HFU researches future care provision technologies

Over the next five years, the Institute of Human, Technology, Participation (IMTT - Institut Mensch, Technik, Teilhabe) of Furtwangen University (HFU) and partners will be conducting scientific tests on the practical implementation of new, digital care technologies. The project will receive €4 million in federal funding. "We are delighted that we will be working on this project," said Professor Dr. Christophe Kunze and Professor Dr. Peter König of HFU.

Demand in the nursing care sector is high across Germany and lack of personnel and has already resulted in massive problems in care provision. This situation will become worse in the future as life expectancy increases. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research hopes that the "Future of Nursing Care Provision" programme will address this problem. A Nursing Care Innovation Centre and four Nursing Care Practice Centres (PPZ) are being set up in Germany forming a "Future of Nursing Care Provision" cluster.

Nursing Care Practice Centre Freiburg
One of the four practice centres will be set up in Freiburg headed by the University Clinic Freiburg. Project partners are Furtwangen University, the University of Freiburg and the FIVE Research and Innovation Group (Forschungs- und Innovationsverbund). During the next five years innovative, digital assistive care technologies will be tested in a practical emergency hospital care provision setting.

Three concrete assistive technologies will be tested in the centre:

  1. Integrated bed sensors to avoid bed sores in bedridden patients
  2. Systems for the supervision and activation of patients suffering from dementia
  3. Systems to reduce the noise levels in intensive care units

What part will HFU play?
"It's our job to examine, whether and to what extent these new technologies will be accepted by the users and thus become a real help in everyday care provision. Sustainable technology transfer is not possible in practice until functionality, user-friendliness, and user acceptance is achieved," explained Professor Dr. Christophe Kunze and Professor Dr. Peter König of the IMTT at HFU. The IMTT professors will work at the interface between the technical research areas such as technology design and human-technology interaction, and the industrial technology providers in the project.

Kunze and König have been involved in research into innovative nursing care provision for many years. The Future Care Lab at HFU provides a unique development and testing environment in which users and researchers can effectively design, implement and evaluate innovative care technologies under real-life conditions.