In this project we want to use wearables, technical devices that you wear on your body, to give the care sector a helping hand. In particular, we are talking about a wearable that looks like a watch that measures stress so that burn-outs can be detected and even avoided.
Mobilab & Care developed an online platform together with the Psychology, Technology & Society Expertise Cell of Applied Psychology at Thomas More college. There you can find algorithms that go with the wearables and a manual that explains how to use them both. In this way, the wearables can be used in the prevention of burnout and the treatment of depression.
The objective of the Carewear project is to deploy wearable technology in organizations and enterprises active in well-being at work and in Mental Health Care (MHC). In this way they can improve their functioning. Using a wearable, for example, a professional care provider can then monitor the condition of the client, analyze it and offer appropriate assistance.
The goal is to develop the following tools:
- Algorithms to detect stress, physical activity and heart rate variability.
- An online platform where the mental health professional and client can view that measured data.
- Manuals and expertise on evidence-based interventions supported by wearable technology.
More and more people are having mental health problems, and the current corona crisis is only intensifying that problem.
To fight depression, for example, it is important to get outside a lot and be active often. A wearable can measure this. When someone looks at the data measured by the wearable, they have the opportunity to see which days went well and to pinpoint possible causes or recognize a pattern. If, for example, someone felt bad on a particular day, the data could show that that person had an unpleasant telephone call from his or her supervisor or was stuck in traffic again. The wearable could then make a connection between the activity and the mental wellbeing, and then a solution could be sought through that information.
The method that is currently often used in practice is a diary that must be filled in by the patient. What happened today? How did you feel today? Such questions must then be filled in by the patient in writing, but that’s not ideal. For example, when someone fills out the schedule just before going to bed, they have to try to remember everything from the previous day. Moreover, we sometimes repress unpleasant events to protect ourselves. Also, we may not always feel it ourselves when we are experiencing stress.
Carewear offers a solution for this. The wearable itself registers what happens when. All this data can be looked back on later by both the professional and the client and the data is also collected over a longer period. That is valuable because in this way certain patterns can be recognized.
Mobilab & Care’s task was to develop algorithms to convert the raw measured signals into interpretable variables. Those measured signals were heart rate, heart rate variability, physical activity and stress peaks. Stress peaks are measured using a combination of skin conductance, heart rate, and exercise.
Work on and with wearables is ongoing. For example, our expertise on the physiological signals from wearables is being further deployed in collaboration with other national and international research and care institutions. In addition, a number of publications are being written and approved. Moreover, the researchers are working on grant applications for follow-up projects to Carewear.
10/2016 – 01-2019