Dr. Marc Bovenschulte
Demographic Change and Futures Studies
The care service industry is facing special challenges. According to projections issued by the German Federal Office of Statistics, the number of persons requiring care services in Germany will increase from the current figure of approximately 2.6 million to 3.4 million in 2030. Accordingly, the demand for medical and nursing care services will also increase. There are, however, less and less informal and professional care service providers available. Studies assume that there will be a shortage of half a million full-time care providers by the year 2030. Most people in need of care services will be cared for by family members at home. New concepts for supplying care services are therefore required that can be reconciled with the everyday lives of care providers, will alleviate their heavy workloads and improve the independence of those persons requiring care services.
The trend is currently moving towards the development of innovative care technologies which can be utilised both for elderly and medical care, but also in acute care, intensive care and palliative care. In this regard, the digital systems must be designed in such a manner that they enable more time for human attention, do not disempower the individual and fulfil the high standards for data protection, safety and reliability. However, both the benefits and the challenges of these technical solutions in care practices are currently barely researched at all. Systematic research approaches for individual care technologies are lacking as well as an analysis of the interplay of care innovations in context specific care settings.
The central focus of our work encompasses designing these innovations and supporting them on their path to practical application. In this regard, we join aspects from education, research and innovation in order to be able to address the complexity of demographic transformation. In particular, in this case, the analysis of the technical potential forms an acknowledged focus of our work.