A Caregiver Perspective on Incorporating IT Support into Dementia Care

Sammanfattning: Aim: The overall aim of the present thesis was to describe and evaluate IT support in dementia care from the perspectives of staff and relatives. More specifically, it was to examine staff members’ satisfaction with work, life satisfaction and sense of coherence before and after increased IT support, to describe staff members’ opinions and perceptions of IT support during the process of implementation, to describe relatives’ opinions of IT support and to compare relatives’ perceptions of their irritations with care and life satisfaction before and after increased IT support. In addition, three questionnaires were further developed and tested among staff working in elderly care, and then used in the staff evaluation. Methods: A quasi-experimental design with baseline assessments and follow-ups and experimental and control groups was used in two studies to investigate the outcomes of IT support. A descriptive design was used to study staff views on IT support, and a correlative design was used in the methodological study. Participants were 33 staff members and 22 relatives in the evaluation, 14 staff members in the descriptive study and 299 staff members in the methodological study. Data collection methods were questionnaires and group interviews. The IT support consisted of passive passage alarms, fall detectors, sensor-activated night-time illumination of the lavatory, movement detectors, email communication, an Internet website and additional computers. Findings and conclusions: Staff job satisfaction and perceived quality of care increased in the experimental group. The relatives were generally positive about the IT support, and the experimental group showed a decrease in practical/logistical irritations. Staff described ‘moving from fear of losing control to perceived increase in control and security’ and ‘constant struggling with insufficient/deficient systems’. Conclusions are that IT support can be a resource in dementia care as perceived by caregivers if IT support is incorporated into the care system.