The goal of this project was to develop a new technology to reduce social isolation in older adults living in long-term care.
GENIE is an easy to use communications portal, which allows family members to stay connected with elderly loved ones who have challenges coping with the communication technologies (i.e. smart phones, tablets) as they exist today. Family members can download the GENIE app to their smart device and upload ongoing content as part of their normal activities and social media interaction. In addition to uploading media content that documents family activities, family members may also send voice and video messages, using asynchronous interactions that are less demanding and easier to navigate. For the elderly loved one, GENIE was designed with an easy to use interface where resident users are able access their messages and respond (as well as initiate) with voice messages to family remote users. GENIE also allows staff and administrators to send media content and messages (e.g., daily and weekly menus and activities, opportunities for excursions, volunteering) to resident users, which can be viewed on the GENIE screen.
Throughout the course of the project, the project team worked diligently to make improvements and adjustments to the technology, with the result being a fully functional GENIE prototype currently housed at York Care Centre.
To assess the use of virtual reality (VR) as a therapeutic intervention for the treatment of negative mood in residents living in long-term care (LTC).
Participants living in LTC were exposed to world travel, visits with animals, ocean environments, nature tours, interactive games, and much more without the need to learn controls or interfaces.
The findings of this research project suggested that VR interventions improved the well-being of adults living in LTC with significant improvements over other forms of interventions like being read to by a volunteer. This project was successful and confirmed the original hypothesis that VR would improve well-being measures among adults living in LTC. Well-being measures improved from baseline as participants used VR, exceeding the well-being improvements from the control group, with statistically significant changes as well as a medium to large effect size when comparing both groups. These improved well-being measures in the experimental group were sustained if the participants continued to use VR on a regular basis, averaging a frequency of two times per week, with a maximum time of 20 minutes per session.
In the near future, when VR becomes increasingly affordable and accessible, this equipment and those similar to it may be a suitable supplement for service provision in LTC.
The goal of this study was to explore acceptability/feasibility of the device from the point of view of the residents and the staff members and to identify the short-term effects of the implementation of the unit during 6-months.
The Centivizer system is designed to provide engaging activities and monitor physical and cognitive status over time. The units included: a steering wheel input; six button input; a driving simulator; 360-degree travel video and exercise pedals.
The results showed a significant improvement in Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores for residents after using the equipment. There were no significant differences in staff outcomes although positive trends were observed. While demonstrating the overall value of the Centivizer, the study also identified opportunities for improving the design of the units: 1) The driving simulator was found to be complex and difficult to use because of issues with the sensitivity of the steering wheel, 2) It would be preferable to plug the button boxes directly to the computer for power and connectivity to avoid problems with connectivity and charging; 3) The unit needs to have customized hand pedals for users who are unable use foot pedals. The results show that the Centivizer activities, with some changes and enhancements, may be a way to promote physical activity and cognitive activation for older adults living in long-term care.
The primary goal of this study was to develop a web-based application, MedReviewRx, to produce medication deprescribing reports that could be easily implemented into York Care Centre and used regularly by healthcare providers.
Many older adults are taking medication that may be causing them harm or are no longer needed. Medications are often needed to treat health conditions however, as people age, the effect of certain medication changes. Taking a high number of medications, or taking certain medication increases the risk of harm. MedSafer is a computer program to help improve medication use in older adults and has been used in hospitals to identify opportunities to reduce or stop medications associated with an increased risk of harm, or little value.
MedReviewRx was designed to cross reference medication information from long-term care resident charts with drug information from MedSafer to produce a deprescribing report for healthcare providers to review. The report highlights any medications that could potentially cause harm, as well as medications that could be tapered or stopped.
Overall perceptions of the deprescribing reports produced by MedReviewRx at York Care Centre were positive. Usability testing identified many opportunities for improving and refining the application. Further development to improve product features and functionality, and testing in different nursing home settings is required prior to widespread adoption.
The goal of this study was to examine how The Sleep Kit worked for people living with dementia at home in the community and also in a long-term care setting. Participants living with dementia were given a Fitbit Alta HR to wear to record the amount of time slept, and the number of awakenings each night. The device was worn for a period of 19 days; 5 days to find out how they slept on average, and 14 days with The Sleep Kit. Effectiveness of The Sleep Kit, from the perspective of the caregivers/volunteers, was measured with pre/post test questionnaires and a nightly sleep diary which measured the expectation and overall experiences of the caregivers/volunteers.
The Sleep Kit is a small box of alternative sleep therapies for individuals who are living with dementia, focused on the benefits of one-on-one social interaction before bedtime. The Sleep Kit is a tool for both care partners, and it contains various items that promote preparing for a good night's’ rest. The items are based on the five senses – touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. Each activity is a suggestion, and can be easily modified to create a positive experience for any stage of the dementia journey. The Sleep Kit also contains a custom-made sleep diary, which outlines each item and suggestions on how it can be used, as well as the opportunity to journal the experience.
In long-term care, a significant decrease was found in the number of restless periods before and after the implementation of The Sleep Kit.
In the community:
Upon analyzing the diaries, two dominant themes emerged: first, the positive impact of having a established routine dictated by the contents of The Sleep Kit and second, The Sleep Kit allowed for the caregiver and participant to have a focus which enhanced the quality of caregiver/ participant interactions.