It is often only when the initial signs of exhaustion appear that caregivers first may engage in help-seeking behavior, but it is difficult for them to know which is the most appropriate formal service in their situation. Electronic health (eHealth) can support caregivers in keeping the older person they are caring for at home, but few eHealth tools designed for supporting the process of help-seeking by caregivers of functionally impaired older persons have been developed using a co-design approach.
This paper aims to describe the protocol of a project that tries to assist caregivers to target their needs and those of the older person they support early in their help-seeking process, and guide them effectively to the formal service most appropriate for their situation. This project aims to answer the following questions: (1) What type of tool can better support caregivers to identify their needs and those of the older person they are caring for and then refer them to an appropriate formal service? and (2) What information should be found in such a tool?
This study presents a description of the process of an ongoing multicenter research project based on a co-design approach, which includes 3 phases (1) identification of caregivers’ needs in terms of tools to support their help-seeking behavior, (2) development of a tool, and (3) evaluation of its usability.
The project began in January 2016 with the ethics application for the 3 phases of the project. For phase 1, recruitment began in December 2016 and ended in September 2017. Phase 2 began in the spring of 2017 and ended in June 2018. All the co-design sessions have been completed. Phase 3 of the project will begin in September 2018.
Although there are some challenges associated with this type of methodology, the methodology still remains relevant, as it involves future users in the development of a tool, which increases the chances that the tool will meet the users' needs.