Smart Technologies in the Home: A New Strategy for Seniors with Severe Mental Illness
AUTHORS & CREDENTIALS: Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, RN PhD; & Jonathan Serrato, MSc
AFFILIATED INSTITUTIONS: Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada; Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We would like to acknowledge the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and London-Middlesex Community Housing (LMCH) for their participation in this study. We would also like to acknowledge Rogers for providing a discount on Wi-Fi for participants.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN WORKING ON THIS PROJECT? DESCRIBE THE MAIN ISSUE OR CHALLENGE THE PROJECT AIMS TO SOLVE.
Many people experiencing mental illness remain in hospital or are readmitted because appropriate home supports in the community is not always provided or available. Smart technologies are rapidly being developed to facilitate communication and secure data sharing but without being properly evaluated as integrative components of care.
BRIEFLY SUMMARIZE YOUR PROJECT.
This project is providing a choice of smart technologies to individuals with severe mental illness such as psychotic disorder and/ or mood disorders. These technologies include smartphones, weigh scales, Fitbits, medication dispensers, and a custom-built touch-screen monitor. The data from these devices are wirelessly synced with the Lawson Integrated Database where care providers can log-in and access the data. Further, care providers can respond and send messages, questionnaires, and prompts to the individual’s smartphone as well as reminders to the touch-screen monitor. This therefore allows for 2-way communication and enhancements to the therapeutic relationship between participant and care provider.
DISCUSS SOME OF THE PAST, PRESENT, AND/ OR INTENDED FUTURE REAL-WORLD APPLICATIONS OF THIS WORK.
Looking forward, the customisable nature of this innovation with the choice of devices available can allow for a personalized intervention. It is envisaged that this approach will provide a cost-effective and efficient method of mental health support for care providers. Further, it is anticipated that individuals with mental illness will demonstrate greater housing stability and fewer undesirable interactions with the health care and justice systems as well as greater community integration.
IF APPLICABLE, IDENTIFY ANY IMPORTANT POLICY IMPLICATIONS THIS WORK MAY HAVE.
This study aims to revolutionise mental health care through a technological intervention that could be adopted into health care policy. This would include revisions to the Assistive Devices Program in Ontario which does not currently provide devices for mental illness.