A trajectory for technology-supported elderly care work


To enable elderly people to live independently in their homes, the government aims to de-institutionalize elderly care services by upscaling home care services and care housing and downscaling long-term stays at nursing homes. Increasing use of assistive technologies will play a significant role in the ongoing transformation of care services, however our empirical data shows how difficult appropriation and use of technology are for elderly end-users. In this paper, we suggest a comprehensive elderly care trajectory model that includes the collaborative work of self-care, formal care, informal care and technology. We build our trajectory on empirical studies of elderly people using assistive technology in a care housing and in nursing homes, in addition to Corbin and Strauss’ classic work. Our proposal of an elderly care trajectory fits with the municipal care staircase, but challenges its minimalist service level focus, as well as its late and limited introduction of technology.

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  1. 1.

    SVOP binder is in practise a tool for cooperation and coordination of the care work in the home (Petrakow, 2007). The tool is used to support home care workers to better be able to cooperate and coordinate their efforts during the care process by access to accurate information and communication. Thus, the SVOP binder is a shared information space for the network of various care providers.

  2. 2.

    The concept of knotworking, also referred to as the knotworking model developed by Engeström et al. (1999) is applied to understand contexts that are “boundary-crossing, collective problem-solving way of organizing work” (p.322). In a speech at IFLA 2012 Yrjö Engeström talked about the concept of knotworking where he refers to this concept as a “space” where distinct actors can get together and “tie a knot” collaborating on a problem that needs to be solved rapidly and efficient. The model is relative complex so a brief description of the model in a footnote is not giving the concept justice.

  3. 3.

    Today, voluntary organizations provide social visits to elderly people with minor or no need for public healthcare services.


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We want to acknowledge the Norwegian Research Council who supported this research by the grant number 220111 and titled “Developing new ICT to support and assist elderly people in private and public spaces at care housing”. The finalising of this work is also partially supported by the Norwegain Research Council by the Multimodal Elderly Care systems (MECS) project, under grant agreement 247697.

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Woll, A., Bratteteig, T. A trajectory for technology-supported elderly care work. Comput Supported Coop Work 28, 127–168 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10606-018-9340-2

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  • Elderly care
  • Trajectory
  • Healthcare services
  • Assistive technology