Due to the degenerative nature of the disease, persons living with dementia (PLWD) require escalating support for their care and are increasingly vulnerable to institutionalization. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is transitioning long-term care services from institutional care to home-or community-based services, including expanding Medicare Advantage plans to include non-clinical services as reimbursable supplemental benefits.
To live at home longer, PLWD require support from: (1) formal caregivers (i.e., paid professionals) who often lack knowledge of PLWDs’ personal histories and have high turnover, and/or (2) informal care partners (e.g., family or friends) who may have difficulty coping with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) (e.g., aggression, anxiety).
Although technological solutions can focus on BPSDs, formal caregivers/informal care partners in home care underuse such resources. If frontline caregivers in home care settings more routinely used technology that addresses social engagement and data collection for PLWD and caregivers, this could result in decreased BPSDs and reduced transitions from in-home care.
The overall goal of our Digital Therapeutics for Dementia Care projects is to evaluate the use of digital therapeutics to improve outcomes for PLWD, enhance the caregiver experience, and support their efforts to age in place by living at home longer.