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Patient-centred care innovation in dementia: a conversation with Neil Maiden

Content Marketing Manager Liz Inskip interviews Neil Maiden of City, University of London, about his work developing mobile technology solutions for residential dementia care, and what the challenges facing innovators in this therapy area are.

In January 2016, Head of Customer Experience Elisa del Galdo gave a talk at UXPA UK’s monthly event about user experience in healthcare. One of the other speakers that evening was Neil Maiden of City, University of London, talking about his work developing mobile technology solutions for residential dementia care.
Content Marketing Manager Liz Inskip interviewed Neil about his work in dementia, and what the challenges facing innovators in this therapy area are.

At the beginning of last year, you gave a talk at UXPA UK about your project working with carers for people with Alzheimer’s type dementia – can you tell us a bit about what motivated you to do this work, and how it’s going so far?

Most people, when they innovate for this therapy area, think about giving technology to the older person with dementia as the primary user. But the primary determinant of quality of life is the people who care for them; nurses and carers. You get more purchase if you give the technology to the nurses and carers. Giving technology to older people will always have limited use, especially with the current generation of older people, who didn’t grow up with it.

Our work is about empowering carers to give more person-centred care. Care must be specialised and individual to the backgrounds of the people they’re caring for, and the mobile app we developed enables carers and nurses to spend more time providing care by reducing the amount of time they spend on paperwork and writing daily care notes.

When we started out in 2009, something we learned early on was how little IT there was in care homes. Care homes were almost a greenfield site from a tech perspective. There is very little use of IT around supporting care and carers, and in that, we saw some interesting opportunities to tackle an unmet need.

From a more personal perspective, as a group, we are all intellectually curious people with a wide variety of professional backgrounds and industry experience. Working on a project like this offers a unique opportunity to have considerable social impact. It immediately enhances people’s lives at a critical juncture for them – the end of life. That’s very rewarding.

As for where the project is now, the work shown at UXPA UK hasn’t advanced much. We’re working on getting more artificial intelligence into the application to help relieve the admin burden facing carers and nurses. One of the primary pain points in the care sector is the sheer volume of admin – carers and nurses spend approximately 50-60% of their time documenting what they’re doing to meet regulatory demands. This is time that could be spent providing better, more personalised care. We want to tackle this issue by bringing an AI element into the documentation process, engaging carers in an intelligent dialogue to better inform while reducing admin hours.
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19th January 2017

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