Home technologies for people with early stage dementia
Topic of the practice
e-health and domotics for elderly population
Good Practice Information
In the last decade a lot of technologies have been developed assisting people with dementia at home. However, these technologies are often implemented with a “technology push” meaning that they are driven by innovators and not the patients themselves. As a result, consumer needs are not always fully taken into account and might not be fully integrated with other home technologies and the demands of care suppliers and insurance providers.
The purpose of this project was to learn more of the direct needs of users by analysing the complete “care system” around a number of people with early stage dementia, so that ICT/domotics solutions can be carefully tailored and integrated with other technologies and services. Instead of ‘pushing’ the goal is to provide integrated products that are “demand pulled” by customers.
40 participants were chosen from a group of 270 people with psychogeriatric problems, all still living at home, but some receiving outpatient, day care and/or home care while some are on a waiting list for admission to a nursing home. For this group, technological solutions to specific problems were sought, working with patients and caregivers.
One element that was important to the success of the project was regular communication with the person with memory problems and his / her caregiver. This was crucial to allow adjustments to optimize the technological support to the clinical picture of the user. People with slight memory problems were obviously more capable of using new tools than those with severe learning difficulties. It is generally recommended that as early as possible technical tools be introduced to people. In fact, getting patients to use tools before their situation worsens is valuable.
Evidence of success
The project increases knowledge about what is needed to enable people with early stage dementia to live longer in their own homes. As a result, participants were able to:
• Provide integrated and tailor-made technology service solutions,
• Assist the family and the formal and informal caretakers surrounding patients.
• Uderstand which products are most valued by patients and caregivers, such as automatic lighting or calendar clocks as two examples.
• Integrate technological tools to increase the independence and quality of life of participants.
• Reduce the burden on caregivers in some cases.
• Gain insight into the financial interests of various stakeholders by closely monitoring investmets.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Dick de Jager
Annex completed on: 03-30-2011