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2006 Grant - Craig
Cell Phone Video Streaming in Alzheimer's Disease
David Craig, M.D.
Belfast City Hospital
Belfast, Northern Ireland
2006 Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer Care
Remaining at home as long as possible can be personally, socially and economically beneficial for many people with dementia and their families. Innovative schemes using assistive home technologies may reduce isolation and improve functioning for these individuals. Such technologies may ease the demands on caregivers and help people who might otherwise need to consider institutional care.
David Craig, M.D., and colleagues have developed a protocol for the novel use of cell phone technology to increase communication between individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their remote caregivers. Their research project aims to further the development of the system, implement its use and evaluate its effectiveness.
Memory problems are the most common cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease. The system the investigators propose provides a wide range of memory cues. Through the use of a specially equipped, easy-to-use cell phone, a "virtual" caregiver would be a regular presence in the home. Throughout the day, the person with Alzheimer's disease would receive automatic, video streaming, individualized messages from the caregiver about everyday issues (e.g., reminders about medications, directions for getting prepared meals ready and prompts about tasks to accomplish). The care recipient would be trained to use a modified keypad to acknowledge each video message, and the signal would be sent to a central unit for monitoring.
Dr. Craig's team plans to assess the merits of the technology through an analysis of the central monitoring system, care recipient and caregiver evaluations, and interviews. If the video streaming cell phone technology proves successful, its implementation may extend the time a person with Alzheimer's disease could live independently at home.