Telehealth delivery of dementia care in the home can be as effective as face-to-face home visit services if carers and
recipients take advantage of the technologies available, Australian researchers say.
The study of 63 people living with mild to moderate dementia, and their care partners, found that telehealth services
using videoconferences can save travel time – particularly in rural and remote areas – and equip families with
strategies to promote independence in the person with dementia.
Dementia affects almost 50 million people worldwide, which is predicted to increase to 131.5 million people by 2050.
Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia.
“Giving care partners strategies to cope with, and delay, functional decline in people living with dementia is a
priority, given that about 70% of people with dementia live in their own home with support from family members and
friends for assistance,” says lead researcher Flinders University Associate Professor Kate Laver, an ARC Discovery Early
Career Research Fellow and occupational therapist.
“Giving families evidence-based information and skills can promote independence and improve quality of life and
wellbeing for people with dementia,” she says.
Telehealth promises to provide a more affordable alternative for older people living at home, including those with
chronic health conditions.
Researchers conclude that the use of telehealth technologies to deliver non-pharmacologic interventions for people with
dementia and their care partners may reduce the costs of delivering the intervention, increase accessibility, and
facilitate research translation.
The paper, ‘Does Telehealth Delivery of a Dyadic Dementia Care Program Provde a Noninferior Alternative to Face-to-Face Delivery of
the Same Program? A Randomized, Controlled Trial
‘ by K Laver, E Liu, L Clemson, O Davies, L Gray, LN Gitlin and M Crotty has been published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.02.009
Funding for this research came from the NHMRC and ARC