Technological solutions that can safeguard the social health of nursing home residents with dementia should be implemented as an integrated part of caregiving procedures. This requires formally incorporated technology guidelines and continuous training of staff. As developing and implementing technology to promote social participation faces substantial barriers as long as social health is not recognized on equal terms as the physical and mental health domains, first, social health needs to be acknowledged as a priority which requires major efforts at the societal-, organizational and individual levels.
Explanation and examples
Cross-sectional data from a national online survey conducted among German nursing homes, on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, showed that efforts were made to ensure social participation among residents with dementia, and the use of technology in doing so.A large proportion of respondents observed an increase in at least one Behavioural and Psychological Symptom in Dementia (BPSD) in residents with dementia. Many reported that social activities in the nursing home were cancelled, which was due to COVID-19 cases and staff shortages from 5 % and up, revealing just how easily neglectable social health strategies in nursing homes are. Half of all respondents reported having had no formal training in the use of social technology to engage their residents with dementia. Although more than 70% had provided opportunities for using technology for social purposes, the low frequency of established procedures seems to indicate ad hoc solutions to ensure the social health of residents with dementia.
At the micro-, meso- and macro level requirements were identified to promote social participation using technology. These requirements revealed that integrating technological solutions in institutional settings, requires efforts at individual-, organisational and societal level.
ThemesCOVID-19 Nursing home Social isolation Social participation Social technology Software
Target groupsCare home & nursing home providers Nursing homes Policymakers
Type of evidence
Cross-sectional multi-methods study.
Hoel, V., Seibert, K., Domhoff, D., Preuß, B., Heinze, F., Rothgang, H., Wolf-Ostermann, K. Social Health among German Nursing Home Residents with Dementia during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Role of Technology to Promote Social Participation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2022. 19(4): p. 1956.