Differences in assistive technology installed for people with dementia living at home who have wandering and safety risks
MetadataShow full item record
Curnow, E., Rush, R., Górska, S. and Forsyth, K. (2021) 'Differences in assistive technology installed for people with dementia living at home who have wandering and safety risks', BMC Geriatrics, 21, article no. 613.
Background: Assistive Technology for people with dementia living at home is not meeting their care needs. Reasons for this may be due to limited understanding of variation in multiple characteristics of people with dementia including their safety and wandering risks, and how these affect their assistive technology requirements. This study therefore aimed to explore the possibility of grouping people with dementia according to data describing multiple person characteristics. Then to investigate the relationships between these groupings and installed Assistive Technology interventions. Methods: Partitioning Around Medoids cluster analysis was used to determine participant groupings based upon secondary data which described the person characteristics of 451 people with dementia with Assistive Technology needs. Relationships between installed Assistive Technology and participant groupings were then examined. Results: Two robust clustering solutions were identified within the person characteristics data. Relationships between the clustering solutions and installed Assistive Technology data indicate the utility of this method for exploring the impact of multiple characteristics on Assistive technology installations. Living situation and caregiver support influence installation of assistive technology more strongly than level of risk or cognitive impairment. People with dementia living alone received different AT from those living with others. Conclusions: Results suggest that caregiver support and the living situation of the person with dementia influence the type and frequency of installed Assistive Technology. Reasons for this include the needs of the caregiver themselves, the caregiver view of the participants’ needs, caregiver response to alerts, and the caregiver contribution to the assistive technology assessment and selection process. Selection processes should be refined to account for the needs and views of both caregivers and people with dementia. This will require additional assessor training, and the development of validated assessments for people with dementia who have additional impairments. Policies should support the development of services which provide a wider range of AT to facilitate interventions which are focused on the needs of the person with dementia.