Distance

    The care organizations Proteion, Land van Horne and de Zorggroep have performed the projects "Care TV" and "Activity monitoring" as separated projects. The regional health insurance board supported the projects. It has been decided to reorganize the project structure in such a way that both activities are brought under the concern of the same project group. The care organization "Zuidzorg" will join these activities although they are working in a different care region. 

    Goals
    Projects aim is directed towards the implementation of the services as a regular service delivered by a care organization to their customers. Activities are directed towards the conditions that have to be arranged to be able to deliver these services in terms of logistics, financial control and quality management. Exchange of these data between different organizations can be of advantage. The activities of Zuyd in 2012 are directed towards the monitoring of use of these services and the interpretation in terms of service management. Applied research (partly performed by students of Zuyd) is directed towards, quality control, logistics, costs; these data are used to build a business case. Apart from that the activities are directed towards the development of new CareTV applications like the development of a Vitality Coach. 

    More information 
    Please contact Charles Willems (charles.willems@zuyd.nl) or Monique Lexis (monique.lexis@zuyd.nl).  

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  • Electronic Mobility Aids (EMA)

    Electronic Mobility Aids for persons who are visually impaired (EMA)
    People who are visually impaired often experience difficulties in moving and travelling independently. These difficulties may reduce their mobility and act as barriers to achieving their desired level of social participation. Devices can provide significant support for the functioning, social participation and wellbeing of people who are (visually) impaired. In recent decades, Electronic Mobility Aids (EMA) have been developed, and are expected to offer a useful supplement to the traditional aids such as the white cane or dog guide. EMA integrate new innovative technologies such as GPS, infrared and sonar sensors, developments that have experienced success in the consumer market, for example: electronic "parking aids" or satellite navigation software.

    An extensive literature review has provided an overview of EMA and important developments in the field. Impact and effectiveness of EMA as defined in the international literature were systematically mapped. In two user evaluations two tools for orientation and obstacle detection, and four navigation systems were evaluated by persons who are visually impaired. The final phase will examine the most promising navigation systems for their impact and effectiveness in supporting mobility and (social) participation in the everyday life of users. 

    Results
    The results from this research may contribute to the provision of EMA in practice. Clients and professionals can access information on the availability of EMA and the functions that the various products provide. This may facilitate the selection of an most appropriate tool for the individual. Measuring the impact of Assistive Technology devices on participation is an evolving field, and this study may also contribute to this field by example.

    Funding 
    The research is funded by the ZonMw as part of the InSight program. The project is supported by a working group representing the cooperating parties: users (Viziris), research and care providers (Bartiméus and Royal Visio). 

    More information 
    Pleae contact Uta Roentgen (uta.roentgen@zuyd.nl). 

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  • ETNA

    A European network of leading institutions in assistive technology and e-accessibility

    ICT is a powerful driver for inclusion and quality of life. It can have particular benefits for people with disabilities, often removing barriers to participation in everyday life. However, ensuring access to ICT assistive equipment, systems and services is not straightforward as information is patchy, not well distributed or simply absent. The ETNA Thematic Network, set up in January 2011, will address this issue. 

    ETNA is an EU-wide network involving 23 leading Institutions in 13 countries. It will work for three years to establish a web portal of ICT-based assistive technology products, accessibility solutions and related services. 
    Visit the website www.etna-project.eu.

    More information
    Please contact Jeanne Heijkers (jeanne.heijkers@zuyd.nl). 

  • It's Life

    It's LiFe! is an abbreviation of Interactive Tool for Self management through Lifestyle Feedback! 

    In the Netherlands, the two most common chronic diseases are COPD and diabetes type 2. Exercise is important, both for the prevention of these diseases, as well as for minimizing the effects of these diseases. Many people find it very hard to get enough exercise and having a chronic illness often makes it even more difficult. People with COPD have little air and people with diabetes are often overweight. These two factors make it even more difficult to exercise. Therefore, many programs are developed specifically aimed at these groups in increasing physical activity. Unfortunately those programs are not always successful and it appears very difficult to stay active in everyday life. Technology can play an important role in improving the effectiveness of these programs. 

    Goal
    The purpose of this research is to develop, test and determine the effectiveness of a device that measures one's own physical activity and provides feedback and advice towards the user. It will help people with COPD and type 2 diabetes to be more active. During the project it will also be examined how the general practice or physiotherapist can best offer support in using this device. 

    Co-operation
    In the project a collaboration takes place with two companies, Sananet and Maastricht Instruments, they are responsible for the development of the technology. The project is funded by ZonMW as part of the program New Instruments for Health Care. 

    Phases
    The study lasts from September 2010 to September 2014 and will be implemented in three phases:

    • Phase 1: Requirements research: through a literature study and through (group) interviews, requirements will be set about how patients and carers think the device should look like and what it should measure. In this phase, the device will be developed and it will be examined how the use of the device can best be integrated into health care.
    • Phase 2: Pilot study in which the device will be tested with 40 patients in different healthcare settings. Based on the results the device will be adjusted if necessary.
    • Phase 3: In a randomized study with control group (general practitioners randomly divided into three groups), the effects of the use of the device will be measured in 240 patients in 24 general practices. It concerns the level of physical activity, of goals achieved, of quality of life and of self-efficacy. 
    • If there is evidence that the device is helpful, it can be expanded in future research with different sensors and can be applied in a broader group of chronically ill.

    It's LiFe! is a research project, led by Prof. Dr. Luc de Witte. The project is part of CAPHRI, Maastricht University and also part of the CCTR. Two members of the research centre Technology in Healthcare of Zuyd University participate in this project, Renée Verwey as a PhD student and Marieke Spreeuwenberg as a post-doc. 

    More information 
    Please contact Renée Verwey (renee.verwey@zuyd.nl)

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  • McArm

    For individuals with an affected arm and/or hand function an arm support can be an important support in the everyday ability to manipulate objects in the environment. Existing arm supports however are mainly passive or need to be actively controlled through in the vertical direction.

    The McArm project will develop an innovative arm support which is not only active but is also controlled through intuitive force exertion (minimal arm movements). For this the remaining movement potential of the user is used through a haptic interface. Besides the use of the system as assistive device the new system offers training capacities. Individuals with impaired arm function can use the system to support restoration of arm function through dedicated training, in addition to intensive therapy. The haptic interface provides high level feedback on the movement of the user and therewith on the required nature of training. 

