The recommendations that are included in this Best Practice Guidance for Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia are based on the findings of research done by 15 Early Stage Researchers in the INDUCT International Training Network (2016-2020) funded by the European Marie Sklodowska Curie Programme.
The Best Practice Guidance 2021 update includes also the first recommendations from the Marie Sklodowska Curie funded DISTINCT Innovative Training Network (2019-2023) in which again 15 Early Stage Researchers conducted research into technology for people with dementia, with a main focus on promotion of social health.
Each of the early stage researchers systematically investigated part of the literature to get a comprehensive insight in the state of the art of science regarding the usability of technology for people with dementia in daily life and in meaningful activities as well as in the application of technology in the organisation of dementia care, and regarding social health, technology to 1) fulfil their potential on a societal level, 2) manage their own life and 3) participate in social and meaningful activities. All researchers did also scientific field work, systematically collecting new data in these areas, with a special focus on the usability of technology, the evaluation of its impact on people with dementia and their carers and/or tracing facilitators and barriers for the implementation of technologies in daily practice. Moreover, during their field work they involved different types of stakeholders, such as people with dementia and carers, professional health care workers, developers of technology, policy makers and researchers to get feedback on their work and findings and to get informed on the different stakeholders’ perspectives.
All together this resulted in a comprehensive knowledge base and in total 65 recommendations in this 2021 update (56 from INDUCT and 9 from DISTINCT) to improve the development, usage and implementation of technology for people with dementia and their application in dementia care. More specifically 22 recommendations on Practical, cognitive & social factors to improve the usability of technology for people with dementia, 19 recommendations on Evaluating the effectiveness of specific contemporary technology, and 24 recommendations on Facilitators and barriers in the implementation of technology in dementia care. Although this set of recommendations is not exhaustive it provides different stakeholders with useful state of the art information to promote the use of technology in dementia.
This Best Practice Guidance should be seen as a dynamic document that can, and will have to be, updated when new insights are available in the continuously developing technological landscape. The recommendations should therefore always be interpreted with caution. The Best Practice Guidance paved the way for the new Marie Sklodowska Curie funded ITN project DISTINCT (2019-2023) in which 15 new Early Stage Researchers are investigating the usability, impacts and implementation of technology in three domains of Social health in dementia: supporting/promoting their ability to fullfil their potential in the society, supporting/promoting self management in daily life and supporting/promoting social participation and meaningful activities. The recommendations of DISTINCT will be continued to be included in the updates of the Best Practice Guidance in the coming years.
Further development and implementation
Research into the usability, impact and implementation of technology is still in its infancy. With this Best Practice Guidance we hope to inspire and stimulate many researchers, policy makers and investors in the development of technology for people with dementia and innovation of dementia care to effectively contribute to the further development and implementation of user-friendly, useful and easy implementable technology for people with dementia and carers and dementia care in general.