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

Electronic care documentation should meet the needs of nursing home staff caring for people with dementia


EPR systems should include the necessary assessment templates for use in the care of people with dementia, as well as space for entry of free text and to upload photos of residents. Electronic assessment forms and care plans for dementia care should use formalised nursing language to prompt the entry of correct information, and structured templates that guide staff through body systems, leading to comprehensive care plans.

Explanation and Examples

EPR systems in nursing homes have been found to omit the appropriate scales and assessments required by nursing staff caring for people with dementia. For instance, staff stated that they require the MMSE assessment, the QUALID scale, and the Barthel Index of Activities of Daily Living incorporated into the EPR. Furthermore, staff have identified incorrect nursing language in electronic forms, meaning important information is not recorded. For example, the omission of the term ‘dementia diagnosis’ from assessment forms meant that nurses were not entering this information about residents. By including the appropriate structured forms for data entry with formalised nursing language, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools can be more successfully integrated into the EPR. Space for photos of residents is important for new staff when learning residents names and for confirming identities of residents when required, and structured body templates included into the EPR have been identified as a useful visual prompt for completing assessments. Staff also require space to enter life stories, and space for free data entry for additional notes and observations. For example, changes in the behaviour of a resident with dementia.

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.

‘More of a hindrance than a help’? Staff perspectives on the usability of Electronic Patient Records for planning and delivering dementia care in nursing homes (in draft)