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Usability and acceptability of technology for community-dwelling older adults with mild cognitive impairment and dementia: a systematic literature review

Authors Holthe T, Halvorsrud L, Karterud D, Hoel KA, Lund A

Received 21 October 2017

Accepted for publication 20 January 2018

Published 4 May 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 863—886


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Torhild Holthe, Liv Halvorsrud, Dag Karterud, Kari-Anne Hoel, Anne Lund

Faculty of Health, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway

Background: The objective of this review was to obtain an overview of the technologies that have been explored with older adults with mild cognitive impairment and dementia (MCI/D), current knowledge on the usability and acceptability of such technologies, and how people with MCI/D and their family carers (FCs) were involved in these studies.
Materials and methods: Primary studies published between 2007 and 2017 that explored the use of technologies for community-dwelling people with MCI/D were identified through five databases: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Embase, AMED, and CINAHL. Twenty-nine out of 359 papers met the criteria for eligibility. We used the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool for quality assessment.
Results: A wide range of technologies was presented in the 29 studies, sorted into four domains: 1) safe walking indoors and outdoors; 2) safe living; 3) independent living; and 4) entertainment and social communication. The current state of knowledge regarding usability and acceptability reveals that even if researchers are aware of these concepts and intend to measure usability and acceptability, they seem difficult to assess. Terms such as “user friendliness” and “acceptance” were used frequently. User participation in the 29 studies was high. Persons with MCI/D, FCs, and staff/other older adults were involved in focus groups, workshops, and interviews as part of the preimplementation process.
Conclusion: Research regarding technologies to support people with MCI/D seems optimistic, and a wide range of technologies has been evaluated in homes with people with MCI/D and their FCs. A major finding was the importance of including people with MCI/D and their FCs in research, in order to learn about required design features to enhance usability and acceptability. Surprisingly, very few studies reported on the consequences of technology use with regard to quality of life, occupational performance, or human dignity.

Keywords: technology, Alzheimer’s disease, coping, aging in place, safety, quality of life, dignity

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