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P7. Technology

Detailed programme, abstracts and presentations

P7.1. Transforming research into resource: A massive open online course to support carers as dementia progresses

POOLE Marie1, YEMM Heather1, YOUNG Julie2, DAVIS Nuala1, ROBINSON Louise1

1Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 2Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

To translate empirical research findings on improving end of life dementia care into an accessible educational resource for carers, we have developed a free, massive online open course (MOOC).  To address unmet support needs of family carers of people with advancing dementia, the MOOC provides an educational resource to prepare and empower learners. Based on a model of interactive social learning, the MOOC provides a flexible and interactive approach to learning which can accommodate caring commitments and enable global participation. 

Reflecting key UK government recommendations on supporting carers, the course focuses on: guiding carers to understand dementia as a progressive, life-limiting condition; decision-making and advance care planning; and recognising their own needs as carers.

Based on 7 key components of good end of life care the interactive content is delivered through articles, videos, discussion steps, quizzes and images.  Personal and professional perspectives and experiences of care towards end of life are shared by family carers and health and social care professionals alongside research-based written content. 

The MOOC has achieved significant global reach during the initial release.  To date, over 2000 learners from 100 countries joined to learn more about dementia progression.  Over half of participants were aged over 56, and a quarter over 65, indicating relevance to carers of all ages.  Through posting comments - sharing advice and experiences - learners have created a supportive global community. 

Initial findings suggest that this model can support meeting unmet needs for carers of people with advancing dementia.  Disseminating research findings in a timely and accessible way through an interactive platform enables learners to find out more about dementia progression and access support from peers.  Exploration of internet access, relevance of UK findings, systems and English language in an international context are ongoing.

P7.2. Promoting adoption of assistive technology among people with dementia


1Danish Dementia Research Centre, Bagsværd, Denmark, 2Dementia Services Development Centre Wales, Bangor, United Kingdom, 3Danish Dementia Research Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark

Assistive technology (AT) has potential to support cognition and self-management of people with dementia and an increasing amount of AT is promoted as applicable within this scope. However, there is growing awareness on the many challenges that need to be addressed in research to provide evidence-based AT for people with dementia, e.g. the need for user-involvement in design and test of AT, and the need for applicable and effective methods to promote adoption and adherence to AT.

In the ReACT study [1] a holistic app solution to support self-management of people with dementia was designed and tested through a process of extensive user-involvement. Secondly, two studies were conducted to explore various methods for dissemination and adoption of the app among people with dementia. One study explored a method of group-based cognitive rehabilitation (N=19) and the other study explored a self-applied method of implementation (N=112).

Results have shown that both methods were applicable and effective to promote adoption of AT and long-term adherence. In general, there was great variation in background and disease-related factors among those who adopted AT, but the results demonstrated a significant impact of timely intervention and caregiver support on adoption of AT among people with dementia. 

The results of this study provide new and important perspectives on user-involvement in design and test of AT for people with dementia and the importance of providing structured interventions tailored to people with dementia to promote adoption and adherence to AT.

[1] ReACT: Rehabilitation in Alzheimer’s disease using Cognitive Support Technology: 

P7.3. The digital future of dementia health and care

COOPER Nicola1, ANDERSON Gillian2

1Alzheimer Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 2Alzheimer Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Digital solutions have the potential to transform the lives of people with dementia, their families and carers but only if we can ensure fair access and the opportunity to fully engage with this rapidly developing area of innovation.

The next decade will see digital services exert a major influence over how people connect with health and social care services and it is important the active voice of people with dementia, families and carers shape these developments. 

Alzheimer Scotland is leading a Scottish Government funded ‘National Test of Change’ which aims to support better self-management outcomes for people whose lives are affected by dementia through early intervention digital solutions. We are working with 15 partners from health, social care, housing and the third sector to scrutinise where the digital future might take us, ensuring ethical and moral concerns can be addressed. 

Our digital lead team will demonstrate how we have engaged with people with dementia and their support networks to ensure digital services and products are designed inclusively and trusted by this community. We will show how high street consumer technology can be used to create a person-centred digital care environment and highlight opportunities for the internet of things, voice assistants and wearable technology to provide solutions tailored to individual needs, preferences and circumstances.

This national project will help to improve the accessibility and quality of digital health and care services across Scotland. The potential is for more people to remain in their homes for longer and have greater choice in their options around self-management, and that families have greater peace of mind. 

We seek to enhance understanding and the adoption of person-centred digital solutions, as we have seen and can evidence the benefits.

P7.4. Memory service professional practice regarding assistive technology in England


1Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 2Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne , United Kingdom

Background: Assistive technology (AT) could potentially support people with dementia to live independently for longer. Research has highlighted a complex system surrounding the provision of AT. General Practitioners and families living with dementia do not know where to get information on or how to access AT. Pathways need to be clarified to support people with dementia to obtain AT. In England, Memory Services (MS) are the first service providing information after diagnosis.  This presentation explores the results of two surveys exploring MS professional practice surrounding AT in England.

