Technology & Post Diagnostic Support

As explained by an Alzheimer Scotland Link worker

As I sit typing this blog to share my role with you today, I can count at least 8 technologies assisting me to do so, like many people today, I use countless technologies to support me in my day to day life. My mobile phone I’d view as my essential support, due to its many functions, it is rarely far from my side. It has GPS, satnav, diary and daily reminders and ‘google’. Life without my mobile phone would be difficult to imagine. However for many people over 65 this technology is not part of their day to day life and due to this it can sometimes prove difficult to introduce assistive technology following a diagnosis of dementia.

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Image of the 5 pillars model, Alzheimer Scotland

 

As an Alzheimer Scotland dementia link worker, over the last 6 months I have been looking at the ways in which technology fits into the 5 pillars of post diagnostic support and the ways in which Link Workers introduce the idea of technology enabled care. Technology enabled care fits comfortably within 4 of the 5 pillars including understanding the illness and managing the symptoms; supporting community connections and Peer support; then crucially planning for future care. The former and latter provide  opportunities for individuals to discuss current and future options for assistive technologies and both make the changes required for current symptoms and also give consent for future technological interventions. Community connections and peer support are most often options of face to face interactions, however this could also be met through the use of social media and video calling for some people.

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My 4 top tips to introducing technology enabled care:

  1. Timing

Timing is key to the introduction of assistive technology, both in discussing this and implementing technologies. This needs to happen at a time and in a way that works for the individual. Whether that’s a few short discussions, or seeing physical examples of the technologies on a POD in a resource centre, it’s important and it’s a very personal approach.

  1. Individual Benefits

A very common response I have seen in my work as a link worker to options for technologies is ‘I don’t think I need that yet’. Using examples of ways in which a piece of technology has worked for other people in a similar position has proven to be a good way of explaining how and why this would be of benefit to them. A proactive approach is better for individuals to adapt to than introducing technology in reaction to a new symptom or a potential risk or crisis.

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  1. Personalise the options

There are, what seems like an infinite number of technologies which are often adaptable. I use resources such as the Dementia Circle website (http://www.dementiacircle.co.uk/)  encourage people to drop into their local Alzheimer Scotland resource centre and have a look at some examples in our PODS or use google to look into individualised options and then follow up at a future visit. It’s also important to share positive stories and innovative supports with colleagues as it could also help others.

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  1. Future permissions

If the person with dementia has any strong feelings about technology for now and the future, it would be helpful to have this information shared with family and any relevant professionals. This should be included in the person centred plan but equally as important it should be discussed with family who may be involved in future care options.

On reflection

These are my four top tips to talking about the use of technology to live well with dementia, what would your tips be?

as_jmcmillan_LThumb-ConvertImageJennifer Risk, Dementia Link Worker

@JenniferRisk4

I’ve been a Dementia Link Worker for over 3 years providing Post Diagnostic Support in East Ayrshire. I have a particular interest in Technology Enabled Care and the benefits this can have for people living with Dementia.

 

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“Technology Enabled Care” for people living with dementia in Scotland

The first ever Technology Charter for people living with dementia in Scotland was launched on the 9th December 2015 at the Scottish Digital Health Conference in Glasgow by noted Scottish journalist, Sally Magnusson. In our blog this week blog we are sharing what the charter is and how we are “making it real” with a follow up blog next month.

 

Picture of Joyce Gray, Deputy Director for Development, Alzheimer Scotland with Sally Magnuson at the launch

Picture of Joyce Gray, Deputy Director for Development, Alzheimer Scotland with Sally Magnuson at the launch

 

The Technology Charter is a call to action, calling for the delivery of health and social care to people with dementia to incorporate and promote the use of technology; helping people with the condition to live healthier, safer, more active and more confident lives as valued citizens. It also seeks to raise public and professional awareness of how technology can enhance lives, promote independent living and assist and complement care and support. In the charter, the term “technology” is used to describe the application and use of technological solutions (products, systems and processes) which can meet the changing needs of people wherever they are living with dementia.

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The Technology Charter has 6 key values:

  1. Practice and service provision is rights based, personalised and free from discrimination.
  2. Unpaid carers and families are recognised and valued as equal partners in care.
  3. Information and advice about technology is available in clear everyday language and in a variety of formats.
  4. Routes and access to technology are ethical, equitable, simple, understandable and user-friendly.
  5. Consideration of technology is embedded at all key points in the integrated dementia care pathway.
  6. Technology augments – but does not replace human intervention

You can source a full copy of the charter here:

3 ways we are making the charter “real”

It is essential that technology is embedded within early conversations with people living with dementia and their families and it is our hope that our work in developing a dementia friendly technology charter will help to increase those conversations. Here are three ways were are beginning to do this in Alzheimer Scotland

  1. Products on Display

In Alzheimer Scotland we have a network of resource centres where we have products on display that we link with our Dementia Circle project (@dementiacircle). Have a look at our blog from last year about this work https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/finding-testing-and-sharing-domestic-products-to-help-people-with-dementia-living-at-home

We are building on this work to develop a “technology enabled pod” helping people to make an informed decision on what to buy, offering a technology based pod where we can. We already have this in place in Aberdeen and this year we will work in East Ayrshire, Midlothian, East Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire to extend this piece of work.

