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Mapping review

Welfare technology to support independent living for older adults and adults with disabilities

  • Year: 2014
  • By: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services
  • Authors Munthe-Kaas HM, Johansen S, Kirkehei I.
  • ISBN (digital): 978-82-8121-934-2

To identify and map existing empirical research on welfare technology to support independent living.



Key message

The Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services was commissioned by the Norwegian State Housing Bank (Husbanken) and the Norwegian Nurses Organization (NSF) to identify and map existing empirical research on welfare technology to support independent living. This is the first of two reports, and includes studies that examine technology for safety and security, technology for wellness and well-being and technology for social contact. A second report identifying studies related to technology in acute care and self-management of illness will be conducted in 2015.


We developed a search strategy, and conducted a systematic search of relevant databases in September 2014. Two researchers independently went through identified references to assess inclusion according to predefined criteria. We sorted potentially relevant references according to study, intervention, and population characteristics.


We identified 5241 studies through the literature search. Of these, we assessed 187 as being potentially relevant:

  • We identified 19 systematic reviews that examined technology for safety and security (4), technology for welfare and wellness (3), technology for social contact (3), and welfare technology in general (3). The literature search for the included reviews were conducted between 2006 and 2012. Search dates were not available for ten of the reviews.
  • We also identified 19 randomized controlled trials, 21 other experimental studies, 48 observation studies, 36 qualitative studies, 12 mixed-methods studies, and three cost-effectiveness studies. Study design was not reported for 29 studies.
  • The majority of the studies examined interventions targeting older adults (88) or adults with disabilities (48). The other studies looked at studies targeting persons with dementia or cognitive decline (29), or adults with chronic illness (12). In six studies the effect on or experiences of caregivers was investigated. Details related to the population were not available for four studies.

We have sorted and listed all possibly relevant studies, but we have neither read the papers in full, critically appraised their methodological quality, nor synthesised their conclusions.