[Tablet computers and their benefits for nursing home residents with dementia: Results of a qualitative pilot study]

Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2015 Aug;48(6):543-9. doi: 10.1007/s00391-014-0832-5. Epub 2014 Dec 19.
[Article in German]


Background: Initial sporadic experiences in a Berlin nursing home showed that residents with dementia responded well to activating therapy with tablet computers. This innovative technology seemed to provide a differentiated and individual therapeutic access. These observations encouraged the nursing home management to contact the Institute of Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation Science at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin with the aim to examine the practical experiences. The Centre for Quality in Care (ZQP) sponsored the 1 year pilot study.

Objective: An examination of the feasibility and usability of tablet computers in the daily care of nursing home residents with dementia was carried out.

Materials and methods: In this study 14 residents (12 women and 2 men) of a special care unit for dementia patients were included in a 3-month intervention of tablet activation 3 times a week. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze data (e.g. observation protocols and videos, staff interviews, document analysis of nursing records and standardized resident interviews/proxy interviews).

Results: Nursing home residents suffering from dementia showed a high degree of acceptance of tablet computers. Most notable benefits were easy handling and the variety of multifunctional applications. Sustainable therapeutic effects resulted in stimulation of communication and interaction, improvement of well-being, memory training and reduction of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Furthermore, contact to family members of several residents was improved.

Conclusions: The use of tablet computers was convincing as an activation therapy for nursing home residents with dementia. Further research and development of specially adapted software are required.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication Aids for Disabled*
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Behavior
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Treatment Outcome