Drink Smart - A Smart Way to Address Dehydration
Ensuring an adequate supply of fluids to the body is a major challenge for the elderly, informal caregivers and mobile nurses. As age increases, both the body’s water content and the sense of thirst decrease. This makes elderly people particularly vulnerable to dehydration. This can lead to confusion, apathy and life-threatening circulatory collapse with unconsciousness or renal failure and can require acute hospitalisation.
An Intelligent Drinking System
The main focus of the Drink Smart project is to support the independence of elderly people with and without chronic diseases, so that they can remain in their familiar home environment. To achieve this, an intelligent drinking system was developed. A sensor system installed in the drinking vessel measures daily fluid consumption, which can be controlled by a serious gaming concept in a motivational way. The data produced can be recorded and documented via an existing electronic care documentation system. Caregivers can thus be promptly informed and can react immediately in acute cases.
From Data Collection to User Profiles
In the first phase of the project, eleven individual structured interviews, a guideline-oriented focus group of seven participants, as well as six cultural probes were conducted using social scientific methods involving 24 primary end users. In addition, 42 secondary end users were interviewed using the same survey methods, including ten individual structured interviews with relatives, seventeen individual interviews with nurses, a focus group of five nurses and another focus group of ten people.
The user profile was created from the extensive data material with the help of compression concepts. During validation in the home care setting, the prototypes are evaluated with approximately twenty users. The development of the product follows the user-centred design approach combined with current methods of product development. A marketable prototype (hardware and server/application software) for a smart drinking system will be available at the end of the project.
University of Applied Sciences FH Campus Wien
Further Project Partners
- akquinet ristec GmbH
- Schorm Gesellschaft m. b. H.
Dr Elisabeth Haslinger-Baumann