    More information 

  • POLS Healthcare

    Pols Healthcare develops fall detection systems for the elderly. They want to develop a new product that content with the needs of user, care centre, health care provider and the environment of the user, such as family and friends. In this case the user is the one who has a health risk to fall.

    Earlier the research centre Technology in Care did research in the area of fall detection and other care technologies. For this reason Pols Healthcare contacted our research centre. 

    To optimize the development of the platform, Pols Health asked following to the research centre: 
    Which technical and functional problems are described in literature and previous research? It's important to take this into account by develop a new platform/ product. 

    Findings will be translate to technical requirements and specifications. Beside fall detection systems there will be also entered on other possibilities of the Pols platform, in particular the combination with other sensors and communication options. A outline of do's and don'ts and recommendations for further development and application for the future will be make. 

    More information 
    Please contact Monique Lexis (monique.lexis@zuyd.nl).  

  • Social robots in elderly care

    The development of technology is making small steps toward the possibility of having social robots in (elderly) care. Robots such as Paro and Pleo are highly tactile and have the ability to interact with people. We are working with a number of care providers in the region to develop an intervention program using robots in the elderly psychogeriatric hospital. In a larger collaboration with TNO, Vilans, technical universities, the industry organisation ActiZ, the Care Innovation Forum in Groningen and some companies, we are trying to develop and promote robotics applications in long-term care. 

    More information 
    Please contact Roger Bemelmans (bemelmans@zuyd.nl)

  • Technique and Body

    The development and application of assisted living for the elderly has greatly changed recently. But how do the elderly themselves actually experience the use of assisted living?

    Experiences regarding the ease of use, promotion of autonomy and participation are important. The question of the experiences of the elderly can or should however be posed from the perspective of their corporal living experience , with the emphasis on how elderly people experience their bodies: can the applications of assisted living for the elderly, as it were, "recruit" their body awareness or does it remain literally and figuratively "remote"? In what way does assisted living have influence on the lives of the elderly and their families? And what does knowledge of the experiences of elderly people mean for the development, consultancy, implementation and instruction of the various applications of assisted living? 

    These questions are examined with the help of insights from phenomenology, in particular Merleau-Ponty, the philosophy of technology and the ethics of care. 

    This project is embedded in the school CAPHRI of UM and the Research Centre for Technology in Care at Zuyd University. Supervisors are prof. dr. Klasien Horstman and prof. dr. Luc de Witte, co-promotor is Dr. Jenny Slatman. The project started on 1 September 2012. The results should contribute to quality improvement in both the development and the use of assisted living by the elderly. 

    More information 
    Please contact Gijs van Oorsouw (gijs.vanoorsouw@zuyd.nl). 

  • Transition Project 4

    The network Aczio has established TP4 in order to organize all activities for frail elderly in the region South Limburg according to the Chronic Care Model. This project is called: "Integrated Senior Services (ISS): Support of frail elderly, aimed to optimize the functioning and quality of life". ISS is financed by The National Care for the Elderly Programme (NPO) of the Dutch organization for health research and development (ZonMw). The elder is central and is actively involved in organizing the care facility so that the autonomy and self-reliance of the elder will be optimally supported. TP4 is divided in three sub projects.

    The aim of this project is developing a device based on the needs of the elderly and should be easy to use. There will be video and voice communication between the elderly, the immediate environment, and any relevant healthcare and welfare services. A device will be developed which enables frail elderly to have distance communication with their environment. This allows them to take better care of themselves and actively participate in society. 

    The project "Telecommunication technology supporting care and wellbeing" is the second sub project of TP4 and will be carried out in the region Westelijke Mijnstreek (Western Mining District). The project will be conducted from December 2010 until December 2013. 

    The following phases can be distinguished:

    • phase 0: identification of the target group "frail elderly" 
    • phase 1:  interviews with 15-20 elderly in order to determine with who they would like to communicate in their environment by means of the device.
    • phase 2: exploration of the practical possibilities that meet their needs 
    • phase 3: development and testing of the device including additional features. Integration of possible adaptations.
    • phase 4: testing of the adapted version of the device among ten elderly who already have experience with technology 
    • phase 5: establishment of conditions for practical use.
    • phase 6: use of the device by fifty elderly and assessment of the additive value

    More information 
    Please contact Yan Ping Man (yanping.man@zuyd.nl)  

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  • Malberg new concept nurse home

    Evaluation of a new care concept in a nursing home for physically disabled elderly
    Vivre Living, Welfare and Care will have a new integral home-careconcept in indivual living for 52 physically disabled elderly who live in a nursing home. Care and hotel approximation have to slide easily into each other. The aim is to increase the autonomy from residents. 

    Accent of changes is situated at five areas, namely:

    • nurse and care,
    • treatment,
    • accompaniment,
    • hospitality,
    • useful day activities and
    • a technical communicating platform for emergency situations and communication with family and friends.

    The whole project aims results at the area of safety, lonelyness, depression, quality of life, self efficacy, independence, autonomy and empowerment. It also aims to increase workprocesses and decrease care problems, such as decubitus and malnutrition. 

    The reasearch question is: What are the effects of the new homeconcept for clients, staff and interaction with family members. 

    More information
    Please contact Monique Lexis (monique.lexis@zuyd.nl)

  • Playing with Robots

    "Playing with robots" is a research study of the application of the robot IROMEC in the Dutch occupational therapy with children with intellectual disabilities.

    The implementation in the Netherlands is done by the Centre of Research Technology in Care, Zuyd. Project manager is Gert Jan Gelderblom and Tanja Klein is the researcher. The research is conducted within the framework of a European Master of Sciences program in Occupational Therapy (University of Amsterdam). 

    The aim of the study "Playing with robots" is to increase understanding of the opportunity to play a robot play behavior of children to support and whether the robot has a value relative to the current game offerings. The study design was a single within-subject time series approach (quasi-experimental design). 3 children with developmental delay aged 2-16 are the study population. 

    More information 
    Please contact Tanja Klein (t.klein@zuyd.nl)

Cooperation

The research centre co-operates with several regional and national partners.

Publications

Below you can find the publications of the research centre. These consist of theses, articles, congress presentations and reports. 

