Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia

themes: Social technology

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.
Social Health Domain 3: Technology to promote social participation

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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