Warwickshire trials touch screen technology to support people with dementia

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TOUCH screen devices such as iPads are being trialled in Warwickshire to see if they can help improve quality of life for people with dementia.

A small pilot project is being led by Warwickshire County Council to examine the effect touch screen devices can have on people with the condition, particularly in care home settings. The project will explore whether the devices can aid mental stimulation and activity as well as exploring how they can strengthen staff and resident relationships and improve care.

Warwickshire has a higher older population than the regional and national average and there are currently 7,100 people living with dementia in the county – a figure which is expected to rise by 34 per cent before 2021.

Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care Cllr Izzi Seccombe, whose own mother had dementia, says it is important that the council develops a range of support to meet individual needs now and in the future.

Cllr Seccombe said: “The use of technology in dementia care is a growing area of innovation that we want and need to be a part of. We are not suggesting a device should replace human contact or the care provided by a skilled carer, but if we can improve and enhance the whole package of support we can improve the lives of people with dementia.”

The project follows research recently conducted by the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcestershire. Their work has highlighted a number of advantages using iPads including supporting reminiscence through life story work, aiding recall in daily activities, increasing interpersonal interactions and improving staff-resident relationships.

The pilot project in Warwickshire will take place with clinical input over 12 months and is being run in collaboration with the local Living Well with Dementia Partnership.