Project Details

DigiTechNH: Digital technologies to improve social interaction and participation of people with care and support needs in inpatient long-term care

Duration: 01.01.2022 - 31.12.2023
Project Partner: Prof. Dr. Claudia Stolle-Wahl, Hochschule Bremen, Zentrum für Pflegeforschung und Beratung (ZePB); Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang, SOCIUM Forschungszentrum Ungleichheit und Sozialpolitik
Project Type: Third-party funded project


Research Questions and Objective

Nursing homes are often described as places where the residing people in need of care suffer from social isolation and loneliness. This problem was further exacerbated by visitation bans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lack of social interaction and participation negatively affect the physical and mental health and quality of life of older people. At the same time, there is a push to develop digital technologies and assistive devices for nursing care to support, for example, the maintenance of social participation. Currently, the evidence-base on the concrete use of such technologies in Germany and their possible integration into everyday care processes, is scarce. Against this background, DigiTechNH investigates the following research questions:

1) Which (digital) technologies for the promotion of social interaction and social participation are being used in inpatient long-term care so far?

2) What are the effects of respective technologies for people in need of care?

3) Who are the (potential) users and are there gender, age and/or disability-related differences in use?

4) For which areas and groups of people is there a need for further development?

5) What are the facilitating and inhibiting factors with regard to the use and further development of respective digital technologies?

Research progress

Within the framework of a participatory mixed-methods study and with the involvement of relevant stakeholder (care professionals, people in need of care and their relatives), DigiTechNH analyzes which digital technologies for promoting social interaction are currently being used in inpatient long-term care facilities, which effects and experiences of use are being reported and which inhibiting and promoting factors for their use can be described. Based on the results, together with (potential) users as well as funding bodies and political decision makers a concept will be developed to promote the integration of digital technologies for improving social interaction and participation in nursing homes, in order to contribute to a long-term improvement of nursing care processes. 


DigiTechNH is designed as a mixed-methods study: Based on a systematic review and synthesis of international literature on the use and effects of digital technologies for the promotion of social interaction of people in need of care in inpatient long-term care, the experiences and perspectives of nursing professionals and managers in Bremen nursing homes with and on the use of technology are collected in an online survey. Focus group discussions and individual interviews with nursing professionals, people in need of care and their relatives and managers complement and deepen the insights gained in the online survey and provide an overall basis for two workshops on participatory concept development, in which representatives of funding bodies and political decision makers are also included.

DigiTechNH is being funded by the Bremen Fund as part of a special call for proposals from the state of Bremen in the thematic area of "Society and the Individual in Digital Transformation - Consequences and Shaping of the Digital Transformation", funding line Exploratory Projects.

Further information