Home-based Self-care: Understanding and Designing Pervasive Technology to Support Care Management Work at Home

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportPh.D. thesis


  • Nervo Verdezoto, Denmark
Demographic changes are challenging healthcare systems as well as societies around the
world due to an increasing aging population and rapid propagation of chronic diseases.
To deal with the consequences of these changes, more and more long-term care services
are being implemented including home-based healthcare. To support self-care activities, an
increasingly number of reminders and monitoring systems are being designed. However,
most of these systems have been designed taking the healthcare professional’s perspective
or targeting a specific treatment or condition that might not sufficient support the self-care
management work at home. People need to know which care activities to perform, when
to perform them, how to proceed and why these are important. While at home, an active
lifestyle and comorbidity not only challenge self-care activities but also the use of self-care
technologies in non-clinical settings. As such, sustaining daily care activities in the home (or
other non-clinical settings) is challenging as they are becoming more and more intertwined
into people’s everyday life. Thus, this dissertation is concerned about one major challenge
in Pervasive Healthcare: the design of technology that fit into people’s everyday life.
Through a design research approach applying user-centered design methods and prototyping,
the main focus of this dissertation is on exploring and providing a holistic understanding
of the self-care work practices in non-clinical settings. Several home-based care
practices are investigated to (a) further understand the self-care management work in nonclinical
settings, and (b) inform future design of pervasive healthcare technology that accounts
for people’s perspectives on self-care and everyday life. First, we explore two selfcare
practices of medication management and preventive self-monitoring to further study
people’s perspectives on self-care both for health and illness. Second, we combine our initial
studies with three additional studies of self-care practices: self-monitoring of pregnant
women with pre-eclampsia and heart patients as well as home-based rehabilitation. This is
done to examine similarities and differences among the studies.
While highlighting the importance of both the clinical and people’s perspectives in system
design, this dissertation present a collection of user insights, new knowledge and several
design implications, principles, recommendations as well as several conceptual tools.
The different design and conceptual tools can enable a further understanding of self-care
practices, support design of future pervasive healthcare technology, and facilitate designer’s
reflective practices to explore particularities of people’s trajectories of care. We also discuss
two design explorations that served as examples of how some of the design tools could be
applied and extended by for example the Pervasive Healthcare and Health Informatics communities.
Finally, we reflect upon the application of the theory of practice and the concept of trajectory
as lens for understanding self-care practices. We also present a future agenda to investigate
self-care technology design that better account for people’s trajectories of care
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Computer Science, Aarhus University
Number of pages212
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2013

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