Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia


Practical, cognitive & social factors to improve usability of technology for people with dementia

Technologies are increasingly vital in today’s activities in homes and communities. Nevertheless, little attention has been given to the consequences of the increasing complexity and reliance on them, for example, at home, in shops, traffic situations, meaningful activities and health care services. The users’ ability to manage products and services has been largely neglected or taken for granted. People with dementia often do not use the available technology because it does not match their needs and capacities. This section provides recommendations to improve the usability of technology used in daily life, for meaningful activities, in healthcare and in the context of promoting the Social Health of people with dementia.
Health care technologies

Portable and unobtrusive devices for electronic records are optimal for staff and residents


Nursing homes providing care for people with dementia should consider introducing portable devices in addition to desktop devices for electronic patient records (EPR). Devices should not disrupt or invade residents’ privacy.

Explanation and Examples

Portable devices have been shown to increase efficiency in some instances as they allow staff to record data into the EPR at the point of care instead of at the end of the shift. This enables staff to spend more time providing care to residents, particularly for residents with dementia and complex needs. Portable devices can support person-centred care by allowing immediate access to care plans with vital information about residents, such as dementia diagnosis. Rapid access to care plans is important for staff retrieving information about individuals who are at the nursing home temporarily on respite; for those residents who may be unable to recall personal information; and for those staff who work infrequently in the home and are unfamiliar with residents. However, it should be taken into consideration that some staff may prefer desktop devices based on ease of use when completing substantial documents. During the development of portable devices for nursing homes, the impact that such devices could have on residents should be taken into account and staff should explain the purpose of EPR devices to residents and family members who may be unfamiliar with the technology.

Type of evidence

Kate Shiells (INDUCT ESR 13)

Integrative literature review
Qualitative study


Shiells, K., Holmerova, I., Steffl, M., Stepankova, O. (2018). Electronic patient records as a tool to facilitate care provision in nursing homes: an integrative review. Informatics for Health and Social Care, 44(3), 262-277.

Shiells, K., Diaz Baquero, A. A., Stepankova, O., & Holmerova, I. (2020). Staff perspectives on the usability of electronic patient records for planning and delivering dementia care in nursing homes: a multiple case study. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 20, 159.