A Pilot Study of the Telecare Medical Support System as an Intervention in Dementia Care: The Views and Experiences of Primary Caregivers

Department of Information Management, National Chung Cheng University, Taipei, Taiwan.
The journal of nursing research: JNR (Impact Factor: 0.97). 09/2012; 20(3):169-80. DOI: 10.1097/jnr.0b013e318263d916
Source: PubMed


As a progressive degenerative illness, dementia can reveal itself through a variety of symptoms such as intellectual deterioration, loss of recent memory, loss of cognitive ability, and psychological and behavioral problems. The telecare medical support system (TMSS) has been a part of dementia care in many countries for many years. Although worth considering, the TMSS model is difficult to directly implement in Taiwan because of cultural and social issues.
This study explores the ease of use and usefulness of TMSS from the perspective of primary caregivers and assesses the benefits of TMSS in home dementia care.
We used a qualitative research method to explore the experience and perceptions of 30 primary caregivers who each used TMSS for 6 months in dementia care. Data were collected using 1-hour in-depth interviews. Four senior nurses conducted the content analysis.
Approximately two thirds (63.3%) of the participants were primary caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease in the mild to medium stage of their illness. After using TMSS for the 6-month study period, participants held generally positive views of its usefulness and ease of use. Participants generally appreciated the ability of TMSS to self-diagnose care recipient conditions; provide reminders, care, and emotional support; and help stabilize the care recipient's condition and emotions.
We showed TMSS as an effective tool that helps reduce primary caregiver isolation and uncertainty and provides round-the-clock care management and safety checks using advanced technology and a professional care team. TMSS can effectively enhance dementia care.

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