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

Functionalities of electronic records should be tailored to the nursing home environment


Developers of EPR systems for dementia care should consider including a function allowing for the automated generation of graphs to show trends in data, and an accompanying function to prompt staff about changes in a resident’s condition.   In addition, functions allowing for the automated generation of care plans from assessment data, and alerts to prompt staff to create or update a new document in the EPR may be of value to nursing homes. Interoperability should be a goal for the future.

Explanation and Examples

Automatic generation of graphs displaying trends in a resident’s condition increases visibility of changes, allowing staff to more rapidly identify and respond to changing care needs. For example, graphs showing changes in weight, which can commonly affect individuals with dementia. Furthermore, through the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI), some EPR systems are able to analyse resident data and provide alerts to staff about potential risk factors. For instance, alerts to warn staff about potential skin breakdown, important for those residents with dementia receiving end-of-life care, who may be spending considerable amounts of time in bed and have reduced fluid intake. Automatic generation of care plans from assessment data could save staff time in administration, as well as automatic alerts incorporated into the EPR that prompt staff to update care plans, meaning optimal care can be planned and provided to individuals with dementia. Finally, EPR systems should be interoperable, so that staff can access and communicate relevant information securely over the internet with external healthcare providers, instead of using paper records.

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