Implementing mobile games into care services: Service models for finnish and Chinese elderly care

Sari Merilampi, Antti Koivisto, Mirka Leino, Nuno Pombo, Virginie Felizardo, Jue Lu, Anja Poberznik, Johanna Virkki

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The purpose of this paper was to create service models for cognitively stimulating mobile games and incorporate them into Finnish and Chinese elderly care. The implementation involved the use of two different mobile games as part of the everyday lives of older adults in care homes in Finland (3 months) and China (6 months). Although a large number of publications examine serious games in elderly care, there are rather few publications related to the practical implementation within the elderly care processes. In general, rehabilitation orientated games should incorporate entertainment (motivation) and relevant therapeutic content (rehabilitation) in order to be effective. Regardless of the game design, successful implementation of the games in elderly care is paramount to benefit the end user. In this paper, two mobile games were investigated as a case study. To investigate the therapeutic content of the games, the game outcomes (game scores and time stamps) were automatically recorded to facilitate analysis of the participant's progress during the trial. To investigate motivation, user feedback was collected through observation of the game trials and by interviewing the nursing staff and the participants (test group). The gaming service implementation was designed in collaboration with the nursing staff and researchers, according to an experimentation-driven approach, in which the service model ideas were tested by the professionals before piloting. In both countries, the players and the nursing staff found the games showed potential as self-managed rehabilitation tools. Other significant effects of gameplay were enhanced recreation and self-managed activity level. Despite cultural differences, the gaming experience was amazingly similar and improvements in game scores were also observed during the trial in both countries. The biggest difference between the pilots was the implementation process, which led to the development of two different service models that are reported in this paper. In Finland, the games were embedded into the care practices and the nursing staff were responsible for the piloting. In China, the games were independent of the care process and an external service provider (the researcher) managed the piloting. The findings imply that service design in different cultures should be carefully considered when implementing new digital services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number55
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cultural comparison
  • Older adults
  • Recreation
  • Self-managed rehabilitation
  • Serious games
  • Service design

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 0

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems


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