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Safety Science Monitor

Today people are living longer in the industrial world (Gordon, 2000) and most of them want to stay at home as long as possible (Arnaert & Delesie, 2001). “Aging in place” (Cheek et al., 2005, Mihailidis et al., 2004) is for most people a desired way to live as elderly. Only when the need for care is so big that it is impossible to deliver it at home, a move to a nursing home will be necessary. With the help of home care, this desire is possible to support. The home care is different to the care given in a nursing home in one important aspect; the surveillance is not as strong as it is in a nursing home. One way to bridge this gap is to use Telecare (Finkelstein et al., 2004). It means for the caregiver to be virtually in place (Demiris et al., 2003) and to have contact with the resident 24 hours a day. This is both efficient for the caregiver but also a way to give the resident a safe and secure stay in the home (Meystre, 2005). Telecare and Telemedicine is also a way to meet the expected expansion in care demand from a growing population of elderly people in the industrialized world. There are many examples and experiments using Telecare and Telemedicine all over the world today (Black et al., 2001, Bratan et al., 2004, Rosser et al., 2000) but there are also obstacles to be overcome (Olsson et al., 2004). An important effect of this is that it turns the home into a kind of ward at a distance. Care and medical treatment will be delivered in the home of the resident and this will mean new demands on the facilities management. For instance, it is not uncritical to turn off the water or the electricity to perform maintenance in a building where an advanced medical treatment is going on. It is also important for the caregiver to know what the infrastructure of the building can handle and what Issue 1 2007 VVOOLL1111 kind of protocol it is using. The infrastructure has become an issue for different actors (Kun, 2001). Today the electricity is standardized in a country but the telecommunication is not. But it is on the telecommunication and the data communication the new Telemedicine and Telecare depends. Telemedicine, video and telecommunications can be used to replace long travel and to both give the patient a better life quality and to reduce treatment costs. Telemedicine systems can also be assessed by the intelligent home monitoring devices in Smart Homes. Normally telemedicine systems have a broader and more individualized approach than the Smart Home system has(Demiris et al., 2006).

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Stefan Lundberg

Centre for Health & Building Royal Institute of Technology

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