A Measurement-to-Management Tool to Improve Dementia Care

Period of Performance: 06/01/2008 - 11/30/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Benten Technologies, Inc.
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The primary long-term goal of this project is to develop a useful, practical, valid, and reliable tool to improve the quality of life (QOL) of people in dementia care settings. Specific objectives of this project include developing and evaluating user-friendly software and procedures to collect and manage QOL data and produce care-relevant information; and evaluate the implementation of the system in diverse dementia care settings. Secondary long-term goals include: (1) increased satisfaction of dementia care staff, (2) increased satisfaction of family members of these participants, (3) improved marketability of the dementia care programs, and (4) developing benchmarking dementia-specific QOL data. Quality of life includes both subjective and objective elements. For instance, Whitehouse et al. include the integration of cognitive functioning, activities of daily living, social interaction, and psychological well-being. The proposed project uses an observational procedure that focuses on the level of engagement and affect/emotion of people with dementia to measure QOL. This study will assess the feasibility, practicality, and usefulness of a QOL system of data collection, data management, and information-generation implemented on a handheld device. User-friendly software on a hand-held Pocket PC and procedures to record and manage dementia-specific QOL data and produce care-relevant information will be developed. Two staff members in three dementia care settings - a nursing home, an assisted living facility, and an adult day program - will be trained to use the system. Staff will collect data and generate reports regarding five people with dementia on two occasions at each site. Surveys and interviews with site staff participants, as well as data collected directly on the hand-held Pocket PC, will provide evaluative feedback regarding: the ease of data collection; the ease and usefulness of generating reports; the fit between the QOL system and a typical day in the care setting and any disruptions in the typical day caused by the system; specific ways in which the information could be used; suggestions for improving each component of the system; metrics such as errors that occurred during the process and the use of help menus. These data will be used to improve the functionality of the system to better meet the needs of users. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The OQOLD (Observing Quality of Life in Dementia) system is a reliable, valid, and practical tool for researchers, practitioners, and assessors to obtain quality of life data about people with dementia in skilled care, assisted living, and adult day settings. OQOLD will enable service providers to identify activities that maximize quality of life of people with dementia resulting in more positive person-centered interactions. Additional benefits include improved ability to assess the impact of new activities/interventions, and developing quantitative in- formation that can inform staff training, be shared with family members regarding their loved ones life, and be used by assessors to more accurately evaluate dementia care settings.