  • Theses
    • Dalemans RJP. Stroke survivors with afasia and their social participation. Proefschrift Maastricht University. 12 maart 2010. Maastricht University Press. 
    • Claassen,R, & Könings, K (2012). Teachers' perspectives on and attitudes towards technology in care as new educational content in higher education. Thesis for MHPE program: Maastricht University. 
  • Realised articles

    • Claassen, R., Willems, C. (2011). Evaluation of the implementation of customized care by lifestyle monitoring. Assitive technology (Vol. 29, pp. 152-159). Maastricht: IOS Press. 
    • Dalemans R, Wade D, Heuvel W van den, Witte LP de. Facilitating the participation of people with aphasia in research: a description of strategies. Clin Rehabil 2009, 23(10): 948-59. 
    • Daniels R, Metzelthin S, van Rossum E, de Witte L, Kempen GIJM, van den Heuvel W. Interventies ter voorkoming van beperkingen bij thuiswonende kwetsbare ouderen; een systematische literatuurstudie. Tijdschrift voor Ouderengeneeskunde 2010; 1: 12-16. 
       
    • Daniels R, Metzelthin S, van Rossum E, de Witte L, van den Heuvel W. Interventions to prevent disability in frail community-dwelling older persons: an overview. European Journal of Aging, 2010; 7 (1): 37-55. 
    • Friederich A, Bernd T, Witte LP de. Methods for the selection of assistive technology in neurological rehabilitation. Scand J of Occup Ther 2009, dec 7 (EPub ahead of print). 
    • Houtermans-Auckel JP, van Rossum E, Teijink JAW, Dahlmans AAHR, Eussen EFB, Krasznai A, Nicolaï SPA, Welten RJThJ. Geen meerwaarde van een therapeutische elastische kous na 'korte strip' wegens varices. Ned. Tijdschr. voor Geneeskunde 2010; 154 (13): 592-596. 
    • Lexis M., Jansen N., Berkouwer A., Tjin a Ton G., Kant Y. Preventie langdurig ziekeverzuim en depressie. De psycholoog, juli-augustus 2012. 
    • Metzelthin SF, Daniëls R, van Rossum E, de Witte L, van den Heuvel WJA, Kempen GIJM. The psychometric properties of three self-report screening instruments for identifying frail older people in the community. BMC Public Health 2010, 10:176. 
    • Metzelthin SF, van Rossum E, de Witte LP, Hendriks MRC, Kempen GIJM. The reduction of disability in community-dwelling frail older people: design of a two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health 2010, 10:511. 
    • Reichrath E, Witte LP de, Winkens I. Interventions in general education for students with disabilities: a systematic review. International Journal of Inclusive Education 2010; 14(6): 563-580. 
    • B. Robins, K. Dautenhahn, E. Ferrari, G. Kronreif, B. Prazak-Aram, P. Marti, I. Iacono, G.J. Gelderblom, T. Bern, F. Caprino, E. Laudanna. Secnarios of robot-assisted play for children with cognitive and physical disabilities. Interaction Studies 13:2 (2012), 189-234. 
    • Roentgen UR, Gelderblom GJ, Soede M, Witte LP de. The impact of Electronic Mobility Devices for persons who are visually impaired: a systematic review of effects and effectiveness. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness 2009; 103 (11): 743-753. 
    • Roentgen, U.R., Gelderblom, G.J., & de Witte, L.P. (2012): User Evaluation of Two 
    • Electronic Mobility Aids for Persons Who Are Visually Impaired: A Quasi-Experimental Study Using a Standardized Mobility 
    • Course, Assistive Technology: The Official Journal of RESNA, 24:2, 110-120. DOI:10.1080/10400435.2012.659794 
    • Spreeuwenberg MD, Willems C, Verheesen H, Schols J, de, de Witte L. Dynamic lighting as a tool to influence the day-night rhythm of clients with psychogeriatric disorders: a pilot study in a Dutch nursing home. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010 May; 58(5): 981-2. 
    • Willems Charles G, Marieke D. Spreeuwenberg, Loek A. van der Heide, Luc P. de Witte, J. Rietman. The videocommunication to support care delivery to independently living seniors. Handbook of Digital homecare, successes and failures. Communications in medical and care Compunetics, volume 3. Springer 2011: 31-42. 
    • Willems Charles G., Marieke D. Spreeuwenberg, Loek A. van der Heide, Luc P. de Witte, J. Rietman. The introduction of activity monitoring as part of care delivery to independently living seniorsHandbook. Handbook of Digital homecare, successes and failures. Communications in medical and care Compunetics, volume 3. Springer 2011: 167-179. 
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  • Congress presentations

