Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia

target groups: Care home & nursing home providers

Implementation of technology in dementia care: facilitators & barriers

Successful implementation of technology in dementia care depends not merely on its effectiveness but also on other facilitating or impeding factors related to e.g. the personal living environment (privacy, autonomy and obtrusiveness); the outside world (stigma and human contact); design (personalisability, affordability and safety), and ethics on these subjects.  This section provides recommendations on the implementation of technology in everyday life, for meaningful activities, healthcare technology and technology promoting Social Health.
Technology for meaningful activities

Ensure free access to the internet for all residents in care homes


Internet should be freely available in care homes so residents with and without dementia can have access to online resources ( media, entertainment, information).


The multi-country survey indicates that it is not common for the residents to have access to the internet in care homes, with the internet use restricted to the staff. This means that many social and leisure activities based on ICT will be inaccessible for people with dementia, depriving them of enjoyable, meaningful activities and social networks.

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Social Health Domain 3: Technology to promote social participation

Make sure social robots work well with residents and consider practical challenges when implementing social robots in nursing homes


Understanding how social robots positively impact nursing home residents as well as analysing practical challenges are important when implementing robotic assistive technology in nursing homes

Explanation and examples

An important facilitating factor to the acceptance of social robots in nursing homes is understanding and seeing how social robots positively impact residents, for example by improving the communication, decreasing loneliness, providing joy to residents, calming agitated residents or generally increasing their wellbeing. Understanding these benefits will facilitate the acceptance of social robots by staff as well as by relatives, but is also important for the resident to accept the social robot, as their acceptance will be influenced by the views and attitudes of staff and relatives.

On the other hand, one of the key hindering factors to the acceptance of social robots in nursing homes are practicalities of everyday life in the nursing home, such as storage, hygiene, finding a quiet place, scheduling time for robot use or the need to charge the robot.

We conclude, that applying an acceptance model of social robots (here the Almere Model) is an interesting and feasible way to trace facilitators and barriers of implementation of social technology in nursing homes, where involvement in social activities and enhancing positive experiences are important foci of interventions to improve social health.

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Technological solutions to safeguard the social health of nursing home residents with dementia should be incorporated in caregiving as standard alternatives of social connections


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.

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