Are eHealth interventions acceptable and effective for people with dementia?

7th October 2022

Researchers based at the Cicely Saunders Institute have carried out a systematic review of published research to find out whether eHealth interventions support assessment and decision-making for people with dementia living in care homes. eHealth is defined as “health services and information delivered or enhanced through the internet and related technologies” 

As dementia progresses, care needs increase, leading many to require 24-h care in care homes. eHealth interventions have the potential to improve care processes of assessment and decision-making for people with dementia. However, little is known on their acceptability and effectiveness in care homes.

The researchers report that interventions that promoted supportive, practical learning through integrated working and provided staff with language to communicate resident symptoms were favoured by staff. They found evidence that indicated residents were willing to use video consultations; however, families preferred face-to-face consultations. 

Use of eHealth interventions indicated an improvement in resident outcomes in appropriate prescribing and advance care planning. Staff knowledge, confidence, and wellbeing were also improved. Hospitalisations were reduced when a video consultation component was implemented.

Care home staff require support to meet the often multiple and changing care needs of residents with dementia. eHealth interventions can improve outcomes for staff and residents and facilitate integrated working with external professionals to support assessment and management of care.

Further work is required to understand acceptability for residents and their families and effectiveness on family outcomes, particularly in non-Western cultures and low-middle income countries.

Tunnard I, Gillam J, Harvey C, Davies N, Vickerstaff V, Ellis-Smith C, Evans CJ. The acceptability and effectiveness of eHealth interventions to support assessment and decision-making for people with dementia living in care homes: A systematic review. Frontiers in Dementia (1) 13 Sept. 2022. doi:10.3389/frdem.2022.977561