    • Bedaf S., Gelderblom G.J., Guichet F., Iacono I., Syrdal D., Dauthenhahn K., Michel H., Marti P., Amirabdolahian F., de Witte L. Functionality of service robotics for aging-in-place: what to build? Gerontechnology 2012: 11 (2): 361. 
    • Bemelmans R. Robots in de zorg. Lezing tijdens conferentie 'Vision & Robotics', 26-27 mei 2010, Veldhoven. 
    • Bemelmans R, Gelderblom G, Jonker P, Witte L de. The potential of socially assistive robotics in care for the elderly: A systematic literature review. International Society for Gerontechnology 7th World Conference, 27-30 mei, Vancouver. 
    • Bemelmans R, Gelderblom G, Witte L de. The potential of Socially Assistive Robotics in care for Elderly, a systematic review. 3rd International conference on Human-Robot Personal Relationships, 23-24 juni 2010, Leiden. 
    • Bernd T, Gelderblom GJ, Vanstipelen S, de Witte L. Short term effect evaluation of IROMEC involved therapy for children with intellectual disabilities Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Robotics, November 2010 Singapore. 
    • Gelderblom GJ, Rensma A. Robotics in Geriatric Care. Proceedings of the international conference on Gerontechnology, June 2010 Vancouver, Canada. 
    • Gelderblom GJ, Cremers G. Robotics in Care. Proceedings of the International Nursing Conference, October 4-5 2010, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 
    • Gelderblom GJ, Bemelmans R, Spierts N, Jonker P, de Witte L. Development of PARO Interventions for Dementia Patients in Dutch Psycho-Geriatric Care. Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Robotics, November 2010 Singapore. 
    • Gelderblom GJ, Bemelmans R., Jonker P., de Witte L. Social robot inventions in psycho-geriatric care. Gerontechnology 2012 :11 (2): 284. 
    • Neyens J., van Rossum E. Difiets: cycling in a virtual familiar environment. Gerontechnology 2012 : 11 (2) : 282. 
    • Roentgen, U.R., Gelderblom, G.J., & de Witte, L.P. (2011). Usability of Four Electronic Travel Aids Aimed at Navigation. Oral Presentation at KL Vision 2011, 10th International Conference on Low Vision, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, S.2.5, February 2011. 
    • Rossum E van. De praktische bruikbaarheid van frailty screening tools. Invited Lecture. Congres in kader van promotie drs. R. Gobbens, Universiteit van Tilburg, Tilburg, 26 mei 2010. 
    • Rossum E van. Innovatieve beweegprogramma's in het verpleeghuis: van beweegtuin tot virtueel fietsen. Invited lecture. Congres van de Geriatric Giants, Rijckholt, 22 oktober 2009. 
    • Steel E. ATES: Development of an Assistive Technology selection tool using the ICF. Presented at the Young Researchers Consortium of the 12th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP), July 12-13, 2010, Vienna University of Technology, Austria. 
    • Steel E. Linking instruments and documenting decisions in service delivery guided by an ICF-based tool for Assistive Technology selection. Paper presented at the 12th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP), July 14-16, 2010, Vienna University of Technology, Austria. 
    • Steel E. New tools for service delivery: not just about practitioners. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP), July 14-16, 2010, Vienna University of Technology, Austria. 
    • Steel E. An ICF based tool to support the AT selection process. Proceedings of the Recent Advances in Assistive Technology and Engineering (RAATE) conference November 30-December1, 2009, Coventry, United Kingdom. 
    • Steel E, Gelderblom GJ, de Witte L. Linking Instruments and Documenting Decisions in Service Delivery Guided by an ICF-Based Tool for Assistive Technology Selection. In: K. Miesenberger, J. Klaus, W. Zagler & A. Karshmer (Eds.). Proceeding of the International Conference on Computers Helping People with special needs (ICCHP) (Vol. 6179, pp. 537-543): Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. 2010. 
    • Spreeuwenberg MD, Willems C, Verheesen H , Schols J, Witte L de. Dynamic lighting as a tool to influence the day-night rhythm of clients with psychogeriatric disorders: a pilot study in a Dutch nursing home. In Proceedings of the Int Society of Gerontechnology 7th world Congress 27-30 May 2010 Vancouver, Canada. 
    • Spreeuwenberg M.D., Willems C.G.M.H., van der Heide L., Man Y.P. The introduction of video-communication in community-dwelling elderly. Gerontechnology 2012: 11 (2):283. 
    • Van der Heide L., Gelderblom G.J., Van der Pijl D., de Witte L. User experience guiding the development of a new robotic motion controlled arm support. Gerontechnology 2012 : 11 (2): 372. 
    • Verwey R, Ramakers N. ICT in het Zorgonderwijs. Medisch Informatiecongres, 26-11-2009, Veldhoven. 
    • Willems C, Spreeuwenberg MD, Claassen R. Activity monitoring as part of care delivery to independently living seniors. Proceedings of the International Society of Gerontechnology 7th world Congress 27-30 May 2010 Vancouver, Canada. 
    • Willems C. The use of activity monitoring in care for persons with dementia. Symposium organized as part of the International Society of Gerontechnology 7th world Congress 27-30 May 2010 Vancouver, Canada. Rapporten 
    • Gelderblom GJ, Cremers G, Rondags A. Rolstoelsimulator eindrapport. Hogeschool Zuyd, Heerlen. November 2010. 
    • Hamans M, Proces evaluatie Implementatie quietcare. Rapport Hogeschool Zuyd, Heerlen. November 2009. 
    • Hochgatterer A, Prazak-Aram B, Gelderblom GJ, Bernd T. End report on expert panel involvement Iromec deliverable 1.3. IROMEC project. IST-FP6-045356 - IROMEC. 2010. 
    • Verwey R, Vreeke E, Duijvendijk I van, Zonder R van. E-overdracht in de care, een inventarisatie. Nictiz, Den Haag, 2010. 
    • Willems C, Spreeuwenberg M, Heide L van der. ZorgTV bij Proteion thuis; monitor van gebruik tussen 2008 en 2010. Rapport HsZuyd, juli 2010. 
    • Witte L., Westerhof G., Neyens J., Spreeuwenberg M., Gelderblom G.J. Implementation of technology in elderly care (NVG symposium) Gerontechnology 2012:11 (2):281. 
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  • Reports

    • Hamans M, Proces evaluatie Implementatie quietcare. Rapport HSZuyd, november 2009. 
    • Hochgatterer A, Prazak-Aram B, Gelderblom GJ, Bernd T. End report on expert panel involvement Iromec deliverable 1.3. IROMEC project. IST-FP6-045356 - IROMEC. 2010. 
    • Marell-Jennekens J, Lancee J. Optimalisatie van de afhandeling van persoonsgebonden was. Een onderzoek naar mogelijkheden voor innovatie en verbetering met behulp van RFID technologie. Rapport HSZuyd, juli 2010. 
    • Pas Rianne (editor), ism GPT-Solutions, HsZuyd, Katholieke Hogeschool Kempen- MOBILAB, McRoberts, Maastricht UMC+ (IDEE, MUMC+), NBG, Neways, TNO, Vision Dynamics, ZorgtechnoService, "BioSensing" - Eindrapportage Pieken in de Delta 2007, Maastricht AZM, maart 2011. 
    • Verwey R, Vreeke E, Duijvendijk I van, Zonder R van. E-overdracht in de care, een inventarisatie. Nictiz, Den Haag, 2010. 
    • Willems C, Spreeuwenberg M, Heide L van der. ZorgTV bij Proteion thuis; monitor van gebruik tussen 2008 en 2010. Rapport HsZuyd, juli 2010. 
    • Gelderblom GJ, Cremers G, Rondags A. Rolstoelsimulator eindrapport. Rapport HSZuyd, november 2010. 
    • Gelderblom GJ , Bemelmans R, Spierts N, Paro in de ouderenzorg, interventieomschrijvingen. Rapport HSZuyd, november 2010. 
    • Willems C, Spreeuwenberg M, Heide L van der. Zorg op maat door leefstijlmonitoring, ervaringen van en met patienten. Rapport HSZuyd, januari 2011. 
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About the chair and the members

As off the 1st of January 2017 Ramon Daniëls is chair of the Research Centre for Assistive Technology in Health Care. The research centre consists of nineteen members. Under each name you will find the profile of the member. More information about Kirstem Peetoom will be available soon.

  • Sandra Bedaf

    Sandra Bedaf

    I finished both my bachelor Industrial Design Engineering and master Design for Interaction at the Technical University of Delft.

    During my master I specialized myself in technology, design, research and user testing in the healthcare sector. Since October 2011, I have been working as a junior researcher at Zuyd University. I am working on the ACCOMPANY project, the goal of this project is to develop a robot that supports elderly living at home. My work in the ACCOMPANY project will also form the basis for my PhD studies. 

