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Using technology to improve dementia care

06/05/2019

Some of the ACE unit team in Richmond with their iPad.

There's no denying it—the population of seniors across the country is on the rise. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, 770,780 Canadians are over the age of 85—well surpassing the number of children and a number that is expected to continue climbing in the coming years. To meet the growing health care needs of our aging population, there has been growing recognition of the potential to use technological solutions to better care for patients, especially those with cognitive impairments and dementia.

Bringing iPads to patient care

After a successful implementation in Vancouver and thanks to support from the Richmond Hospital Foundation, Richmond Hospital's Acute Care for the Elderly Unit (ACE) nurses have recently adopted iPads in their care of the older adults, with positive results in clinical care.

The iPads are used in many ways—for patients to watch pre-recorded videos of their loved ones that provide reassurance throughout care, to offer comfort in an unfamiliar environment by playing familiar music and movies, and ease communications when used as a language translation tool to assist nurses in caring for patients whose first language is not English.

After showing a patient a video of her loved one encouraging her to take her medications, one nurse commented: "When I showed her the video on the iPad, she smiled and took her medications. When the iPad was not used, she did not understand why she was given the pills and refused to take her medications."

Improving the tech

Now that the iPad has been used on the unit, the next step is making it even more efficient to use in daily patient care. Our Biomed Engineering is team is currently helping units in Richmond and Vancouver make the mobile device even more mobile by adding a mechanical arm and wheels to the iPad. The mechanical arm can easily be washed to meet infection control protocols and the wheels will allow the device to be easily brought to bedside.

SOURCE: Using technology to improve dementia care ( )
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