Using information technology to support the management of medicines that care for people living with dementia

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More than 21 million people provide unpaid care for millions of people living with dementia in the United States Evidence application in support of people caring for dementia, as they help manage the drugs – very often many drugs for various conditions – of people who can not do it alone.

In one of the first studies using application-based information technology to help caregivers manage medicines for people with dementia, and to share their research with others who are developing or adapting technology to help people caregivers, Regenstrief, IU, Wisconsin and Purdue researchers have published their gold standard methodology related to:

  • Remote assessment of the needs of caregivers who administer drugs for people with dementia.
  • Joint design, including input from carers, of a counter-application to support care-assisted medicines.
  • Feasibility testing of the application prototype.

Among other innovations, the researchers added a virtual component to the contextual study to learn what caregivers go through during the day as they cope with drug management.

“We want to know what’s going on,” said study author Richard Holden, Ph.D., MS, a human factors engineer, social cognitive psychologist and application scientist. “Therefore, we ask participants to record what they go through during the day related to drug management and send us something twice a day. This can be a photo, video, audio file or a written note. It may be a picture of the large number of drugs that need to be administered. It could be a video of a patient refusing to take medication. We analyze this contribution and it is an important component of our collaborative design with caregiver innovation. “

Managing medications for people with dementia is often confusing, time consuming, and difficult, especially if the patient with cognitive impairment is resistant, militant, or both. Caregivers, many of whom have other responsibilities in or out of the home, are usually under-trained, under-resourced, and supported in their role as drug managers. This can lead to a significant burden of care, stress and potential mistakes that can be life-threatening for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

“My family and I understand the great challenges of caring for someone with dementia. My mother and brother are the main people who take care of my father, and I am a remote “telepatho”. We know that caregivers need support, “said Dr. Holden. “As the U.S. population ages, the need for consumer-oriented support for caregivers, such as our Helping the Helpers app, becomes even more urgent. My colleagues and I present the methodology of our research in this paper so that other researchers and developers have access to the framework of innovative methods we have created to produce technology that meets the needs of the intended end users – actual carers. for them.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 6.5 million Americans aged 65 and over are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2022. That number is projected to rise to approximately 7.2 million in 2025 and is expected to reach 13.8 million in 2060, with the exception of the development of any medical breakthroughs to prevent, delay or treat Alzheimer’s disease.

“There are currently countless many drug management applications that support a variety of tasks, but very few have been developed and designed for caregivers with special attention to the needs of caregivers,” said Nol Campbell, pharmacist, MS , from the Regenstrief Institute and Purdue University College of Pharmacy.

The Helping the Helpers document concludes that “ultimately, if successful, our IT (information technology) intervention must be usable and acceptable to a number of US users who could benefit immediately from IT without directly or indirectly bear the costs associated with the clinician – intensive care. “

The study was published in Research in social and administrative pharmacy.


Use technology to help informal caregivers administer medications to patients with dementia


More info:
Nicole E. Werner et al, Helping the Helpers – Research protocol on consumer-oriented technology to assist carers in the management of medicines for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Research in social and administrative pharmacy (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.sapharm.2022.03.014

Provided by the Regenstrief Institute

Quote: Use of information technology to support the management of medicines for people living with dementia (2022, 14 June 2022), retrieved on 14 June 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022- 06-leveraging-technology-caregiver-medication-individuals. html

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