A pilot study on the use of tracking technology: Feasibility, acceptability, and benefits for people in early stages of dementia and their informal caregivers

A.M. Pot, B.M. Willemse, S. Horjus

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Abstract

Objectives: Caregivers and clinicians may be confronted with the dilemma whether to allow people in early stages of dementia to go outside independently with the risk of getting lost, or to limit their autonomy and mobility. Newly available technology may offer a solution. This pilot study is focused on the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a three-month use of Global Positioning System (GPS) by care receivers and caregivers. Method: Numbers and percentages of participants with positive responses to self-report questions were calculated. Differences between the pre- and post-test scores of role-overload and worry were tested with paired t-tests and effect-sizes were calculated. Results: Of the 33 dyads of care receivers and caregivers, 28 remained in the study (dropout rate 15%). The majority of the caregivers was able to use the technology and integrate the use into their daily routines and would recommend the use of GPS. Almost half of the participants with dementia experienced more freedom and were less worried when they were outside unaccompanied, a quarter mentioned that they were more outside independently and a fifth that they had less conflicts with their caregiver after three months. Caregivers showed a trend to feel less worried, especially caregivers who could reach their relative using the telephone connection. No changes in caregivers feelings of role-overload were found. Conclusion: The GPS device used in this study seems to be promising for people in early stages of dementia and their informal caregivers. A next step is to carry out a randomized controlled trial. © 2012 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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