 

Image of a pod in our new Helensburgh resource centre highlighting 4 themes: technology, keeping track, habits and hobbies & food and drink

 

  1. Videos

We are developing a Dementia Circle You Tube channel which will host “how to” videos with simple on line tutorials on the functions and uses of the technology enabled products to widen the reach to people who might not have access to an Alzheimer Scotland resource centre. This will also be widely promoted through our networks to extend the reach and when the videos are ready we will also share them on this blog.

  1. Alzheimer Scotland Link Workers:

Our Alzheimer Scotland link workers in a great position to start the “technology discussion” with people who have just received a diagnosis of dementia.  We are already beginning to have these discussions which range from community alarms, to clocks and medication prompts and we are hoping to link them into the persons individualised care plan.  In our follow blog on the 18th February we will share more about this work and the role of the link worker.

Finally

Technologies such as smart phones, computers, tablets, apps and smart televisions are now commonplace in our lives, not just because they are available but because people find them useful. Technology can enable people with dementia to live longer at home or in a homely setting, stay independent for longer and give people greater choice about their care. We are suggesting that the use of technology is a potential solution to living well with dementia and is best discussed at an early stage when someone has received a diagnosis of dementia. By doing this the new technology can become familiar and using it becomes routine.

We would welcome your thoughts about this blog and our new technology charter

Pic-1-ConvertImageJoyce Gray

Deputy Director of Development

My role is Deputy Director of Development for Alzheimer’s Scotland I am responsible for innovation and development across the organisation, this encompasses future opportunities in housing, technology and expanding the role of Dementia Dog and Dementia Circle to wider audiences. The circle work has expanded tour design of our interior spaces.

 

as_jmcmillan_LThumb-ConvertImageJennifer Risk, Dementia Link Worker

@JenniferRisk4

I’ve been a Dementia Link Worker for over 3 years providing Post Diagnostic Support in East Ayrshire. I have a particular interest in Technology Enabled Care and the benefits this can have for people living with Dementia.

 

Thank you to all our partners who have supported our work to make this all happen. The charter  was funded by the Technology Enabled Care fund, and was written in collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland, NHS Scotland, Scottish Government, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Tunstall and Tynetec.  To find out more, email tec@alzscot.org

Finding, Testing and Sharing: Domestic Products to help people with dementia living at home

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“Dementia Circle aims to find, test and share everyday products that can help people with Dementia stay independent for longer in their own homes”

Dementia Circle is a project funded by Alzheimer Scotland. We work with people with dementia and their carers to identify and develop products that will help people with dementia stay independent for longer in their own homes. Products are tested by real people and feedback is shared through our website, helping people make better decisions on what to buy.

On our website http://www.dementiacircle.co.uk/ you will see a selection of products we are currently testing, but this is not exhaustive; we are constantly modifying our product listings based on your suggestions. We feature products that users recommend to us, so your feedback is the most valuable feature of the website and it informs every aspect of the project. You can either recommend a product and complete a form on our website to tell us about simple everyday products that have made life easier for you.

“The project is working with local families to test low-tech products for everyday”

See the Products. We have reviewed 32 products in total and you can view them on our website http://www.dementiacircle.co.uk/see-the-products.html  under the headings of:

  1. Medication products that help ensure the right medication is taken at the right time
  2. Time day reminders with easy to read clocks, ways to keep track of important dates and more
  3. Telephones speed dial phones, phones with caller ID, easy to use mobiles and more
  4. Eating and drinking cups that help avoid spills, dishes that keep food warm
  5. Miscellaneous

On the dementia circle site you can also…

  • tell us about a product that has made life easier for you or someone you care for.
  • see a range of products other people have suggested as helpful.
  • read about the experiences (good and bad) of people using these products.
  • tell us your experience of using a product we have listed.
  • volunteer to test one of the products we have available for review.

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Please contact us at dementiacircle@gmail.com if you want to become a tester, need something you cannot find or have found a good product that you would like to share.

We invite you tell us a story”.

  • Tell us about activities you or someone you care for are finding difficult – we will try to find product solutions.
  • Tell us about simple everyday products that have made life easier for you.

Pic-1-ConvertImageJoyce Gray

Deputy Director of Development

My role is Deputy Director of Development for Alzheimer’s Scotland I am responsible for innovation and development across the organisation, this encompasses future opportunities in housing, technology and expanding the role of Dementia Dog and Dementia Circle to wider audiences. The circle work has expanded tour design of our interior spaces.