Within the POSTHCARD project, we developed the foundations for a unique and innovative product to meet the needs in society for providing the most adequate Alzheimer care in the home environment.
Research and development
The Alzheimer Care Trainer was a design challenge because a good user experience is important for user satisfaction. Our priority was to design an optimal 3D user interface (UI) mockup and ensure a proper user flow. We worked with the end user to customise the content and interface of our platform to maximise user acceptance.
The technological development is based on the co-creations and the evaluations. The serious game is not only developed according to the action of the user (player), but 3 different software are used, a narrative engine, a Natural Language Generation engine (NLG) and a game engine. The challenge was to integrate story events and actions, text and 3D space and animation and the user interface into a workable, interactive serious game.
The design process involved market research, heuristic evaluations with usability experts and empirical testing of different versions of the platform among family and professional caregivers in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland. Several qualitative and quantitative research methods were combined.
The recruitment of participants for both the physical co-creation sessions and the evaluation sessions, as well as their timing, was hampered in 2020 and 2021 by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, work had to be done digitally. A new digital co-creation and evaluation method was developed, and the recruitment communication campaigns were intensified and rolled out more widely.
The POSTHCARD project and the Alzheimer Care Trainer received a fair amount of online press coverage in the general and specialised media in the partner countries. Especially health/care magazines and IT-specialist magazines gave us lots of visibility. We regularly participated in international, technological, and eHealth-related conferences to present the project to a multidisciplinary audience of researchers. We are authors of numerous scientific publications on the technology and research behind Posthcard.
We are convinced that the Alzheimer Care Trainer Tool is a unique approach to Alzheimer’s care. Informal caregivers, professional home care and care and nursing staff in training can all benefit from training with the tool. We base this on the results of the evaluations, the feedback from the participants, the high response rate via the online form on the AlzheimerCareTrainer.com (product website) and the website traffic on the project website resulting the communication activities.
After several years of R&D, we have developed an MVP. We are proud of the result of our work, but the team believes that the Alzheimer Care Trainer is not yet ready for digital production and market introduction. At the present time, the project has made good progress, but more time and funding are needed for the development so that the ICT solution can be safely marketed and meet the right quality standards.
Unfortunately, this project is mainly funded by the EU and the current funding cycle has ended, as has the project deadline. The consortium explored new directions to somehow reactivate the core of the project and to refine and further develop the solution. As part of the final result of the POSTHCARD project , Vilans, knowledge centre for long-term care and consortium partner has recently launched ‘DemiZorg‘ , the serious game to practice dementia care.
The POSTHCARD team would like to thank all individuals (formal and informal caregivers) who participated in the study for their spontaneous and selfless participation in the heuristic evaluations, co-design sessions, testing sessions and business sessions. Despite the intensive nature of the study and the fact that participants were filmed, many were willing to participate a second time. Their constructive feedback on the use of the game and platform was an indispensable part of the design process. The team also expresses its thanks to all the associations (primary care , dementia, etc..) for bringing the project /research to the attention of their members. Finally, we would like to thank the AAL organisation and the national and regional funding organisations that made this POSTHCARD project possible.