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Personal Assistant Unit for Living (PAUL).

Summary

Description

Operational Information

Evaluation

More Info

Summary

PAUL (Personal Assistant Unit for Living) is a pilot research project that uses an easy-to-use touch screen computer, providing a number of services to support older people to remain independent as long as possible.

The system has different levels of complexity for comfort and safety. The tenants can use this device to check who is at the front door, to turn house lights on and off and to access communication and entertainment via the Internet. Red lights indicate if windows are open, and there is a door camera and a microphone. Moreover, potential hazards, such as leaving the stove or electric iron on, are automatically removed when leaving the apartment. Since autumn 2010 the sensors are connected to an emergency centre, which can act if needed. The project team built a barrier free housing community for older people, where PAUL can be tested.

The implementation of this project was funded by the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Finance and Construction and the housing associations were involved from the beginning. Currently, the pilot stage has ended. The costs of using PAUL are included in the price of renting the devices and do not exceed the usual rate of similar recently built barrier-free apartments.

The project is continuously being evaluated by the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. Older people can participate in training meetings, organised by this University, to learn how to use the system and can discuss problems encountered with experts.

The initiative involves mainly Public Authorities, Social-healthcare services and related professionals and impacts mainly on the quality of life of older people and their carers, as it ensures a prompt intervention to prevent domestic accidents.

Description
refers to the target users, kind of service provided, ICTs typologies and devices used

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Personal Assistant Unit for Living (PAUL).
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Germany
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01-11-2007
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The aim of the service is to allow older people and those physically impaired to live independently and safely at home and to prevent emergencies due to accidents.

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The idea came up during an Ambient Assisted Living symposium in Kaiserslautern in 2003, where the different stakeholders (construction companies, technical experts, Technical University Kaiserslautern researchers and the Red Cross) decided to launch this project. People were chosen as tenants based on their interest to live in a barrier free community through the use of ICT. The project aims to help older people with disabilities to independently live at home for as long as possible.

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Yes Care Recipients
Yes Informal carers
No Paid assistants
No Formal carers

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Not available

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Yes Independent Living
No Information and learning for carers
Yes Personal Support and Social Integration for carer
Yes Care coordination

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The initiative provides services to allow older people to live independently and socially participation.

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Easy-to-use touch screen computer (PAUL), alarms, monitors, sensors and and Internet connection.

Operational Information
refers to the type of funding, budget, sustainability and organisations involved

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Both public and private
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Public service funding: Government, Regional, Local Authorities, non-profit public entities
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The service was funded jointly by the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Finance and Construction (MFB) from its beginning in 2006 to 2009. It has been funded by the German Ministry of Science, starting from 2010 when it was transferred to Speyer. This funding will continue until 2013.

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Private out of pocket: users pay the service by themselves
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Not available

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Not available

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The initiative was financed by public funds between 2006 and 2009 for its implementation. Now it sustains itself through the rent paid by users. This means that the lack of additional funding could lead to increased costs for the users in order to maintain the same service quality in the long term.

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€ More than 500,000
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6 billion Euros (around 2 billion Euros per year from 2010 to 2013).

 

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Yes Authorities
No Private Care Sector
Yes Health and Social Care Systems
No Third Sector
No Private Companies

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Not available

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Not involved
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Yes Informal Carers
Yes Health Professionals
Yes Social Care Professionals
No Privately-Hired Care Assistants (inc. Migrant Care Workers)
No Volunteers

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Researchers of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern.

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Not involved

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11 - 100
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Not available

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The service did not apply specific promotional strategies.

Evaluation
refers to the impact of the service on end-users, care organisations and authorities

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The service has a positive impact on end users, because it allows older people to live at home independently and safely. The service also increases the use of, the acceptability of and the confidence of this group of people towards, ICT.

Informal carers benefit, because the service helps them to maintain their peace of mind when working.

There are different degrees of integration of the technology into everyday life. Thus, the longer older people use the technology, the more tasks they carry out and the more services they use (Spellerberg & Schelisch, 2009).

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The service impacts on companies and the labour market, because it helps informal carers to reconcile work and caring tasks (Spellerberg & Schelisch, 2009).

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The service can prevent falls and accidents and reduce hospitalisations, saving costs for the NHS (Spellerberg & Schelisch, 2009).

 

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Strengths

  1. PAUL is easily transportable because it is not fixed to a certain housing unit but can be used in different locations.
  2. Sociological research was carried outduring the whole (pilot) project phase, monitoring acceptability of the device and the development of the project (Spellerberg et all, 2009).

Weaknesses

  1. The lack of additional funding could lead to increase costs for the users in the long term.
  2. The service is not integrated into the whole healthcare system.
  3. The lack of a specific promotional strategy.

Opportunities

  1. In the future, once old people become comfortable with the technology, the service will be able to provide more tailored support based on the users' needs, because it seems very adaptable.
  2. The service could create a sort of barrier-free community that could prevent older people from social isolation.

Threats/Challenges

  1. Create a tool for communication with other users in the house.
  2. Installing an inactivity monitoring tool, which activates an alarm in case of a fall.
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The initiative has been just transferred to other cities with success. The easy transportability of the device facilitates the experimentation in other regions. New agreements with Local Authorities will be needed for the transferability.

More Information
includes contacts, publications and accompanying documents

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References:

Schellerberg A., Grauel J. & Schelisch L. (2009) “Ambient Assisted Living - ein erster Schritt in Richtung eines technisch-sozialen Assistenzsystems für ältere Menschen”, in: Hallesche Beiträge zu den Gesundheits- und Pflegewissenschaften, Beitrag zur TZagung “Pflegebedürftig in der Gesundheitsgesellschaft” (Ambient Assisted Living - a first step towards a techno-social assistance system for the elderly, "in Halle's contributions to the health and care sciences, contributing to TZagung" permanent care in the health society), 26.-28. März 2009 in Halle (Saale), Vol. 39, 8. Jg.

Spellerberg A. & Schelisch L. (2009) “Ein dreiviertel Jahr mit PAUL: Assisted Living in Kaiserslautern” (“Nine months with PAUL: Assisted Living in Kaiserslautern”), in: Ambient Assisted Living 2009, 2. Deutscher Kongress mit Ausstellung, Technologien, Anwendungen, 27.-28. Januar 2009 in Berlin, Tagungsband (pp. 393-397). Berlin, Offenbach: VDE Verlag GmbH.

Publications:

Floeck M., Groß M. & Litz L. (2007) “AAL - Selbstbestimmt leben im Alter mit moderner Hausautomatisierungstechnik”, Präsentation beim Automed-Workshop, 19.-21. Oktober 2007 in München, Lehrstuhl für Automatisierungstechnik, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern.

Mollenkopf H., Kloé U., Olbermann, E. & Klumpp G. (2010) The potential of ICT in supporting domiciliary care in Germany, edited by Redecker C., Sevilla: IPTS.

PAUL, available on http://www.assistedliving.de/paul.html

Other publications available on http://www.assistedliving.de/publikationen.html

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For questions on the research:

Dipl.-Ing. Thorsten Rodner

E-mail: rodner@eit.uni-kl.de
Phone: 0049 (0) .631.205.4208
Fax.: 0049 (0) .631.205.4462

Technical University of Kaiserslautern
Institute of Automatic Control
PO Box 3049
67653 Kaiserslautern

 

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