Methods: Two surveys were developed and piloted with MS professionals. One survey for MS managers or lead professionals looking at service characteristics and another survey to MS professionals looking at individual professional practice. Professionals included: psychiatrists, specialist dementia nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists and other professionals in direct contact with people living with dementia. Each survey included fixed response and open-ended questions. Surveys have been distributed via the Royal College of Psychiatrists memory service national accreditation programme and the National Institute for Health research portfolio to more than ninety-two MS.

Results: Surveys are open until 31/5/19.  Preliminary responses (n=592) have been analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis of open ended questions. Results highlight the diversity of MS in England and a wide range of standard practice surrounding the provision of information on and support provided to access AT. This is surprising, given England has had a National Dementia Strategy and Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia for many years.   

Conclusions: Development of pathways to help people with dementia to obtain AT need to be clarified, but in the MS setting this will be challenging given the diverse MS landscape and variety of information and support provided to people with dementia.

P7.5. An online service for people with memory disease – Case Muistipuisto® (Memory Park)


1Miina Sillanpää Foundation, Helsinki, Finland, 2Alzheimer Society of Finland, Helsinki, Finland

Introduction: Muistipuisto® is an online service with the focus of brain health of people with memory disease and elderly population. It was developed by two NGO’s, the Alzheimer Society of Finland and Miina Sillanpää Foundation. It is free of charge for the user. There are of plenty brain-training applications and online programs that focus on specific areas of brain health. Most of them have an inadequate theoretical basis and rarely meet the user requirements of people with memory disease.

Aim: The aim of Muistipuisto® is to provide new theoretically proven ways for enhancing one’s brain health. The service applies game-design elements and game principles to improve user’s motivation, engagement, learning and lifestyle changes.

Methods: Service design principles were implemented in an iteratively designed development project of Muistipuisto®, ensuring website’s value, users’ satisfaction and usability for its’ users. All together, 2000 people with memory disease, their caregivers, volunteers and professionals took part in service creation, ensuring that the service meets their specific needs and have value for them. The service design principles and multimodal methodology enabled to empathize with the target groups and build up a genuine understanding of their experiences, needs and wishes.

Results: Muistipuisto® was launched in Finnish on September 12th, 2018. There have been over 30,000 users during the first six-month period. The feedback indicates, that the service provides a meaningful way for enhancing brain health in the areas of cognitive training, mental wellbeing, exercise, brain healthy diet, and music and memories.

Discussion: Service design thinking provides new perspectives for improving existing services and creating new ones, particularly for the people with memory disease and elderly population. An iterative design methodology provides flexible ways to test service content and user interface throughout the development process, and hence increase the quality of user experience.  

P7.6. The use of artificial intelligence and automatic speech and image analysis for remote cognitive testing

TRÖGER Johannes3, HALI Lindsay3, KÖNIG Alexandra1, RAMAKERS Inez2

1INRIA, Cobtek 1CoBTeK (Cognition-Behaviour-Technology) Lab, Memory Clinic, University Côte d’Azur, Nice, France, 2School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands, 3German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Saarbrücken, Germany

Today, the procedure of getting enrolled as participant in clinical dementia trials are rather lengthy, costly, invasive and characterized by high failure rates - only one of ten initial candidates is selected. Besides, older adults living in rural areas rarely even onboard into trials due to the limited access and long travel times to clinics. Thus, there is an increasing need for innovative tools to detect early signs of cognitive decline remotely; ecologically valid and sensitive methods are required to improve accessibility as frontline screening in the general population for clinical trials as well as remote disease tracking. 

Hinging on recent advances in automatic speech analysis and computational linguistics, the DeepSpa project aims to explore the use of a telecommunication-based system empowered by artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate large scale population based pre-screening and monitoring of potential trial participants. For this, the objective is to validate a semi-automated telephone tool for neurocognitive pre-screening and pre-selection of participants of clinical trials targeting various neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, a videoconference system is used for remote disease monitoring, e.g. patients will be assessed at their own homes.

In two different sites (Netherlands/France), observational studies are performed with 180 participants to assess the feasibility and usability of such phone and telecommunication-based neurocognitive assessment. It consists of a short interview on how the particpants perceive their memory, and overall mental state, a verbal (visual) memory task, and fluency tasks. The predictive potential of information extracted from the participant’s speech and image during cognitive and narrative tasks are examined. Longitudinal and cross sectional data is collected and results extracted remotely validated against face-to-face results. Moreover, the degree to which participants experience the phone/teleconference system-based as satisfactory as a F2F assessment will be evaluated with the help of qualitative interview at the end of the study.



Last Updated: Wednesday 11 December 2019


  • Acknowledgements

    The 29th AE Conference in The Hague received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). Alzheimer Europe and Alzheimer Nederlands gratefully acknowledge the support of all conference sponsors.
  • European Union
  • Roche