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Many adults living in residential care will demonstrate challenging behaviors. Non-pharmacological strategies are recommended as first-line treatment. Using applications (apps) is a novel approach to managing these behaviors, and has yet to be assessed in this group. This paper describes a pilot study to test apps as a novel non-pharmacological strategy to manage challenging behaviors in adults living in residential care.
A non-blinded, non-randomized crossover trial design was implemented which compared apps to a control situation and usual care to determine whether apps were able to decrease challenging behaviors. The primary outcome measure was the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) that measures the frequency and severity of these behaviors.
Fifteen residents participated whose mean age was 78.5 years. There were a range of diagnoses and comorbidities, including dementia and schizophrenia. IPads were used as the medium for delivering the apps and residential care staff implemented the interventions. There was a significant decrease in the total NPI score using the apps intervention (10.6 points) compared to the control (17.7 points) and to usual care (21.1 points). There was positive qualitative feedback from the staff who were involved in the study, but they also cited barriers such as lack of confidence using the apps and lack of time.
Although this was a small and limited study, results suggest that using apps may be a feasible and personalized approach to managing challenging behaviors. A more rigorous study design that includes larger sample sizes and staff training may enable further research and benefits in this area.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether an educational training course on using the internet and touchscreen technology (TT) would decrease social isolation and improve self-esteem in residents living in a low-level residential facility. Twelve sessions over six weeks with two facilitators were provided to five participants with a variety of psychiatric disorders. Measures were completed before and after the 12 sessions. There were no statistically significant improvements or worsening in social isolation (mean score 6.2, SD 3.35) or self-esteem (mean score 18.2, SD 3.56) post the training sessions for the residents. Qualitative feedback suggested that the residents enjoyed this experience and learnt new skills. Further study is recommended using larger samples and alternative outcomes measures.
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