ESRs (Early Stage Researchers) and Projects

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We will be recruiting 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in 2019.

General enquiries may be addressed to Dr Orii McDermott, DISTINCT Project Manager ([email protected])

 

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ESR1

Host institution

University of Nottingham, UK

Project: Adapting Wellness recovery action planning (WRAP ) technology for dementia

WP3: Technology to fulfil potential and obligations at a societal level

Objectives: Wellness recovery action planning (WRAP: mentalhealthrecovery.com) is widely used as a manualised group-based mental health intervention which encourages people who are relatively unimpaired to specify their needs when they become unwell, to avoid crises and promote wellbeing. Objective A: This ESR will adapt WRAP for dementia in consultation with people who have the disorder and qualified WRAP facilitators. Objective B: Evaluating the effectiveness of specific contemporary technology Objective C: Conditions for successful implementation (adoption, scale-up, spread, sustainability) of technology in daily life, dementia care and society.

Expected Results: This project will adapt WRAP for dementia in consultation with people who have the diagnosis, with a focus on planning for their decline in ability to meet social obligations and conduct a feasibility study comparing wellbeing for participation in WRAP groups with groups that have only social objectives.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with VUB to learn about manual based technology, and the second in year 3 with WFOT to examine international aspects of WRAP implementation.

Contact: Prof Justine Schneider ([email protected])

 

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ESR2

Host institution

University of Nottingham, UK

Project: Improving peer support for people with young onset dementia (YOD)

WP3: Technology to fulfil potential and obligations at a societal level

Objectives: Peer-support is widely acknowledged as extremely beneficial for people with dementia and their carers. Peer support for people with YOD is available in large cities but most people with YOD have limited opportunities to meet other people with YOD and become isolated. Younger people with dementia (onset below age 65) are familiar with everyday technologies and most use mobile phones and computers for work and social purposes. Various apps for smartphones and tablets are now available to help with everyday tasks (e.g. reminders) but online resources to support psychological wellbeing of people with YOD are limited. Objectives: 1) To develop an online peer support network for people with YOD, 2) to assess the impact of the network on physical, psychological and social independence of people with YOD. Longer-term community-based support is necessary beyond immediate post diagnostic care.

Expected Results: Online peer support groups and development of resources including hints and tips for people with YOD involves people with YOD as ‘co-developers’. Systematic review on peer support for people with young onset dementia. Establishment of peer support networks and evidence of  feasibility and best practice in implementation and maintenance of such networks. This study works closely with people with YOD and EWGPWD to help develop web/app based peer support networks for people with YOD, in the second phase we use qualitative methods to assess impact on people with YOD and process evaluation around improving implementation and dissemination.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with Alzheimer Europe to learn about priorities for people with YOD and the second in year 3 with MU to examine how to implement peer support across YOD.

Contact: Prof Martin Orrell ([email protected])

 

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ESR3

Host institution

Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Project: An interactive website for advance care planning (ACP) for people with dementia and their family

WP3: Technology to fulfil potential and obligations at a societal level

Objectives:.ACP in dementia is often not done or started too late and our recent review resulted in the development of an evidence-based guideline on ACP in dementia major gap in current practice is the lack of good tools that people with dementia and their caregivers can use to start thinking about ACP. With family carers and people with dementia in various stages of their illnesses this ESR will develop and evaluate an interactive ACP website, and perform a feasibility trial to compare the website with face-to-face ACP conversations with clinicians.

Expected Results: The website will include information about the disease, reflective questions for people to consider, links to advance directives, case-based videos, etc. The input from PWD themselves will ensure the website is user-friendly, accessible and person-centered. We will evaluate experiences of PWD and their family with using the website for feelings of mastery, security, mood, hope. In a second phase the ESR will start a randomized feasibility trial to investigate: a) effectiveness of the use of the website compared to face-to-face conversations with clinicians and b) feasibility for a future definitive RCT following the CONSORT guidelines for pilot/feasibility trials.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with Mindtech (UoN) to learn about website design and the second in year 3 with VUMC MU to study pilot/feasibility trials.

Contact: Prof Lieve van den Block ([email protected])

 

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ESR4

Host institution

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases DZNE, Germany

Project: Acceptance and adoption of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technology into everyday life for people with early onset dementia.

