Telecare session

‘Mediating care: reading, interpreting and diagnosing code, the ‘new’ skills of ‘caring’?’ Norman Crump – LUMS, Lancaster University

Download Norman Crumps Telecare presentation here>

Elderly panic button

2nd generation telecare system

Notes written by students of Theo Vurdubakis -Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University:

Norman’s presentation focussed on the introduction, development and proliferation of telecare systems in the services of care. Historically, the systems evolved from social alarms to passive and non-invasive home monitoring and, finally, to preventative technological sensors of well-being. In particular, the first generation of telecare included alarms, pendants and wrist-bands, the second incorporated sensors that were built into the fabric of the ‘home’ to monitor activity and the third generation extended to the collection, monitor and storage of data from the sensors, in order to generate screens and diagrams for the carers, indicating how people’s behaviour is changing.

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Discussion

Why did Aibo go out of production? We don’t know.

Do carers really care? The Eros-Thanatos relation is more complicated. Hate is also mediated through these technologies. There are times in care when this happens.

To what extent does the telecare offer surveillance of care-work? What kinds of pre-emptive effects arise? Do they displace protection or prevention? Reading of screens or codes works both for and against surveillance. Often local knowledge allows selection between different readings of the screens. The managers and commissioners of services can trace the work of carers.

Do patient hate their carers? Yes, even in these systems. They like people some people and not others.

Where does the image of the butler come in? The good butler renders their care invisible. How could a cat been seen as a butler?

How do the people who commission these systems think they work? The abstraction of work does not seem plausible. Somehow it is meant to address specificity. The technology is meant to make people think they are not being treated like a statistic? The push is towards individualization, in many ways. Finer grades of abstraction are ok, but not video cameras.

Why does the conversation about code and care come together? What does code do here? It disables care, it disconnects. It also leads to connections or attachments. The relation between the ill person and the illness seems to drop out here. Illness does not work out source or script or data. Prevention never works but neither does preemption. One could be seduced by a box for a while, but an illness might come and could not be coded.

The box assumes that an illness can be coded and controlled.

Protection has been cached out here in particular ways here – as a trajectory of vulnerability. The trajectory looks very different from different PoV. The agency might have a different view than the client, who feels the here and now. For the latter, the moving in and out of resources feels very different.