Alzheimer’s & Dementia | Partnerships & Affiliations | Staff Wellness | February 21, 2019

New CAST Case Study: Improving Dementia Care with Social Engagement Tech

BY LeadingAge

A new CAST case study demonstrates how technology can improve quality of life for residents with dementia. “Increasing Engagement, Satisfaction, Physical Performance and Team Efficiencies through Social Engagement Technology” outlines how Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, a LeadingAge member, integrated the system that LeadingAge CAST Supporter It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L) provides.
 
As cognitive impairment and dementia rose among its residents, 43% of clinicians at the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network said they believed limited engagement and communication during treatment sessions were the main barriers to effective treatment.
 
The It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L) platform is a multifunctional technology system that is designed to improve engagement, regardless of physical or cognitive ability. It includes a built-in touch screen, picture-based interface that gives access to more than 3,000 senior friendly applications and content items that promote wellness.
 
The platform includes programming and content specifically developed for rehabilitation. The rehabilitation module interface includes a clinically intuitive layout, allowing a therapist to easily access content aimed at the specific therapy goals for that session.
 
Memory care neighborhoods within the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network were already using iN2L systems. Next, every therapy team within the network received the systems, except one community that served as the control group for a Rehabilitation Effectiveness and Efficiency in Dementia (RE²D) research project.

Outcomes

Implementing the system was beneficial for residents and for staff, with positive outcomes in three areas.
 
Increased resident engagement and satisfaction with care: The addition of iN2L systems significantly boosted therapist resources without occupying a lot of space within the clinic. The systems allow therapists to create a rehabilitation experience that is centered on who the resident is as an individual and what is meaningful to her or him. It brought joy, laughter and lightheartedness into the rehab clinic.
 
Improved physical performance: Therapists have used the system in several ways to improve residents’ physical performance. Teams will often utilize the system to promote a productive therapeutic atmosphere, playing music that everyone in the clinic enjoys or pulling up a beach scene on a snowy winter day. Therapists have also used the system to divert attention from the physical challenge of their therapy activities, using trivia or games.  
 
The rehab module programming can directly address physical and functional impairments. Therapists used the video camera for biofeedback on postural alignment. In a person demonstrating visual neglect, the movement patterns of visual targets were manipulated to increase visual tracking toward a certain direction. Videos “walked” a resident through a house with multiple safety hazards to assess their environmental safety awareness.
 
Increased staff efficiencies: Using motorized and adjustable components, therapists can quickly customize the system’s physical setup to fit the resident’s needs, while the rehab module allows quick access to relevant programs to provide targeted intervention. Therapists now can provide activities that span a variety of interests without having to physically locate, retrieve, and return equipment.

Learnings

For those who are considering implementing iN2L or similar technologies, the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network recommends providing through and practical staff training on the system. Doing so will maximize the return on investment—and ensure that both residents and staff reap the many benefits of this social engagement technology.