Can technology improve care for people with dementia?

Categories: Care.

With encouragement from the Prime Minister, through his ‘dementia challenge’, and funding schemes to support the development of innovative technology, technology to support people with dementia is expanding.

This week, the Care Council for Wales has released a new mobile app to support social care managers and staff to offer person-centred care for people with dementia. While developed for managers and supervisors in social care in Wales, it will also be relevant to health professionals and family members who support relatives with dementia.

Roberta Hayes, director of learning and development at Care Council Wales, said: “The app can be used to inform a number of aspects of the work including assessment, care planning, induction, further training, staff meetings, supervision, and involvement of the individual and people who know them best.”

The free app ‘Dementia Care’ is available in English and Welsh and is available for Android and Apple phones or tablets. Once downloaded, it can be used without the need to connect to the internet.

SCIE (the Social Care Institute for Excellence) has also been adding to its online resources for those who work with people with dementia. Its latest online film is about the importance of getting to know the person with dementia, to help provide person-centred care and support.

A library of films include a number on dementia, end of life care and personalisation are available through its Social Care TV portal. Other resources on dementia are also available through its Dementia Gateway.

Controversy

However promising some of this technology seems, there has also been controversy around the use and reliability of technology. For example, there has been outrage at the use of GPS trackers to keep tabs on people with dementia, and doctors have questioned the use of apps designed to diagnose dementia.

As with much criticism over the use of tools and technology in healthcare (and other fields), their successful use usually comes down to the understanding, knowledge and skill of those using the tools, as well as the design of the tool itself.

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