The work performed by home health aides can be exhausting and overwhelming. Cornell University researchers hope to provide relief in both areas.

“Home health aides are asked to do a huge amount in terms of task management, care management, meal management, healthcare management – and all of these things are a really big burden,” said Nicola Dell, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Cornell. The university was recently awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop tech tools that can ease some of these and other burdens.

“The goal of this grant is to explore the space of designing technologies to make their work easier, better and more efficient, with the hope that we can have a positive impact not only on their own professional lives, but on the care that they deliver,” Dell said.

Specifically, investigators will examine artificial intelligence-based tools that can provide immediate information to aides, about clients’ daily routines and needs as well as health situations that might arise during their care.

“This could remove a lot of the burdens of remembering things or looking up things, while being cognizant that a lot of this information is medically sensitive and you really need to get it right,” Dell noted.

The researchers also plan to develop ways for aides to better communicate with their agencies. One possibility is automated prioritization of their requests for help. Another is tools that will collect data to gain insights about patient care. Additionally, researchers hope to create training programs to help aides advance in their careers while improving care quality.