Can Use of Digital Technologies by People with Dementia Improve Self-Management and Social Participation? A Systematic Review of Effect Studies

David Neal*, Floor van den Berg, Caroline Planting, Teake Ettema, Karin Dijkstra, Evelyn Finnema, Rose-Marie Dröes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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There is increasing interest in the use of technology to support social health in dementia. The primary objective of this systematic review was to synthesize evidence of effectiveness of digital technologies used by people with dementia to improve self-management and social participation. Records published from 1 January 2007 to 9 April 2020 were identified from Pubmed, PsycInfo, Web of Science, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Controlled interventional studies evaluating interventions based on any digital technology were included if: primary users of the technology had dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI); and the study reported outcomes relevant to self-management or social participation. Studies were clustered by population, intervention, and outcomes, and narrative synthesis was undertaken. Of 1394 records identified, nine met the inclusion criteria: two were deemed to be of poor methodological quality, six of fair quality, and one of good quality. Three clusters of technologies were identified: virtual reality, wearables, and software applications. We identified weak evidence that digital technologies may provide less benefit to people with dementia than people with MCI. Future research should address the methodological limitations and narrow scope of existing work. In the absence of strong evidence, clinicians and caregivers must use their judgement to appraise available technologies on a case-by-case basis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number604
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5-Feb-2021

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