    Contact: sandra.bedaf@zuyd.nl

  • Roger Bemelmans

    Roger Bemelmans

    Roger has a background in engineering. He has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science (Zuyd University) and Knowledge Engineering (Maastricht University), and a Master's degree in Operational Research (Maastricht University).

    Since 1998 he has been working at Zuyd University as Computer Science Lecturer and, as of 2007, also as researcher at the Centre of Research Technology in Care. Currently he is a PhD candidate, working on Socially Assistive Robots in Elderly Care. 

    Contact: roger.bemelmans@zuyd.nl  

  • René Claassen

    René Claassen

    My name is René Claassen and I am a registered Intensive Care Nurse. In 2004 I received my teaching degree and start working at the School of Nursing at the University of Applied Sciences Zuyd. There I got involved in a project wherein I helped to implement an electric health record in a general hospital and I start working at the research group for technology in Care. Improving acceptation of health informatics by providing meaningful learning increasingly got my attention in several projects. I hope to finish my MHPE (masters in Health Professions Education) in June 2012. 

    Contact: rene.claassen@zuyd.nl

  • Ger Cremers

    Ger Cremers

    Finished the study Electronics, Medical Technology at the Technical University in 1979.

    From 1979 active in Rehabilitation Research and Development (1979-1981, Technical University, Cybernetic Ergonomics; 1981-1982, Lucas Stichting, Rehabilitation Centre; 1982-2007, iRv, Institute for Rehabilitation Research; 2007-2009, Vilans, Centre of Excellence in Long Term and Social Care; Since September 2009 Zuyd University, Centre of Research Technology in Care). 
    His expertise is specifically related to development of assistive technology (wheelchair control , robot manipulator), man machine interaction (selection input control, driving electrical wheelchair, interaction with robot systems, computers and communication devices), application of technology in care (personal alarm, monitoring, home automation, robotics). 

    Contact: ger.cremers@zuyd.nl

  • Bea Diederen

    Bea Diederen

    Since 1981 I have been involveld as secretary / management assistant in national and international projects in the area of technology and accessibility to the Adelante Foundation, iRv - Institute for Rehabilitation and Disability and Vilans.  I provide the secretariat of the international journal Technology and Disability of which Thijs Soede is editor-in-chief.  Since September 1, 2009 I worked as a management assistant for the Centre of Research, Technology in Care of Zuyd University. 

    Contact: bea.diederen@zuyd.nl

  • Gert Jan Gelderblom

    Gert Jan Gelderblom

    Gelderblom is psychologist (experimental psychology) and obtained his PhD in Industrial Design Engineering. 

    Since 1997 I worked for iRv, Institute for Rehabilitation Research on the development and evaluation of Assistive Technology. In 2007 iRv merged into Vilans. Till 2009 I worked for Vilans continuing work in the same line of work. Since 2009 I have been part of the Centre of Research Technology in Care at Zuyd University. 

    In recent years in this work Robotics became a more prominent topic, assistive robotics and also care supporting robotics. Both national (Social robotics, McArm) and European (Movement, R4H and Iromec) projects have been executed or are being executed. 

    Contact: gertjan.gelderblom@zuyd.nl

  • Loek van der Heide

    Loek van der Heide

    In June 2009 I graduated as a movement scientist. Also in Maastricht, one year earlier I finished the bachelor, ' general health sciences. 'During four days a week, I am working as a junior researcher at Zuyd University on technologies that assist independently living people, like Caring Home and CareTV. I'm working at Zuyd University from february 2010. 

    Contact: loek.vanderheide@zuyd.nl

  • Jeanne Heijkers

    Jeanne Heijkers

    In 2007 I started to work at Zuyd at the school for occupational therapists, as a lecturer and at the same time as a researcher/projectworker for this Research Centre. I am an occupational therapist since 1991 and as of 2007 I got a masters degree in Health Care Science at Maastricht University.

    From 2000 until 2007 I worked at the IRV, Research Centre for rehabilitation and handicap. I worked as a consultant in home adjustments and assistive technology and as a research assistant in projects about work, adjustments and assistive technology for people with disabilities. At the moment I participate in a couple of projects on simple and high tec assistive technology.

    Contact: jeanne.heijkers@zuyd.nl

  • Renée van den Heuvel

    Renée van den Heuvel

    I graduated at Maastricht University in July 2012. The master 'Sports and Physical Activity Interventions' I completed matches with my bachelor Health Sciences (health promotion and movement sciences).

    Since August 2012 I have been working at Zuyd University as a trainee from the 'JumpStart'-traineeship. Within this traineeship I will get the opportunity to gather work experience in three different companies, during a period of two years. Beside I am attending an education program, in which management skills play an important role. In my current traineeship, within the Research Centre Technology in Care, I am working on different projects; such as the development of an Centre of Expertise Innovative Care and Technology, a project about screen-to-screen communication with frail elderly living at home and the evaluation of a new concept nurse home in Malberg, Maastricht. 

    Contact: renee.vandenheuvel@zuyd.nl

  • Yolande Keulers

    Yolande Keulers

    I work as management assistant at the Faculty of Health and Care / Centre of Research, Technology in Care of Zuyd University. 

    Contact: yolande.keulers@zuyd.nl

  • Monique Lexis

    Monique Lexis

    From January 2006 until October 2010, I worked as a PhD-student at the department of Epidemiology at Maastricht University. The research project aimed to examine the efficacy of a preventive strategy on the prevention of long-term sickness absence and major depression among employees of the ABN AMRO banking company in the Netherlands. Employees with mild depressive complaints and who were at high risk of future sickness absence were selected by a screening instrument, called Balansmeter in Dutch.

    Additionally, these employees received a newly developed preventive intervention. The preventive intervention proved to be effective in the prevention of long-term sickness absence and the reduction of depressive complaints. During the PhD-project, I completed a master's degree in Epidemiology at the EMGO Institute / VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. Before the start of the PhD-project, I studied Occupational Therapy at Hogeschool Zuyd and I completed the master Movement Sciences at Maastricht University. 
    Since May 2011, I have been working as a senior researcher at the Research Centre Technology in Care. Currently, I am working on different projects, such as a project on screen-to-screen communication in frail elderly living at home and a project on the development of movement programs in elderly living in nursing homes. Furthermore, I work on a project about implementation of the results of the abovementioned PhD-project at Maastricht University. 

    Contact: monique.lexis@zuyd.nl

  • Yan Ping Man

    Yan Ping Man

    Yan Ping Man is a junior researcher at the research group Technology in Care, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Heerlen, The Netherlands.

