Purpose: An ageing population presents a challenge for municipal eldercare in Sweden due to difficulties recruiting staff and there being a strained economy. A strategy involving welfare technology is presented as one such solution. An important group to carry out this strategy involves those who work with welfare technology in municipal eldercare. In this paper we describe their perception of welfare technology, and the challenges and opportunities they perceive in utilizing it.
Methods: A self-administered online questionnaire was distributed to all Swedish municipalities and answered by 393 respondents. Analyses show that the respondents were representative of the different professions who work with welfare technology within municipal eldercare.
Results: Welfare technology was perceived as being more reliable and safer than humans with regards to supervisions and reminders. The respondents acknowledged factors that slowed down the implementation of welfare technology in municipal eldercare organizations, such as resistance to change, lack of finances, lack of supporting evidence, lack of infrastructure, high staff turnover, difficulties with procurement and uncertainties about responsibility and laws.
Conclusions: We found that the people who work with and make decisions about welfare technology in municipal eldercare organizations were generally very positive about the deployment and use of such technology, but there appear to be problems within municipal eldercare organizations to realize this vision. The lack of structured implementation processes and coherent evaluation models indicates inequality of the access to welfare technology and, as a result, even though Swedish eldercare is publicly funded, the availability of welfare technologies and their usage differ between municipalities.