Since the kick-off of the ACCESS project in 2013, partners have been developing and testing the highly innovative app technology connecting seniors and their carers in three European countries: Belgium, Italy and France. The results of the testing will be made public at the final conference organised by POUR LA SOLIDARITÉ in Brussels end August 2016.
The European project ACCESS is carried out by 8 partners from Belgium, France and Italy. ACCESS develops an existing software platform connecting the older persons and the formal and informal carers by a computer, smartphone or tablet, and extends the platform with new services and functions. The system allows the management of visits, calls and daily activities. Also, it reminds older people what to do (taking the pills, exercises, etc.), enables the exchange of messages, documents, and enables access to proxy services (transport, shopping, etc.). In addition, the platform is connected to sensors and medical equipment (weight, blood pressure, etc.) and alerts caregivers in case of problems. The app development is based on demand and specific context of each country involved, providing a range of adaptable services.
Two hundred older users and carers are involved in the development and testing of the ACCESS app in the three countries. The testing will last from end 2015 to summer 2016, and it includes several aspects: ethical reflections on the use of the app in each country, recruitment of users, testing strictly speaking, and testing evaluation.
The overall evaluation results of the testing will be made public at the final conference in Brussels (end August 2016). This event will offer the opportunity to wide public to become familiar with the ACCESS app, and with the transnational testing evaluation results.
Once the modelling work is completed and once the technical aspects at industrial level are validated, the ACCESS system is intended to be marketed across Europe. Partnerships will be offered to professional organisations of caregivers, associations of older people, senior public health agencies, insurance companies, and various European networks involved in the identification of new partners throughout Europe.
ACCESS was officially launched on 25 October 2013 in Gennevilliers, by both partners’ kick-off meeting and a public conference. The parallel public conference aimed at spreading the information on the project, as well as sharing information on aging trends and challenges for innovation in Europe.
Then in 2014, generic needs have been identified in each country at stake.
- In Belgium, the ACCESS system aims to a target composed of older people with different forms of fragility.
- In France, the system also targets older people, yet its requirements address the optimisation of the activities of home care provided by nurses.
- In Italy, the system targets older people with cognitive impairments taken into care by a medical centre, and its requirements will address the optimisation of the clinical treatment plan monitored at patient’s home with the help of the family caregiver. Thus differently from other European Partners, in Italy technological experimentation will be conducted with a sample of persons with cognitive impairment referring to the Regional Centre for Alzheimer Disease of the University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’.
Accordingly, in France and in Belgium, the ACCESS system is being developed to focus on sharing information between family and paid carers/professionals. In Italy, the ACCESS system supports communication between hospital-based doctors and carers in the older person’s home, and allows remote monitoring of the patient following changes to medication using sensors.
In 2015, the ethical committees set up in the three countries gave acceptance of the protocol of experimentation. At the end of 2015, the recruitments of the end users are almost entirely completed, trials have already started in Italy and in France. Trials in Belgium are expected to start in by February/March 2016.