Background

It is well recognized that care for the elderly in general and the care of people with dementia in particular is one of the major challenges facing most countries in Europe today. This is a consequence of a demographic change where the numbers of elderly people and consequently the number of very old people is increasing.

The prevalence of dementia is directly related to age and the larger numbers of very old people influence the larger number of people with dementia. This challenge has a special dimension in remote and sparsely populated regions of the northern margins of Europe Northern Periphery of Europe where these demographic changes are pronounced. 

There is an ongoing discussion in many countries of Northern Europe on how to improve support to people with dementia and their families. Sweden is in the middle of a process and Scotland has recently undergone a process of implementing new guidelines for dementia care.

Norway is working hard to improve quality and make the eldercare system more efficient. The Faroe Islands  is in a process of developing their support services for people with dementia and their families still living in their private homes. Even though there are many differences in the care systems in these countries, there is a conviction that there are also many communalities in the challenges and that a transnational process of developing, testing and evaluating a template of care for people with dementia will provide added value to existing care templates. 

An important aspect of supporting people with dementia of aging in place in remote and sparsely populated areas are the logistic problems of providing good quality care support to individuals and their families, due to the problem of distance and travelling. There are specific challenges in providing dementia care in remote and sparsely populated areas. 

E-health services have been promoted as an important way of addressing the challenges in eldercare. Even though there have been many different pilot projects that have been reporting positive results, the adoption of e-health solutions in regular eldercare has until now been very slow in most countries, and even more so in the care of people with dementia. Several problems have been identified that may explain the slow adoption. The use of ICT solutions in eldercare has proved to be value laden and as a result many health personnel have been reluctant to use them. Another problem is the lack of robust evaluation results, on quality of care from a user perspective, the health personnel perspective, and a health economics perspective. A third problem is the lack of results from implementations where matured mainstream ICT services have been included in templates of integrated services. These are all problems that will be addressed in the RemoDem project. 

The project is planned to develop, test and evaluate an integrated template of care for people with dementia, which is of relevance to the whole programme area and with a special focus on peripheral regions. The innovative output of the project is that these services integrate proven functionalities in a single all-embracing template of care with remote support for people with dementia and their family members. The template is developed in a transnational process and based on evidence-based knowledge. The project is anticipated to inform policy development by providing robust evaluation results on quality of care and health economics. In addition, the project will support the social capital of the peripheral regions by supporting people with dementia and their families to age in place.

Published: 22/02/2013

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