Personal and Household Services (PHS) and the Role of Technical Assistance
Here, technical assistance could come in. There has been notable progress in the development of assistance systems in private households, also in the area of PHS and eldercare as well as to support staff and patients in institutional care. Technological assistance in the area of PHS, in particular with respect to older people, can enhance the productivity of PHS providers or complement personal and household services rendered by human staff, by limiting the demand for labor in these occupations. This might ease the burden of the service providers, foster their job retention and moreover reduce the fiscal pressure on care arrangements. However, technological solutions and human-machine interaction may not be appropriate and acceptable by all users. Different needs of support have to be taken into account, the used supporting technology should be favored by the users and the technical support should be human centered as well. Beside the ethical question “How much technological assistance is acceptable for services users and service providers?” there are also legal and social issues to discuss. As there is now some evidence available to technical solutions, we can take case studies on particular types of technical assistance to assess the actual potential and limits of technological solutions in PHS. We identify factors that are conducive or detrimental to the day-to-day use of technical assistance.