This Web site provides a searchable, Web-based database of technologies for use in long-term
How is technology defined?
On this site, technology is defined as specialized equipment or product systems that may be
commercially acquired and used to improve the quality of care, quality of life, or efficiencies of
care delivered in residential care settings. This definition of technology excludes mainstream
technology (e.g., cell phones, remote controls) and universal design applications (e.g., lowered light
switches) but potentially includes both high and low technology applications (e.g., sensor-based
monitoring systems and anti-slip footwear), with preference given to existing technologies that
are more sophisticated and more recently developed .
Which long-term care settings are considered?
Preference is given to technologies of interest to residential care settings. Residential care
settings include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care facilities, day care
facilities, and continuing care retirement communities. However, some products also may be
appropriate for community settings.
How is product information organized?
Care Issues. The information in the database is organized on three levels.
The first level includes care issues that are of significance to persons in long-term care. Care issues were
selected based upon several criteria, including:
- the prevalence and relative importance (in terms of monetary and other societal costs) of the
underlying clinical issue being addressed by the technology;
- the recommendations solicited from experts in the field of aging who served on the project's
technical advisory group; and
- feedback from focus groups conducted with administrators and direct care staff in long-term
The technical advisory group and focus groups also helped to determine the level of technological
sophistication to be represented, the most appropriate terminology to be used, and the type of
product information that would be most useful to the target audience of the Web site.
Product Types. The second level of information classifies products within each
care issue into product types.
Products. The most basic level of the database provides information about
specific products within each product type. In selecting products, preference was given to a)
existing, as opposed to emerging, products, b) more recent, as opposed to older, products, and c)
more technologically sophisticated, as opposed to low-technology, products.
Technology product information was obtained through literature and Internet searches, long-term
care buyer's guides, and by speaking with technology manufacturers and vendors at various
conferences. The search for new products was concluded after exhaustive Internet sweeps yielded
no additional products following two hours of browsing by a professional librarian. Product
information includes entries such as product names, product descriptions, and manufacturer
contact information. Within a product type, various features may be directly compared across
What other information is available?
One of the primary goals of the Web site is to educate consumers about key issues to consider
before purchasing a technology. Three educational features are available on the site:
Key Issues to Consider. This feature provides for each care issue examples of quality of life,
quality of care, and organizational issues to be considered internally among staff members. The
information is designed to guide choices across product types. This feature can help you decide,
for example, whether a low-tech approach best meets your facility's needs and philosophies, and
can help you evaluate the tradeoffs of a particular approach with respect to residents' quality
of care and quality of life.
The quality of life domains mentioned in the key issues were developed by Rosalie Kane under
contract by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Kane et al., 2001). Quality of care
domains are drawn from the Minimum Data Set, which currently drives the system of care planning
and reimbursement in the nursing home. Organizational considerations relate to issues such as
staff efficiencies, costs, and change management.
Questions for Vendors. This feature provides consumers with useful questions
to ask vendors and manufacturers about their products. Questions are specific to a given product
Resources and Related Readings. Finally, we offer consumers additional
resources including related Web sites and a list of evaluative studies for each care issue and
Kane, R.A., Kling, K.C., Bershadsky, B., Kane, R., Degenholtz, H., & Liu, J. (2001). Measuring
quality of life outcomes of nursing home residents: Development of scales based on the residents'
responses. Unpublished manuscript. Division of Health Services Research and Administration, School
of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
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