The Role of Assistive Technology for Personal Care Activities of Daily Living to Enable Families to Care for Relatives with Dementia in Their Location of Choice

Friday, July 18, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
Suzanne SNOWDEN , Institute of Gerontology, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, Institute of Gerontology, London, England
Karen GLASER , Institute of Gerontology, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
Anthea TINKER , Institute of Gerontology, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
The UK’s National Dementia Strategy objectives include; i) ensuring that people with dementia live well (whether in their own home or in a care home) and ii) a call for more research on the role of Assistive Technology (AT) to address the social care needs of people with dementia (PWD) and their carers. This research focussed specifically on AT for personal care Activities of Daily Living (ADLs); bathing and washing, dressing and grooming, toileting and continence and feeding tasks.  Examples include; brightly-coloured raised toilet seats, easy-use tap heads and easy-grip cutlery. Such AT is now provided by some Local Authority Social Services in the UK. This research aimed to determine the extent to which PWD and their familial carers were provided with AT for personal care ADLs by formal social care services, or sourced by themselves, and utilised whilst they lived at home in the community. The same individuals were also assessed whilst living in a care home for their AT use for personal care ADLs. Furthermore, the study examined the role AT can play in enabling those caring for a relative with dementia to make choices about their location of care (particularly, whether the use of AT could delay an institutionalisation decision).

An in-depth multiple contrasting case study design explored perceptions and experiences of formal (care home keyworkers) and familial carers of care home residents with a clinical diagnosis of dementia on AT use for personal care ADLs. The results aimed to ascertain the difficulties and preferences carers of PWD have when attaining, using and maintaining AT and its contribution to the quality-of-life of such individuals. This method also enabled comparisons and similarities between individuals residing in different geographical locations to be compared and establish whether inequality in AT provision exists in the UK.