Quality of life at the touch of a button

Who doesn’t want to live independently to a ripe old age? This is possible with the help of some technical aids. The focus here is on assistance systems (Ambient Assisted Living, AAL) which make life easier for elderly and ill people. These aids help people to avoid falls at home, send out emergency signals when necessary or provide mobility aids to people with paraplegic injuries. A lot of these products are not sufficiently available for everyday use. Getting them established requires skilled agents, companies and staff. That is why labour scientists at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) are developing a new training and apprenticeship concept called ProWAAL (Pro Weiterbildung(training) AAL). The Federal Ministry for Education and Research is funding this programme, which started recently, for three years to the tune of over 620, 000 Euros.
Hands on training
The project headed by Prof. Dr. Thomas Herrmann (Information and Technology Management) provides the appropriate training and qualifications for handling this technology. It is intended to show specialist staff how to help people to become more familiar with these aids and to reduce any feelings of insecurity when dealing with such systems. The researchers are developing training methods for managers and specialist staff in AAL fields. “Acceptance problems which are slowing down the use of these technologies have to be overcome as well”, explains Prof. Herrmann. The researchers combine face to face events with direct experience at the workplace and combine this with IT-based teaching and learning concepts.
Partners essential
The target group for this project includes doctors, nursing care staff, engineers and people in social and care services. To ensure the transfer success of the programme, the qualification programme links the competences at the universities, academies and research institutes with those in industry. As customers like to receive everything from one source, it is particularly important to have a partner: “Making full use of the potential of these new technologies poses a great challenge for the skilled crafts and trades. That is why practical and needs-oriented training such as the one from ProWAAL is of such significance”, says Alexander Baden, Managing Director of the Chamber of Skilled Crafts and Trades Koblenz, which is also taking part in the project. This cooperation also involves the IMO Institute and the companies Ontaris and Alere.

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