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Could Tablets Help with the Management of Patients with Dementia?

A recent study found that tablet devices may a be a potential alternative to pharmacological methods for managing agitation in dementia patients.

The researchers examined 36 patients at a geriatric psychiatry inpatient facility who were provided with tablets containing communication, games, music, web browser, and photography apps when exhibiting agitation during their stay. The frequency, duration, and app usage history were documented by researchers and rated according to the ability of the tablet application to improve agitation in the patient.
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All participants were able to use the apps, regardless of dementia severity, and showed clinical benefit while using the tablet. The severity of dementia was associated with app complexity, with patients with severe dementia used less complex apps. In addition, age impacted frequency and duration of tablet use.

The results indicated that tablet usage may be a feasible, safe, and useful tool for managing agitation in older adults, including patients with severe dementia.

—Melissa Weiss

Reference:

Vahia IV, Kamat R, Vang C, et al. Use of tablet devices in the management of agitation among inpatients with dementia: an open-label study [published online August 4, 2016]. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2016.07.011.