Category: Technology (e.g. robotics, assistive technology, mHealth); Neurodegenerative Disease (e.g. MS, Parkinson's disease); Geriatric Rehabilitation
This systematic review was designed to investigate the clinical impact of mobile device health apps (mHealth) used within dementia caregiver (CG) populations.
The protocol and procedures of this systematic review are currently registered through PROSPERO under ID#CRD42018104996. Keywords were investigated across 4 databases through EBSCOHost search engine. Two authors carried out independent title and abstract review on all search returns. This was followed by full text review to confirm all studies that met inclusion and exclusion criteria. Eight articles were included for data extraction. Studies included quasi-experimental, mixed methods, cross sectional, and randomized controlled designs.
Setting : This review investigated informal dementia caregivers, and therefor the focus was in community settings.
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) : Individuals with dementia and their informal caregivers.
Interventions : This review investigated interventions utilizing mobile device health related apps (mHealth) for informal dementia CG’s and care recipients.
Main Outcome Measure(s) : The primary outcomes of interest was the clinical impact of mHealth among dementia CG’s, therefore, interventions targeting care recipients were still required to report CG outcomes.
Results : The content of the included articles was organized into three themes: social and indirect support, health education, and technology supported monitoring. Results indicated that social and indirect support apps may be of value for stress relief, building confidence, and impacting burden felt by CG’s. Two health education apps were investigated. One, CareHeros, was used to assist with the organization of user’s health information. Use of the other, UnderstAID, was reported to significantly impact depressive symptoms in the CG user sample. Technology supported monitoring apps provided caregivers with feasible methods of monitoring both the care recipient’s health and their own physical and emotional well-being.
At present there is limited evidence on the usability and usefulness of mHealth within dementia CG populations. The available literature indicates that mHealth holds promise as an effective intervention platform. Future research should aim to improve user satisfaction and to maximize health related outcomes through targeting the capabilities and interfaces of mHealth to the specific needs and abilities of the user population.