Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia

themes: Involvement of Users

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

Consult with end users when deciding on a mode of delivery for a digital intervention


Researchers and developers of digital psychosocial interventions for people with dementia and family carers should consult end users on the mode of delivery of their interventions to ensure its usability.

Explanation and Examples

Consensus exists that consultations with people with dementia and family carers should be carried out when developing digital complex interventions for these populations. However, with different platforms that are available to researchers and developers, it is especially important to ensure that the mode of delivery of these technologies (e.g., smartphone application, website, text messages etc.) is appropriate and useful for people who are going to use the intervention. Qualitative consultations in the form of interviews and focus groups with end users can be especially useful for this. We conducted focus groups with 17 people with dementia and family carers to establish their needs and wishes regarding the digital adaptation of an existing face-to-face intervention. Contrary to our expectations, we discovered that participants preferred a website intervention if they were going to use the intervention for a limited amount of time, for example less than four weeks. Smartphone applications were preferred if they were going to be used for a longer period. Consultations with end users are recommended to establish not just the intervention content but also its mode of delivery.

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Social Health Domain 1: Fulfill ones potential and obligations

The development of web-based advance care planning support tools should in-volve end-users and should be based on scientific evidence


End-users should be involved in the development of web-based advance care planning support tools to ensure their usability and usefulness for end-users. Furthermore, the content of web-based advance care planning tools should be substantiated by scientific evidence.

Explanation and Examples:

More and more web-based advance care planning support tools are publicly available on the internet. We conducted a systematic review of web-based interactive advance care planning support tools. We found numerous interactive web-based advance care planning support tools, varying in terms of their characteristics, functionalities, readability, quality of content, and level of evidence. Most tools were not co-developed with end users; were of low or medium quality; and, with a few exceptions, had not been evaluated in research. Tools should be evaluated through usability and effectiveness testing and should be substantiated with the most recent scientific literature.

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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.
Health care technologies

Involve all users during the development process of complex health technologies


To make complex health technologies more useful and applicable for users, it is crucial to involve all users, including staff, in the early phase of development of these interventions.


In developing complex health technologies that would be delivered by nursing staff to people with dementia, it is important to involve the nursing staff themselves in the early phase of development of such technologies. In doing so, complex health technologies can be more useful and applicable for the nursing staff.

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