Placing assistive technology and telecare in everyday practices of people with dementia and their caregivers: findings from an embedded ethnography of a national dementia trial

Matthew Lariviere*, Fiona Poland, John Woolham, Stanton Newman, Chris Fox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Background:
Policy makers and care providers see assistive technology and telecare as potential products to support people with dementia to live independently in their homes and communities. Previous research rarely examined how people with dementia and their caregivers actually use such technology. The study examined how and why people living with dementia and their caregivers used assistive technology and telecare in their own homes.

Methods:
This study used an ethnographic design embedded within the NIHR-funded Assistive Technology and Telecare to maintain Independent Living At home for people with dementia (ATTILA) randomised controlled trial. We collected 208 h of observational data on situated practices of ten people with dementia and their ten caregivers. We used this data to construct extended cases to explain how
technologies supported people with dementia in home and community settings.

Results:
We identified three themes: placing technology in care, which illustrates how people with dementia and caregivers ‘fit’ technology into their homes and routines; replacing care with technology, which shows how caregivers replaced normal care practices with ones mediated through technologies; and technology displacing care and everyday life, which highlights how technologies disrupted the everyday lives of people with dementia.

Discussion:
This study exemplifies unintended and unanticipated consequences for assistive technology and telecare uptake in ‘real world’ community-based dementia care. It underlines the need to identify and map the context of technological provision over time within the changing lives of people with dementia and their caregivers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 121 (2021)
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Rebecca Gathercole, Robert Howard and the ATTILA team for their support during the study, and comments on earlier drafts.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of East Anglia; Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust; and the National Institute of Health Research [HTA: 10/50/02]. The University of East Anglia covered the salary costs of Lariviere through a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Doctoral Studentship. This studentship also covered some of the research costs for fieldwork. Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust provided a small grant to cover the remaining costs for fieldwork. The National Institute of Health Research funded investigator time and resources for the ATTILA trial on which Poland, Woolham, Stanton and Fox were co-investigators. No funding agency had involvement in the design of the study, or the collection, analysis and interpretation of its data. Funding agencies did not contribute to the production of this, or earlier versions, of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Research in Health and Social Care

Keywords

  • qualitative methods
  • implementation
  • uptake
  • home
  • care

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