Development and usability evaluation of VOICES: A digital health tool to identify elder mistreatment

Fuad Abujarad, Davis Ulrich, Chelsea Edwards, Esther Choo, Michael V. Pantalon, Karen Jubanyik, James Dziura, Gail D'Onofrio, Thomas M. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background/Objectives: A major barrier for society in overcoming elder mistreatment is an inability to accurately identify victims. There are several barriers to self-reporting elder mistreatment, including fear of nursing home placement or losing autonomy or a caregiver. Existing strategies to identify elder mistreatment neglect to empower those who experience it with tools for self-reporting. In this project, we developed and evaluated the usability of VOICES, a self-administrated digital health tool that screens, educates, and motivates older adults to self-report elder mistreatment. Design: Cross-sectional study with User-Centered Design (UCD) approach. Setting: Yale School of Medicine and the Agency on Aging of South-Central Connecticut. Participants: Thirty eight community-dwelling and cognitively intact older adults aged 60 years and older, caregivers, clinicians, and social workers. Intervention: A tablet-based self-administrated digital health tool that screens, educates, and motivates older adults to self-report elder mistreatment. Measurements: Qualitative and quantitative data were obtained from: (1) focus groups participants including: feedback from open-ended discussion, demographics, and a post-session survey; (2) usability evaluation including: demographics, usability measures, comfortability with technology, emotional state, and open-ended feedback. Results: Focus group participants (n = 24) generally favored using a tablet-based tool to screen for elder mistreatment and expressed comfort answering questions on elder mistreatment using tablets. Usability evaluation participants (n = 14) overall scored VOICES a mean System Usability Scale (SUS) score of 86.6 (median = 88.8), higher than the benchmark SUS score of 68, indicating excellent ease of use. In addition, 93% stated that they would recommend the VOICES tool to others and 100% indicated understanding of VOICES' information and content. Conclusion: Our findings show that older adults are capable, willing, and comfortable with using the innovative and self-administrated digital tool for elder mistreatment screening. Our future plan is to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the use of VOICES in identifying suspicion of mistreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1478
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume69
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • abuse screening tools
  • digital health
  • elder mistreatment
  • usability evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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