    After graduating from nursing school in 2006 at the HAN University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen, she worked as a visiting nurse for the home care organization Thuiszorg Pantein in Oss. Meanwhile, from 2008 to 2010, she followed a Master in Public Health at Maastricht University, specializing in Health Services Innovation. She successfully graduated in March 2010. 

    Since November 2010, she has been appointed as a junior researcher at the Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Heerlen, focusing on the "Tele-technological support for care and welfare" project. The aim is the development of a device allowing long-distance communications of frail elderly persons through images and voice. This would allow the elderly to improve their self-efficacy and to actively participate in society. This project is part of the Transition Project 4 (TP4) named "Support of frail elderly, aimed at optimizing their functioning and quality of life". 

    Additionally, Yan Ping Man occasionally works as a nurse for the organization Vivre in Maastricht. 

    Contact: yanping.man@zuyd.nl

  • Uta Roentgen

    Uta Roentgen

    2000 Bachelor degree Occupational Therapy (Zuyd University, Heerlen, the Netherlands). 
    2000 - 2007 Work as Occupational Therapist at a Rehabilitation Centre and Nursing Home in Germany. 
    2007 Master degree Health Science (Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands). 
    Since 2007 PhD candidate, title research project: "Study on the effect of innovative Electronic Mobility Aids (EMA) on participation of visually impaired persons". 

    Contact: uta.roentgen@zuyd.nl

  • Nadine Spierts

    Nadine Spierts

    In March 2010 I graduated as occupational therapist at Zuyd University. My first project as Junior Researcher was "Social robots in elderly care, specific Paro". At the moment I work within the following projects: "Focusing at optimize the process of functioning and quality of life with the frail elderly", "Easy Reach project" and "Dynamic Light in Domushome (home for people with a drug addiction)". Beside this I work as occupational therapist with elderly who are visually handicapped. 

    Contact: nadine.spierts@zuyd.nl

  • Renée Verwey

    Renée Verwey

    Renée has a bachelor degree in Nursing and two master degrees, one in Online Education and Training and one in Public Health. At the beginning of her career she worked as a psychiatric nurse in a hospital and later on as a teacher at the master Advanced Nursing Practice at Zuyd University. She also workes as a researcher with a special focus on the implementation of Electronic Health Records.

    From september 2010 she works as a PhD student at Maastricht University on a project called It's LiFe! In this project a tool is developed, tested and effects will be measured in a RCT. The tool will support chronically ill people in gaining a more active lifestyle. 

    Contact: renee.verwey@zuyd.nl

  • Charles Willems

    Charles Willems

    Graduation in Biology (University of Nijmegen) followed by a PhD position in the biomedical area (University of Amsterdam).

    Several positions in the field of applied technological research at the level of Dutch government and research organizations. Since 1994 he is a senior staff member of Vilans (and its predecessor Institute of rehabilitation research). His main concern is to perform applied research. Initially the research theme was directed to support people with special needs with assistive technology to support them in independent living. Gradually a shift has been made towards the use of technology in care support.

    Projects are performed in close co-operation with care institutions in the region Limburg. Contributions are given towards knowledge transfer at a national level through the "knowledge cirkel Domotica". In September 2009 this position was changed to senior researcher at Zuyd University. Starting at October 2007 a part-time position at Saxion university of applied sciences was accepted as associate professor in the area Technology in Care and Wellbeing.

    Contact: charles.willems@zuyd.nl

Closed projects

Below you can find the closed projects. 

  • Biosensing

    The ongoing development in the field of motion sensors, wireless networks and embedded software makes possible the remote monitoring of movement, mechanical stress, position, and physiological parameters of patients and injured athletes. Clinicians may thereby view the movements and physical stresses in the daily activities of patients or athletes. Moreover, it is possible for the patient or athlete to receive direct feedback, promoting their participation in the healing process. 

    Biosensing is part of the program "Peaks in the Delta" carried out by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in cooperation with industry, research institutions and regional authorities. Working on the Biosensing project are: Maastricht University (AZM, IDEE, movement science; the Catholic University of Kempen; Zuyd University; TNO; Mc Roberts (motion technology); Neways Electronics; and ZorgTechnoService. Project members from Zuyd University are: Luc de Witte, Frank Vlaskamp, Ger Cremers and Hans Sauren. The Biosensing project is developing new concepts, including an intelligent knee brace and a motion sensor that can automatically recognise activities. Some applications will become available for demonstration. The Biosensing project ran until September 2010. 

    More information 
    Please contact Frank Vlaskamp (f.j.m.vlaskamp@hszuyd.nl)  

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  • Care Lifestyle Monitoring

    Change in the performance of daily activities can signal a need for support. It is known that people with dementia experience a gradual change in their day and night rhythms. It also appears that they may encounter very gradual disruptions in their daily routines. This may be reflected for instance in not having grocery shopping done, no longer closing windows and doors for when necessary for safety etc. Through the use of commercially available technology (Quiet Care ®), these activities, and changes therein, can be monitored. 

    Working closely with Proteion, a healthcare organization operating in North and Central Limburg, the Research Centre analyses how the information from the activity monitors can support service delivery for their clients. Initially a brief pilot study was performed. It detailed the organisational preconditions for the deployment of technology to support organised care. Following these results a follow-up study has been organised where this care management (including technology) is utilised by Proteion clients. The aim is to support the clients to maintain independent living for as long as possible. The Research Centre therefore provides support in the form of training for employees of the organisation.

    We are also conducting a study on the impact of using this technology in care management for both the client (e.g. feeling of security) and for the organisation (e.g. reduction of workload, quality of care. Over time other healthcare organisations in the region (Zorggroep, Savant, Land van Horne) and their clients are becoming involved. With the increase in scale of service delivery, the conditions for providing this form of care management can be optimised. 
    The report "Achieving successful implementation of digital care" is available for download. 

    More information 
    Please contact Dr. Charles G. Willems (charles.willems@zuyd.nl). 

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  • Care TV

    In 2006 Proteion began implementing Care TV. It is an interactive video network that supports the use of remote care. The user can communicate with a remote nurse 24 hours a day. The communication device consists of a video and voice connection. Thus it is possible to quickly seek care and effectively respond.

    The use of this technology in health and social care services is still in development. There remain fundamental questions to be answered over the effective use of such communication methods.

    • For whom is Care TV an appropriate form of communication?
    • Which services can be provided in this way?
    • What improvements are required in the technology?
    • How do you, as an organisation, use this form of service?

