Tablet devices show promise in managing dementia agitation

A new pilot study led by McLean Hospital’s Ipsit Vahia, MD, medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at McLean Hospital, suggests that the use of tablet computers is both a safe and potentially effective approach to managing agitation among patients with dementia. Technology could prove to be extremely effective if this works, so healthcare professionals are hoping to see positive results after this. Due to the importance of these tablet devices, it’s likely that healthcare staff will be working closely with IT professionals, like those at Sphere IT who provide managed IT services. That should allow the tablet device to work a lot more effectively with fewer issues. As tablet computers are being used to entertain agitated patients, it’s likely that app developers will be looking to create apps that could be beneficial for people with dementia. In order to raise awareness for these apps once they’re created, the developers should really look into methods of increasing app store rankings, so that more people hear about the apps and download them onto these devices to benefit dementia patients.

“Tablet use as a nonpharmacologic intervention for agitation in older adults, including those with severe dementia, appears to be feasible, safe, and of potential utility,” said Vahia. “Our preliminary results are a first step in developing much-needed empirical data for clinicians and caregivers on how to use technology such as tablets as tools to enhance care and also for app developers working to serve the technologic needs of this population.”

“Use of Tablet Devices in the Management of Agitation Among Inpatients with Dementia: An Open Label Study” was recently published in the online version of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. This research builds upon previous studies demonstrating that art, music, and other similar therapies can effectively reduce symptoms of dementia without medication. By using tablet devices to employ these therapies, however, patients and providers also benefit from a computer’s inherent flexibility.

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