Posted: Tue 5th Sep 2023

North Wales pioneers digital tool for dementia care

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Sep 5th, 2023

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A new free digital app to help create more dementia-friendly environments and support patients is now live after being developed and tested in north Wales.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board worked with experts from the University of Worcester to create the app, which will replace the current paper-based assessment tool used to assess how dementia-friendly care environments are.

The app is available in both Welsh and English and is aimed at helping health and care staff together with people living with dementia and their carers to assess and improve care environments for people living with dementia. The tools are available for wards, hospitals, care homes, supported housing, health centres and gardens/outdoor spaces.

Health Board staff were introduced to the new app at a study day at Ysbyty Gwynedd yesterday (Monday, 4 September).

Professor Tracey Williamson, Consultant Nurse (Dementia) and Honorary Professor of Patient and Family Engagement, said “The Dementia Improvement Team at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has enjoyed working in partnership to develop the suite of environmental apps.

“The work has complemented our digital ambitions and we welcome how easy the apps are to use which will save staff time, develop digital skills and free up computers. The app also will be used as valuable learning tools for use with staff and students as we recognise how important it is to get indoor and outside spaces and gardens, right for patients.

“We are pleased the app has been developed in North Wales, that the assessment tools are now available in Welsh for the first time and that they will be freely available globally.”

Sarah Waller CBE, Associate Specialist from the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester, previously led the development of The King’s Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) programme. This encouraged and enabled nurse-led teams to work in partnership with patients to improve the environment in which they deliver care.

Sarah said: “The app enables the results of the assessments to be downloaded to enable a much easier comparison of the scores across a variety of care environments. Clinical staff from the Health Board have commented on how much easier the app is to use than the paper-based versions”.

“There is now growing evidence that dementia friendly design can promote inclusion, independence and quality of life for people living with dementia.

“We know that the results of assessments using the tools have led to improvements in the care environment for people living with dementia, their relatives and the staff that care for them. We are grateful to the Health Board for funding this project, making the tools more accessible and easier to use”.

The app has been developed by experts in the University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies, along with creative digital agency Crystal and with funding and support from the Health Board.

The app is available to download from the University of Worcester’s website here, from where the original paper-based tools on which the app was based are still available are still available.

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