Objective: The need for information about the disease and coping with the consequences, as well as on available care and welfare services, is frequently unmet in people with dementia and their carers. To provide carers of community-dwelling people with dementia with tailored information, the DEMentia-specific dynamic interactive social chart (DEM-DISC) was developed. The impact on the daily life of people with dementia and their carers, the user friendliness and usefulness of a first prototype of DEM-DISC was evaluated.
Method: DEM-DISC was tested among informal carers in a pretest-posttest control group design. Fourteen informal carers could access DEM-DISC at home during a two month period. Fourteen controls did not have access to DEM-DISC. Data were collected by separate interviews with people with dementia and carers at pretest and posttest, by means of digital logging, short telephone interviews, and a bottleneck checklist during the intervention period.
Results: People with dementia and informal carers reported more met and less unmet needs after DEM-DISC use and carers in the experimental group reported higher levels of competence than controls. Although they were not explicitly satisfied with this first prototype of DEM-DISC, carers found DEM-DISC easy to learn and relatively user friendly. Carers acknowledged the system's benefits.
Conclusion: The positive effects might be caused by the systematic and tailored individual way of information provisioning by DEM-DISC. It would be worthwhile to continue to develop DEM-DISC and to conduct randomized trials on the impact on patients and carers as well as the impact on nursing home admission and healthcare expenditure.