    To answer these and other questions a Care TV monitor study has been set-up. The development and use of Care TV will be followed and adjusted on the basis of systematic data collection and analysis. 

    More information 
    Please contact Dr. Charles G. Willems (charles.willems@zuyd.nl)

  • Comfort Meeting Point Parkstad

    The main objective of this project is to improve communication between different people by using image communication.

    Six organizations are involved in this project, namely: Atrium MC, Licom N.V., Meander Groep ZL, Mondriaan Zorggroep, Mondriaan Schoon en Rabobank Parkstad. A top-down approximation is used. The top of the organisations decided to implementate this product. 

    Image communication exist of a few services:

    • video contact,
    • video deliberate ,
    • video instruction and
    • video journal.

    Expectation is that new services will be developed. 
    The research centre will evaluate qualitative effects of image communication of employees, caregivers, and not-care clients. Central is the user perspective. By means of observations, questionnaires and interviews data will gathered. 

    More information 
    Please contact Monique Lexis (monique.lexis@zuyd.nl)
     

  • Disposable Bedpan

    The question of whether technology could play a role in addressing hygiene arose from the Laurentius Hospital in Roermond (LZR). Can hygiene and hygienic behaviour in the LZR be improved? From this question the "Hygiene Valley" project was initiated.

    Together with several companies and hospitals, the Research Centre for Technology in Care is investigating promising innovations in this field. The Research Centre's role is to research the context of the Hygiene Valley project and contribute to the implementation based on the outcomes of the project.

    After the Research Centre's initial exploratory study in May 2009 the following innovations were selected for further investigation:

    • a smart trolley;
    • hand hygiene and new products for hand care and protection during care procedures; and
    • an alternative to the bedpan, which has been used in its original form for centuries, but might be replaced by more ergonomic, safe and hygienic design.

    Following the initial report from the Hygiene Valley project, identifying five hygiene problems from the Laurentius Hospital which called for innovative solutions, the company Arion launched the project, financed with an innovation voucher from SenterNovem (currently a Dutch Agency), to design a disposable alternative to the traditional bedpan. Despite widespread agreement on the discomfort of bedpans, there have been few serious attempts to develop good alternatives. 

    From October 2009 to February 2010 students from the Faculty of Health and Care (nursing and occupational therapy) at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Heerlen collaborated with students from the Media & Design Academy KHLim in Genk, supervised by staff from the Research Centre for Technology in Care, developing idealistic and realistic concepts to the replace the traditional bedpan. Arion will present the results from the project to experts, for inclusion in the further development of a disposable alternative. 

    More information 
    Please contact: 

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  • Easy Reach

    The aim of the Easy Reach project is to develop a tool or tools for elderly people to increase their independent self care by using that tool in a correct way to wear their theratpeutic elastic stockings.

    One of the outstanding problems regarding the donning and doffing of therapeutic elastic stockings (TES) is that a large group of clients who wear those stockings, seems to be unable to handle those stockings independently. Despite the arsenal of supporting tools! This is caused by the inability to bend over and / or the inability to reach up to their feet. With the growing number of elderly in this region but also nationally, this group will continue to grow. This is demonstrated by the growing number of signals about the market. 
    The above stated problem could be resolved by overcome the distance between the hands and feet in some way. 

    Project goal
    The aim of the Easy Reach project is to develop a tool or tools for elderly people to increase their independent self care by using that tool in a correct way to wear their TES. 
    To reach the outcome for this project it is necessary to perform the next steps:

    1. Problem analysis
    2. Preparation program requirements
    3. Concept development
    4. Prototyping

    Nursing-, occupational therapy-, and design students will work together in this project and are supervised by teaching staff from the Centre of Knowledge in Technology and Care and by Arion. 

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  • Iromec

    IROMEC - Interactive RObotic social MEdiators as Companions 
    State of the art research emphasises the important role of play in child development as a crucial vehicle for learning about the physical and social environment, the self, and for developing social relationships.

    The European project IROMEC targets children who are prevented from playing, either due to cognitive, developmental or physical impairments which affect their playing skills, leading to general impairments in their learning potential and more specifically resulting in isolation from the social environment. The project will investigate how robotic toys can provide opportunities for learning and enjoyment. The developed robotic system will be tailored towards becoming a social mediator, empowering children with disabilities to discover the range of play styles from solitary to social and cooperative play. Robustness, dependability as well as "plug&play" operation of the robot system are specially addressed. 

    Funding
    IROMEC is a Specific Targeted Research Project (contract number IST-FP6-045356) co-funded by the European Commission within the RTD activities of the Strategic Objective SO 2.6.1 "Advanced Robotics" of the 6th Framework Programme. 

    Motivation 
    In the past 'child's play' has often been neglected in comparison to educational objectives such as developing mathematical or language skills. However, state of the art research emphasises the important role of play in children's development, a crucial vehicle to learn about themselves, the environment, and to develop social relationships. IROMEC targets children who are prevented from playing, either due to cognitive or multiple impairments which affect their playing skills. The underlying assumption is that providing tailored means to encourage play using a robotic toy will break down barriers for development through play, fostering individual development up the person's potential. A robot may make this possible. A clearly user-centred perspective will focus on the needs and requirements of the user groups.

    IROMEC will conduct research into how robotic toys can be tailored towards becoming social mediators, empowering children with disabilities to play and discover the range of play styles from solitary to social and cooperative play. The project is a new and highly interdisciplinary initiative combining robotics, ICT and other disciplines like cognitive sciences, developmental psychology, pedagogy, human-machine interface and others in order to open a dedicated possibility for "information technologies" to meet societal demands. 

    Project goals IROMEC aims to empower children with disabilities to prevent dependency and isolation, develop their potential and learn new skills by development of a robot-supported play environment which meets the users' expectations for a safe and reliable, versatile and tailorable, ready to use and affordable system. 

    Objectives
    The main objectives of the project are:

    • Addressing the three main aspects of playing (enhancement of "Quality of Life", enhancement of "Social Inclusion", enhancement of "Learning and Therapy") through delivering a social robot system acting as a social mediator in a play environment that can be configured depending on the specific needs of cognitive and multiple disabled children.
    • Providing a concrete solution
    • Pursuing an active dissemination and exploitation strategy by which primary and secondary users, therapists and educational institutions are early and continuously informed about the product under development.

    Consortium

    More information
    For questions, suggestions, user involvement or other general project-related issues, please contact Dr. Gert Jan Gelderblom, (g.j.gelderblom@zuyd.nl).

