26 August 2015
In the UK occupational therapy pre-discharge home visits are routinely carried out as a means of facilitating safe transfer from the hospital to home. Whilst they are an integral part of practice, there is little evidence to demonstrate they have a positive outcome on the discharge process. Current issues for patients are around the speed of home visits and the lack of shared decision making in the process, resulting in less than 50 % of the specialist equipment installed actually being used by patients on follow-up. To improve practice there is an urgent need to examine other ways of conducting home visits to facilitate safe discharge. We believe that Computerised 3D Interior Design Applications (CIDAs) could be a means to support more efficient, effective and collaborative practice. A previous study explored practitioners perceptions of using CIDAs; however it is important to ascertain older adult’s views about the usability of technology and to compare findings. This study explores the perceptions of community dwelling older adults with regards to adopting and using CIDAs as an assistive tool for the home adaptations process.
Ten community dwelling older adults participated in individual interactive task-focused usability sessions with a customised CIDA, utilising the think-aloud protocol and individual semi-structured interviews. Template analysis was used to carry out both deductive and inductive analysis of the think-aloud and interview data. Initially, a deductive stance was adopted, using the three pre-determined high-level themes of the technology acceptance model (TAM): Perceived Usefulness (PU), Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU), Actual Use (AU). Inductive template analysis was then carried out on the data within these themes, from which a number of sub-thmes emerged.
Regarding PU, participants believed CIDAs served as a useful visual tool and saw clear potential to facilitate shared understanding and partnership in care delivery. For PEOU, participants were able to create 3D home environments however a number of usability issues must still be addressed. The AU theme revealed the most likely usage scenario would be collaborative involving both patient and practitioner, as many participants did not feel confident or see sufficient value in using the application autonomously.
This research found that older adults perceived that CIDAs were likely to serve as a valuable tool which facilitates and enhances levels of patient/practitioner collaboration and empowerment. Older adults also suggested a redesign of the interface so that less sophisticated dexterity and motor functions are required. However, older adults were not confident, or did not see sufficient value in using the application autonomously. Future research is needed to further customise the CIDA software, in line with the outcomes of this study, and to explore the potential of collaborative application patient/practitioner-based deployment.