Kaja Smole Orehek's doctoral thesis: Psychosocial outcomes of eCare services use for employed informal carers of older people
Kaja Smole Orehek, a member of Centre for Social Informatics, successfully completed doctoral programme in the Humanities and Social Sciences and the young researcher training financed by Slovenian Research Agency. She successfully defended the doctoral thesis with a title "Psychosocial outcomes of eCare services use for employed informal carers of older people".
The essential contribution of this dissertation is upgrading current deductive methodological approach-based research by following inductive grounded theory research approach and identifying the categories and concepts that emerge directly from the world of employed informal carers of older people. The aim is to identify positive and negative psychosocial outcomes of eCare services use in the post-implementation phase, explore the relationships between these outcomes, and discover how various functionalities shape psychosocial outcomes and acceptance is shaped by the identified psychosocial outcomes. A 4-month intervention study was conducted in Slovenia in 2018 and 2019 using a quasi-experimental qualitative research design.
The study reveals many positive and few negative psychosocial outcomes. Older people living alone may be exposed to certain risks that can be successfully managed through use of eCare services that meet their safety needs by providing those who care for them with a reassurance of safety. Therefore, the core category identified was the reassurance of safety since it was associated with most categories and concepts, where the use of eCare services led the informal carers to have greater control over the care situation, be less worried and anxious about the potential (un)safety of the older person involved and give those who care for them peace of mind, which further impacted their acceptance. In terms of functionalities of eCare services, the motion and contact sensors and the alarm pendant elicited the most psychosocial outcomes, while it was also important that all functionalities worked properly. The identified psychosocial outcomes, their interrelationships, and the relations with acceptance are explained in a substantive model of psychosocial outcomes of eCare services use from perspective of employed informal carers of older people.