2007, pp 162-169

Structuring Community Care using Multi-Agent Systems

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Abstract

Community care is a complex operation that requires the interaction of large numbers of dedicated individuals, managed by an equally wide range of organisations. They are also by their nature highly mobile and flexible, moving between clients in whatever order person receiving care is that they receive what they expect regularly, reliably and when they expect to receive it. Current systems are heavily provider focused on providing the scheduled care with as high apparent cost effectiveness as possible. Unfortunately, the lack of focus on the client often leads to inflexibility with expensive services being provided when they are not needed, large scale duplication of effort or inadequate flexibility to change the care regime to meet changing circumstances. Add to this the problems associated with the lack of integration of emergency and routing care and the extensive support given by friends and family and many opportunities exist to improve both the levels of support and the efficiency of care. The move towards Individual Care Plans requires much closer monitoring to ensure that the care specified for each individual is actually delivered and when linked with smart home technology in conjunction with appropriate sensors allows a much richer range of services to be offered which can be customised to meet the needs of each individual, giving them the assurance to continue to live independently.