Compatibility of technology and networks in home care

  • Project team:

    Decker, Michael (Project leader ITAS); Bettina-Johanna Krings; Nora Weinberger

  • Funding: HeiKa (Heidelberg Karlsruhe Research Partnership) and Research bridge "Nature, Technology, Society"
  • Start date: 2014
  • End date: 2014
  • Project partners: Prof. Dr. Johannes Eurich (Project leader), Dr. Jürgen Hädrich (Institute for the Study of Christian Social Service, Faculty of Theology, Heidelberg University)
  • Research group: Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

Current prognoses on demographic change assume that the number of elderly people in modern, high-tech societies will significantly increase in the coming decades. These shifts in the population pyramid seem to be statistically well recorded and include a detailed depiction of the age cohorts with their special characteristics. It is also assumed that the number of people with dementia will rise as well due to the general increase in life expectancy. In Germany alone, 1.2 million people suffer for instance from mild to severe dementia. According to estimates, their number will double by 2050. Today, already 69% of the inhabitants of nursing homes suffer from dementia. This is a huge challenge for the nursing of people in need of this care.

Against this background, new forms of nursing care are established, especially for home care. This field should be strengthened at the same time since it allows the patients to stay in their familiar surroundings as long as possible, which is considered a positive aspect. There are various approaches to networking in home care on very different levels. Regarding the medical care, there is a tendency for closer co-operation of the individual instances (general practitioner, neurologist, neurological department of a hospital and also nursing services) in the treatment of patients. In order to guarantee adequate care, some initiatives try to improve the network of different providers of health and long-term care insurances, public institutions, and caregivers to achieve increases in efficiency and effectiveness. An important aspect is the involvement of volunteers in home care and the establishment of a support scheme to remove a considerable burden from nursing relatives.

A different and additional way of help in home care is the use of technical support systems, especially for people with dementia. This is also evidenced by the large number of projects on "Ambient Assisted Living" (AAL). The application of technical support systems provides people with dementia with an interactive system which is i) basically geared to their abilities and needs, ii) always available, and iii) also offers patients security and as much autonomy as possible. In addition, this system would allow specific and, above all, individual therapy and fostering. This is not possible so far; for time and budget reasons nursing care has to concentrate on satisfying basic physiological needs.

However, the question remains how technology can be purposefully employed in the interaction of care networks regarding their structures, management, and implementation. The details of network organization and network management have to be correlated with the operating conditions of technology. To date there are only few studies which have observed these individual aspects. In the framework of this project, we will therefore focus on these specific questions to develop a technology design which is tailored to the needs of the particular nursing situation.


Journal Articles
Weinberger, N.; Krings, B.-J.; Decker, M.; Wiloth, S.; Eurich, J.
Ein Netzwerk der Sorge flechten - Der Einsatz assistiver Technologien in regionalen Versorgungsnetzwerken für Menschen mit Demenz
2023. Pflege & Gesellschaft, 28 (2), 137–152 
Weinberger, N.
Blinde Flecken in der Entwicklung von assistiven Technologien in der Pflege
2022. Digitalisierung und Pflege - Technik als Ausgleich für Mangel? (2022), Online, February 24, 2022 
Book Chapters
Krings, B.-J.; Weinberger, N.
Who cares about care? Vier Thesen zum Diskurs über Technik in der Pflege
2021. Neue Technologien für die Pflege. Grundlegende Reflexionen und pragmatische Befunde. Hrsg.: M. Hülsken-Giesler, 135–152, V & R unipress. doi:10.14220/9783737012027.135
Journal Articles
Eurich, J.; Wiloth, S.; Weinberger, N.; Krings, B.-J.; Decker, M.
Explorative Analyse regionaler Unterstützungsnetzwerke für ältere, pflegebedürftige Menschen
2019. Pflege und Gesellschaft, (2), 151–166 
Decker, M.
Smarte Technologien - Smarte Entscheidungen? Kognitive Systeme im Spiegel der TA
2016. Smart New World - Was ist smart an smarten Technologien? Internationale Konferenz (TA16), Wien, A, 30.Mai 2016 
Krings, B.-J.
Können neue Technologien Fürsorge und Care abdecken?
2016. Workshop ’Fürsorge und Technologien im Rahmen des Forschungsverbundes ForGenderCare’, München, 8.Juli 2016 
Decker, M.
Assessing technologies. Towards responsible innovation?
2015. 7th Joint Korean-German Conference ’Science and Innovation’, Seoul, Korea, October 13, 2015 
Book Chapters
Krings, B.-J.; Böhle, K.; Decker, M.; Nierling, L.; Schneider, C.
Serviceroboter in Pflegearrangements
2014. Zukünftige Themen der Innovations- und Technikanalyse : Lessons learned und ausgewählte Ergebnisse. Hrsg.: M. Decker, 63–121, KIT Scientific Publishing 
Decker, M.
Responsible research and innovation. A demand oriented approach?
2014. Vortr.: HEIKA Heidelberg Karlsruhe Research Partnership, Karlsruhe, July 24, 2014 


Prof. Dr. Michael Decker
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Phone: +49 721 608-23007