Digital solutions for dementia care

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Digital solutions for dementia care

New Australian research suggests telehealth delivery of dementia care in the home can be as effective as face-to-face visit services.

A study of 63 people living with mild to moderate dementia and their carers found that telehealth services delivered using videoconference successfully equipped families with strategies to promote independence in the person living with dementia.

The researchers concluded this type of delivery has the added advantage of saving on travel time, particularly in rural and remote areas, thus reducing the cost associated with delivery, and increasing accessibility.

Flinders University Associate Professor Kate Laver said giving care partners strategies to cope with, and delay, functional decline in people living with dementia is a priority, considering around 70 per cent of people with dementia live in their own homes with support from family members and friends.

“Giving families evidence-based information and skills can promote independence and improve quality of life and wellbeing for people with dementia,” Associate Professor Laver said.

“Few organisations have the ability to send therapists to someone’s home for up to ten visits. This study shows that using videoconferencing can be just as effective and saves time.

“People with dementia and their families have faced many challenges in accessing services due to the COVID19 pandemic. Telehealth presents new options for access to specialists in dementia care.”

The paper, Does Telehealth Delivery of a Dyadic Dementia Care Program Provde a Noninferior Alternative to Face-to-Face Delivery of the Same Program? A Randomized, Controlled Trial‘ by Kate Laver, Enwu Liu, Lindy Clemson, Owen Davies, Len Gray, Laura Gitlin, Maria Crotty was published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.