Implementation of Unobtrusive Sensing Systems for Older Adult Care: Scoping Review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
182 Downloads (Pure)


The continuous growth of the older adult population will have implications for the organization of health and social care. Potentially, in-home monitoring unobtrusive sensing systems (USSs) can be used to support formal or informal caregivers of older adults, as they can monitor deviant physical and physiological behavior changes. Most existing USSs are not specific to older adult care. Hence, to facilitate the implementation of existing USSs in older adult care, it is important to know which USSs would be more suitable for older adults.

This scoping review aims to examine the literature to identify current USSs for monitoring human activities and behaviors and assess their implementation readiness for older adult care.

We conducted a structured search in the Scopus, Web of Science, and ACM Digital Library databases. Predefined inclusion criteria included studies on unobtrusive sensor-based technology; experimental in nature; aimed at monitoring human social, emotional, physical, and physiological behavior; having the potential to be scalable in in-home care; and having at least 5 adults as participants. Using these criteria, we screened studies by title, abstract, and full text. A deductive thematic analysis based on the Proctor implementation framework along with an additional outcome of external validity was applied to the included studies to identify the factors contributing to successful implementation. Finally, the identified factors were used to report the implementation readiness of the included studies for older adult care.

In this review, 52 studies were included. Deductive analysis using the implementation framework by Proctor resulted in six factors that can contribute to the successful implementation of USSs in older adult care: study settings, age of participants, activities monitored, sensor setup, sensing technology used, and usefulness of USSs. These factors were associated with the implementation outcomes as follows: study settings and age of participants contributed to external validity, sensor setup contributed to acceptability, usefulness of USSs contributed to adoption, activities monitored contributed to appropriateness, and sensing technology used contributed to implementation cost. Furthermore, the implementation assessment of the included 52 studies showed that none of the studies addressed all the identified factors. This assessment was useful in highlighting studies that have addressed multiple factors; thus, these studies represent a step ahead in the implementation process.

This review is the first to scope state-of-the-art USSs suitable for older adult care. Although the included 52 USS studies fulfilled the basic criteria to be suitable for older adult care, systems leveraging radio frequency technology in a no-contact sensor setup for monitoring life risk or health wellness activities are more suitable for older adult care. Finally, this review has extended the discussion about unobtrusiveness as a property of systems that cannot be measured in binary because it varies greatly with user perception and context.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27862
JournalJMIR Aging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Implementation of Unobtrusive Sensing Systems for Older Adult Care: Scoping Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this