Home to Hospital
About the Project
Updated February, 2023
Home modifications for people with disabilities promote their independence and safety and increase their health-related quality-of-life. However, the process of undertaking home modifications can involve many hurdles and setbacks, be time-consuming, and challenging to engage patients with newly acquired disability in.
Home to Hospital is a collaborative project between HabITec and Metro South Health which aims to provide a virtual environment for patients and therapists to assess, problem-solve and design the modifications required to the patient’s home environment prior to discharge from inpatient care. We propose the development of a tool that can virtualise the home modification process by accurately documenting existing environments and virtually bringing the patient’s home into the hospital setting. A virtual home assessment would allow patients to collaboratively interact with therapists in a virtual version of their own home environment. This will provide increased opportunity for engagement by allowing patients to actively participate in the home modification process.
This project has been identified as a priority by therapists and patients within the spinal injury unit (SIU) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, due to the discharge delays often experienced by patients related to the home modifications process.
Aim & Objectives
Our long-term goal is to provide a virtual experience for patients and therapists to assess existing home environments together, problem-solve accessibility issues, and collaboratively design the modifications to the patient’s home.
An innovative method for home assessments within the clinical setting. It is expected that this process can expedite home modifications, potentially decreasing discharge delays by commencing the process earlier and improving engagement from people whose homes need to be modified.
The Home to Hospital project is tailored to meet the needs of people who have experienced catastrophic injury. This project was identified as a priority by therapists and patients within the spinal injuries unit (SIU) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. The SIU is a statewide service, therefore there are inpatients who are geographically isolated from their home environment and their communities, making timely physical home assessments difficult. A virtual home assessment where the patients can interact with their home environment together with their therapist will provide an opportunity to actively participate and engage in the home modification process. It will provide opportunities for patients to individualise the specifications of the modifications to needs and preferences of their household, and retain a sense of control over the changes being made to their home. This increased engagement in the process has been shown to be important to achieving satisfaction with home modification outcomes. The outcome of this project will embody translation goals by providing an innovative method for home assessments within the clinical setting.
We acknowledge our valued partners: Soo Oh and Rachael DiMichele, QSCIS/THC; Alex Thompson, Leigh Ellen Potter and A/Prof Geraldine Torrisi-Steele, ICT GU; Paul Robinson, THC; Phoung Le, MSHHS; and A/Prof Melissa Kendall, ABIOS/TRP/THC, as well as our research assistants, students and participants.
MAIC, IDEA Lab
Project updates and outputs
Technology search – May 2022
The Home to Hospital Project team ran a search of the state-of-the-art technologies that are used or have potential use in home modifications. 66 different devices and/ or programs were assessed with regards to their pros and cons for home modifications, as well as identifying which stage of home modifications they would be useful for. In sum, the range of technologies relevant to the home modifications process continues to grow. However, few complete technological solutions exist that meet the requirements for the entirety of the home modification process, which include the diversity and complexity of the case-by-case consulting, and the goal for a shared patient-clinician experience in the hospital rather than in the home environment.
Capture prototype app – June 2022
The team developed a prototype app to capture existing home environments. The prototype was user tested by clinicians and lived experience experts, refining the important aspects to focus on, useability, and identifying additional opportunities for future development. Users also identified that such an app could have facilitated their experience through the home modifications process.
Home to Hospital project team on Hopkins Hour – October 2022
The Home to Hospital team spoke at the October 2022 Hopkins Hour event "Surviving or thriving? Client perspectives of valuable home-modifications outcomes" about the project and some of the valuable outcomes and learnings from the project so far.
Check that out in our Research Video Gallery.
ICT Work Integrated Learning project – December 2022
The Home to Hospital team engaged with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) students from Griffith University in a year-long work-integrated learning project during the 2022 academic year. The student team developed a first prototype of a virtual reality (VR)-based application. The program allows both patient and therapist to navigate a home environment, make modifications together, and save the changes for future sessions.
Comments from the team:
“As a team, we gained invaluable experience through the Home to Hospital project, which will be helpful in our future endeavours. Our accomplishment of this industry-level project provided us with valuable industry-standard skills we will be able to use in the future. Our team was able to work well together because everyone brought unique skills and knowledge to the team, which bonded the team as the project progressed. We all learned many things from each other in the team and from our clients at HabITec. It was a fun project, and we all enjoyed it immensely.”
Based on their work throughout the year, the team were nominated for the School of ICT’s FirstWave Industry Award – and won!
If you are interested in getting involved in this project, or have other related ideas, reach out to us at email@example.com!
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