Background: Prospective memory is a common deficit following brain injury that can reduce an individuals' ability to complete everyday tasks. The smartphone is a device that may compensate for these difficulties using the calendar's prompting function. Reminders can be programmed remotely using email to phone synchronization.
Objective: To explore whether smartphone reminders help people complete pre-identified tasks as compared to when reminders are not provided.
Methods: An ABAB case series design compared reminder present vs. reminder absent phases with regards completion of pre-set tasks. Six participants aged 24-55 with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and five caregivers participated in the study. Both completed a series of questionnaires looking at the impact of the smartphone reminders on everyday memory functioning at pre, post and follow-up. A 3-month follow-up questionnaire assessed continued use of the system.
Results: There was a significant improvement in task completion rates when smartphone reminders were provided. A thematic analysis identified that smartphone reminders improved independence, confidence in coping with memory difficulties and general mood. All participants were still using the system at 3-month follow-up.
Conclusions: Smartphone reminders may provide a cost-effective, accessible and non-stigmatizing tool for participants to compensate for prospective memory difficulties.
Keywords: Brain injury; compensation; memory; smartphone; strategies.