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  • Monitoring Physical Frailty

    The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an innovative system for monitoring physical frailty indicators (balance, gait, muscle strength, endurance and physical activity) in community-dwelling older people.

    The system gives feedback to the user about his/her functional status and warns the user and/or care providers if a change in the indicators occurs. With this feedback the system supports the user in his/her self-management regarding physical functioning. It also enables monitoring of the development over time. In this way the negative consequences of frailty can be postponed or prevented and care can be tuned to the needs related to changes in functional status ('reactive care'). 

    Project parts
    The project consists of three parts. Part one concerns the development of the monitoring system, which consists of a bathroom scale measuring weight and balance, a gripball measuring muscular strength in the hand, and an mobile phone measuring physical activity and gait.

    Part two regards the development of the feedback- and advisory program, that gives simple and easy to understand feedback to the user, with an individual advice regarding physical activity, related to personal goals. Elderly people will be intensively involved in the development process. The result will be tested in small scale pilot studies.

    Part three is an evaluation study in 50 older persons with early stage frailty symptoms. These persons will be approached through the outpatient fall clinic of Orbis Medical Centre (department of clinical geriatrics). The participating persons will use the system during 12 months, regularly supported by a physiotherapist. The evaluation is directed to technical performance of the system, functionality and usability for the target group, and the added value of the system for the care process as perceived by the users, their informal caregivers and professional caregivers. Also, the relation of the data provided by the system and outcome measures of functional status will be studied. 

    Co-operation
    The project is a collaborate activity of Maastricht University, Zuyd University of Applies Sciences, Orbis Medical Centre, the Technical University of Troyes and older persons themselves via the support organization 'Huis voor de Zorg' (English = Home for Care). The project fits closely to the running transition program in the region around Sittard. The system to be developed can play a role in identifying/detecting frailty and in tuning the care process to actual needs and changes in physical functioning. 

    More information 
    Please contact Marieke Spreeuwenberg (marieke.spreeuwenberg@zuyd.nl).  
     

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  • Sjoboks

    You probably know the touch screens in shops like the do-it-yourself and household supply stores, which demonstrate products. Would it not be great if you, as a senior citizen, could obtain information on handy, comfort and simple assistive products, displayed at places where you are anyway? At for example, general practitioners, libraries, or community centres.

    The aim of Sjoboks is to provide objective information to support independent and comfortable living of community-dwelling elderly in their own environment, enabling them to continue their activities of daily living, self-care and leisure activities. The project has been based on an inventory of the top 10 problems community dwelling elderly experience in daily life and a selection of simple assistive or comfort products that could be used to cope with these problematic situations. A first prototype of Sjoboks with a touch screen interface has been developed, tested and used by a pilot group of end users. 

    In the second phase, more information will be added by using text, pictures and informative films. This information will as well be added to as partly gathered from Vilans' database of assistive technology devices. The third phase will focus on validation and further testing of the software, hardware and content. 
    Finally, Sjoboks will be widely introduced on the Dutch market. 

    More information 
    Please contact Jeanne Heijkers (jeanne.heijkers@zuyd.nl).  

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  • Toolkit

    The project aims to develop a set of relatively simple technological products and tools (a toolkit) that can be used for the independence and autonomy of older people are those unable (whether due to a specific disease or condition) to support, and a decision tree that clients and carers themselves can use to determine which products / devices are suitable and useful.

    The toolkit and the decision tree must be very easily understandable and available to the target group without the intervention of professionals. The idea is to disseminate the toolkit through popular stores such as HEMA or Kruidvat. A marketing strategy must be developed, and that is where companies have a key role.

    The current project concerns the development and evaluation of the toolkit and decision tree and an exploration of the possibilities for dissemination. Syntens and Huis voor de Zorg have pledged to collaborate, in consultation with other stakeholders, and coordinate the marketing and distribution. 

    Goal
    The result of the project should be that elderly people and their caregivers have a simple and accessible supports for their lifestyle of self-reliance and independence. The expectation is that the deployment of the technology used in the toolkit will results in a decreased demand for support through the WMO system, and a decreased burden on caregivers. The maintenance of self-sufficiency and independence also presents the opportunity for increased participation in the target population. A positive side effect is that the project offers opportunities for companies to bring new care-related products on to the market. 

    More information 
    Please contact Jeanne Heijkers (jeanne.heijkers@zuyd.nl) and Frans Schoonbrood (frans.schoonbrood@zuyd.nl)

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  • Wheelchair Simulator

    The Research Centre for Technology in the Care is working with two paediatric rehabilitation centres and Vilans to develop a computer set-up and program enabling the most suitable system for electric wheelchairs can be selected, and less time and money to be spent on wheelchair driver training.

    For children with disability an electric wheelchair is often the only solution for independent movement. When they are less dependent on others it is also good for their development.

    Currently it is often difficult for therapists to determine what kind of system is most appropriate. For examples, can the child the best operate the wheelchair by the chin, hand or foot? At what place on the wheelchair should the joystick be placed? These decisions should be practical. Result: the wheelchair is constantly changing and that takes time and money. It would be easier if therapists had the opportunity to look at the possibilities and best options in advance of making such decisions. 

    The Research Centre is working with project partners on a computer set-up and program for wheelchair simulation, in which a therapist can easily connect various controls, and a child can use the computer to practice various basic tasks. This arrangement helps the therapist quickly make a good choice while the child learns the basic skills in a virtual environment of the wheelchair ride. 

    More information
    For more information please contact Ger Cremers (ger.cremers@zuyd.nl)  

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  • Murinet

    MURINET (Multidisciplinary Research Network on Health and Disability in Europe) is a European project that aims to enhance participation and inclusion of people with disabilities through application of the World Health Organisation's ICF (International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health).

    As a network partner, Zuyd Hogeschool is working on the clinical and rehabilitation applications of the ICF in the area of Assistive Technology (AT) selection.

    The ICF provides the theoretical foundation for this EU research by emphasizing the need to look at the complete lived experience of disability and by providing a common language that links together clinical and rehabilitative services, population data collection, and other health-related services, such as education and employment.

    Thirteen institutions from the seven different countries are collaborating on research over a four year period (2007-2010) to enable the EU to adopt and ICF-based interdisciplinary approach to health and disability. The network also provides opportunities for the training and professional development of early stage researchers from various disciplines to become experts in the field of health and disability research and management.

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Research centre Assistive Technology in Health Care
Henri Dunantstraat 2
6419 PB Heerlen