Title
Telecare and Assistive Technology Evaluation
Research team
Dr Kevin Cullen, Sarah Delaney, Philomena Stapleton and Richard Wynne, Work Research Centre
Results
2016

Telecare and Assistive Technology Evaluation

This study describes the process of implementing assistive technology supports for people with dementia across four sites which will inform future service developments and the impact of assistive technology for 24 people with dementia and their families. The four sites successfully established various pilot telecare services, such as a Memory Technology Library and a programme to loan assistive technology for clients to try. The evaluation covers risk management and other supports provided by care services or informal carers who are not present in the home, as well as in-home arrangements enabling carers to provide care to a person with dementia from another room or part of the home and its environs.

The report highlights the following key findings;

  • Telecare and assistive technology provided significant benefits for many persons with dementia and family carers, with person-centred approaches with individualised technology packages working best. When effectively targeted, telecare can provide good value for money and would typically represent only a small incremental addition to the costs of a home care package.
  • There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ technological solution for the wide-ranging circumstances and needs of persons with dementia living in the community, nor is technology a panacea or a substitute for human care. 
  • Dementia services should discuss with persons with dementia and their families whether telecare and assistive technology may be helpful in their circumstances. They may have great value in some cases, but be less relevant or not appropriate in others. 
  • As in other areas of dementia care, ethical issues are important. Involving the person with dementia, to the greatest extent possible, in the selection and implementation of technologies can achieving best outcomes, both for them and for family carers.
Key Points
  • Telecare and assistive technology provided significant benefits for many persons with dementia and family carers, when ethically implemented.
  • Person-centred approaches with individualised technology packages for each person was found to be most effective.
  • Telecare can provide good value for money when effectively targeted.
  • This means there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ technological solution for the wide-ranging circumstances and needs of persons with dementia.

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