Project description for Sweden

The County of Norrbotten is the largest county in Sweden and cover almost one quarter of the country. At the same time it is one of the most sparsely populated regions within the EU, with an increasing number of elderly people.

The County Council of Norrbotten as the main healthcare provider use various eHealth strategies to improve health, wellbeing and quality of life for the population in Norrbotten. We believe that eHealth solutions must be value-based, and we strive to provide a person-centred care based on humanistic and ethical values.

A person-centred care is of outmost importance for the increasing numbers of elderly people and among them, specifically for the increasing numbers of people with dementia. We therefore initiated the RemoDem project together with international partners in order to support personhood and quality of life of people with dementia in remote rural areas. The project is an important part of the on-going work of implementing the national guidelines of dementia care. 

In the project, mature and tested eHealth solutions will be used in an integrated service package that is evidence-based and cover many aspects of the care and support process of people with dementia. An important thread in the concept of the service package is to support the person with dementia as an active member of the community and facilitate an early diagnosis which means that personalised support can be provided.

Good quality dementia care is provided by multi-professional teams and the County Council will join hands with the municipalities in the community based health care support in the county by forming joint dementia teams, staffed with dementia trained staff members.

Another important thread in the project is that the people with dementia will be provided care support in their communities by health care staff coming to them instead of they traveling to the health facility and the geriatric specialist at the hospital. This will be made possible through different eHealth solutions. The local dementia team and support staff will be able to communicate with the people with dementia and their family members through remote communication and the local dementia team will in the same way be able to consult the specialist at a regional level.

The project is an important arena where the County Council will be able to develop and test care processes with contemporary eHealth based approaches that can be transferred in to care process of other groups of elderly people. The project is international and offers valuable opportunities for a transnational exchange of experiences and ideas that will benefit the large group of elderly people in Norrbotten.

How will we be able to support people with dementia and their families in Arvidsjaur

This is a very relevant and important question in our municipality since we, like other similar municipalities in remote areas of Northern Sweden, are struggling with a decrease of the population combined with an increase of needs of support among the elderly people.  

In order to handle this situation we need to utilize our resources in a better way, both in the social service and health care organizations. Among other things, we need to learn how to use ICT-services as support tools in this challenge.   

An important part of this challenge is to understand how the community members are thinking about their needs and solutions to cater to the needs. We plan to have community meetings with family carers during 2013 in Arvidsjaur, Glommersträsk and Moskosel.

We will also establish an advisory group among the family carers to get their views on the support provided. 

Another important issue is the collaboration with the primary health care system where we will establish a common multi-professional dementia team. We will offer specific dementia training for all staff members that are concern with the support of people with dementia under the supervision of the dementia team. Among other things, staff members will visit other care providers to learn more about how to use modern assistive devices to support the person with dementia in daily life.

We will also test ICT-solutions for remote communication between the family in their homes and staff members in order to support the experience of safety and security and to provide social support.

Plans for 2013

An action plan has been produced by the municipalities in Pajala and Arvidsjaur in cooperation with local health care centers during spring 2013.

Social services in both of these municipalities are going to define how the cooperation between home care and health center should work. Other activities to be tested are video communication by iPad and night cameras as a complement to nightly check ups.

Long distance support by and for relatives will also be tested. Mobile alarms (Posifon) and web based support systems for identification and diagnosis of dementia are some other measures that are going to be tested.

The technology needed will be adapted to fit people with dementia and the municipalities are in the process of recruiting participants to the project. During the fall of 2013 practical testing with patients will start.

Published: 28/11/2014

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