Developing a Management Guide for Couples Where One Partner Has Dementia: Reporting on the Feasibility and Acceptability of the DemPower App

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Abstract

Background:
Promoting the health and wellbeing of couples where one partner has dementia is an overlooked area of care practice. Most post-diagnostic services currently lack a couple-centered approach and have a limited focus on the couple relationship. To help address this situation, our study developed a tablet-based self-management guide [DemPower] focused on helping couples to enhance their wellbeing and relationship quality.

Objective: The study aimed to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of the DemPower app.

Methods: A non-randomized feasibility design was used to evaluate the DemPower intervention over a period of three months among couples where a partner had a diagnosis of dementia. The study recruited 25 couples in the United Kingdom and 19 couples in Sweden. Outcome measures were obtained at baseline and post intervention. The study process and intervention were evaluated at various stages.

Results: The study was completed by 21 (48%) couples where one partner had dementia, of which 18 (86%) couples accessed all parts of the DemPower app. Each couple spent an average of 8 hours using the app during the study period. Nineteen (90%) couples reported that all sections of DemPower were useful in addressing various aspects of daily life and helped to focus on how they interacted in their relationship. Of the 4 core subject on which the Dempower app was structured, Home and Neighborhood received the highest number of visits. Couples used activity sections more often than the core subject pages. The perception of DemPower’s utility varied with each couple’s lived experience of dementia, geographic location, relationship dynamics, and opportunities for social interaction. A 5.2-point increase in the DEMQoL score for people with dementia and a marginal increase in the Mutuality scale (+1.23 points) for caregiver spouses were found. Design and navigational challenges were reported on the DemPower app.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that the DemPower app is a useful resource for couples where one partner has dementia, and that the implementation of the app requires the support of memory clinics to reach couples at early diagnosis.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalJMIR Aging
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Jun 2021