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Technology's usefulness in dementia care to be studied

August 11, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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The potential usefulness of health monitoring technology for people who have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and their family caregivers, will be the focus of a study by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in partnership with the Lutheran Home Association (LHA) of Belle Plaine, Minn. The research will be funded by a $1.2 million grant from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Over 5 years, the project will examine the effectiveness of equipment designed to help those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related conditions maintain independence and optimal health. The system being studied uses monitors and sensors to track daily activity and alert caregivers if an incident such as a fall, wandering or missed medication may have occurred. 

“We anticipate that this innovative health monitoring intervention, which adopts a proactive approach to chronic disease care, will result in a cost-effective approach that offers robust support for family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias at home,” the study’s leader, Joseph Gaugler, PhD, said in a press release.

The LHA will provide technology assessment, technology installation and training and support for family caregivers. The organization has been implementing health monitoring technology across multiple settings, including private homes, for the past 6 years and has launched technology-enabled care models designed to assist older adults who wish to live independently in their homes.

“We look forward to the outcomes of this study and how the results may positively impact Alzheimer’s/dementia support strategies and the dementia care model,” Michael Klatt, LHA’s president and CEO, said in the release.

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