Design and Implementation of a Smart Home in a Box to Monitor the Wellbeing Of Residents with Dementia In Care Homes

Matias Garcia-Constantino, Claire Orr, Jonathan Synnott, Colin Shewell, Andrew Ennis, I Cleland, CD Nugent, Joseph Rafferty, Gareth Morrison, Leona Larkham, Sharon McIlroy, Andrea Selby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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There is a global challenge related to the increasing number of People with Dementia (PwD) and the diminishing capacity of governments, health systems, and caregivers to provide the best care for them. Cost-effective technology solutions that enable and ensure a good quality of life for PwD via monitoring and interventions have been investigated comprehensively in the literature. The objective of this study was to investigate the challenges with the design and deployment of a Smart Home In a Box (SHIB) approach to monitoring PwD wellbeing within a care home. This could then support future SHIB implementations to have an adequate and prompt deployment allowing research to focus on the data collection and analysis aspects. An important consideration was that most care homes do not have the appropriate infrastructure for installing and using ambient sensors. The SHIB was evaluated via installation in the rooms of PwD with varying degrees of dementia at Kirk House Care Home in Belfast. Sensors from the SHIB were installed to test their capabilities for detecting Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). The sensors used were: (i) thermal sensors, (ii) contact sensors, (iii) Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors, and (iv) audio level sensors. Data from the sensors were collected, stored, and handled using a ‘SensorCentral’ data platform. The results of this study highlight challenges and opportunities that should be considered when designing and implementing a SHIB approach in a dementia care home. Lessons learned from this investigation are presented in addition to recommendations that could support monitoring the wellbeing of PwD. The main findings of this study are: (i) most care home buildings were not originally designed to appropriately install ambient sensors, and (ii) installation of SHIB sensors should be adapted depending on the specific case of the care home where they will be installed. It was acknowledged that in addition to care homes, the homes of PwD were also not designed for an appropriate integration with ambient sensors. This study provided the community with useful lessons, that will continue to be applied to improve future implementations of the SHIB approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number798889
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Digital Health
Early online date21 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Garcia-Constantino, Orr, Synnott, Shewell, Ennis, Cleland, Nugent, Rafferty, Morrison, Larkham, McIlroy and Selby.


  • Connected Health
  • Ambient Assisted Living
  • Smart Homes
  • Ubiquitous Computing
  • Pervasive Computing
  • Dementia
  • Care Home
  • Digital health


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