WP3: Technology to fulfil potential and obligations at a societal level

Objectives: Little research has addressed the acceptance and adoption of AAL technologies into everyday life for people with early onset dementia (under 65). This study will characterise the implementation processes from the perspective of the user and will be conducted as a qualitative longitudinal, ethnographic study across Europe. This includes a literature review of relevant elements of micro implementation processes linked to the experience of usefulness and successful incorporation of AAL technology as well as qualitative interviews and observations while using AAL technology over a period of 9 month.

Expected Results: Insights into the understanding of the use and utilization of AAL technology and their impact on social interaction, participation and the role of the family (caregiver) and a better understanding of requirements of AAL technology to fit well into habitual practices, routines and cultures how to generate positive emotions; being user-friendly, adaptable and manageable; and engage carers.

Planned secondment(s): Two of 3 months each. The first in year one with AE to develop the longitudinal case study and to gain better understanding of dementia activities for people with dementia and lay persons. The 2nd secondment with Silverfit an industry partner to gain better understanding of AAL technology.

Contact: Prof Martina Roes ([email protected])

 

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ESR5

Host institution

Maastricht University, Netherlands

Project: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in daily life for carers of people with dementia

WP4: Technology to manage one’s own life

Objectives: Caring for a person with dementia is associated with emotions, difficulties, demands, and losses that are to a large extent unchangeable. There is an urgent need for interventions that promote the ability to manage life in dementia, by focusing on the acceptance of, and adaptation to adverse external and internal experiences. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) could increase the acceptance of negative feelings and thoughts related to caregiving and to help people with dementia and their caregivers find ways to live their lives, according to their wishes and values. ACT addresses an important social health concept focusing on positive characteristics and capacities, rather than deficits. The project aims to extend ACT to everyday life by integrating momentary assessment technology in the therapeutic process which could; help to adopt the skills of ACT during daily life and apply them effectively when encountering daily challenges, and promote awareness of internal and external experiences and the relationship between experiences and context.

Expected Results: The ESR will evaluate the feasibility and effects of the extended ACT program on caregivers’ psychological flexibility, and quality of life of both the caregiver and person with dementia. Wearable technology will explore daily stress levels in caregivers. This project illuminate the potential of ACT plus momentary assessment/wearable technology to support caregivers and people with dementia with social health, and the added value of momentary assessment technology to supplement existing psychological interventions in dementia care. The extended ACT program has already shown to be promising in mental health care patients. This project includes adaptation of ACT, a feasibility study and preliminary effect evaluation to assess caregivers’ experiences to identify barriers/facilitators for future implementation.

Planned secondment(s): Two of 3 months each. The first in year one to VUB-BE to exchange knowledge on momentary assessment technology, the second in year 3 with technology partner Silverfit.

Contact: Prof Frans Verhey ([email protected])

 

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ESR6

Host institution

VU University Medical Centre, Netherlands

Project: Cost and effectiveness evaluation of FindMyApps, a tool to find usable apps for self-management and social participation in dementia

WP4: Technology to manage one’s own life

Objectives: The interactive web based FindMyApps (selection tool + training), piloted and tested in a previous feasibility study, supports people with mild dementia (and family carers) in finding usable apps for the tablet for g self-management and social participation.  A) to confirm the usability of the selected apps in the database of FindMyApps to support self-management and social participation; B) to investigate the effectiveness of FindMyApps in a randomised controlled trial and C) to investigate the cost-effectiveness of FindMyApps (MRC framework) and develop an implementation package and business model for implementation of FindMyApps.

Expected Results: It is expected that people with dementia who use FindMyApps regularly will participate more frequently in social and meaningful activities leading to better quality of life compared those who use the tablet computer without FindMyApps, or people who do not use the tablet at all. FindMyApps is expected to enhance the family carer/person with dementia relationship, and for carers reduced feelings of burden, higher sense of competence and quality of life to help them care for longer. As FindMyApps is a web based and low cost intervention it is expected to be cost-effective and easy to implement. Based on experiences of users during the RCT (process analysis) improvements will help optimize its usability. An implementation package and business model will be developed. 

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with Saxion University to study pilot/feasibility trials, and the second in year 3 with EU Medianet, to develop an implementation package and business model.

Contact: Prof Rose-Marie Dröes ([email protected])

 

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ESR7

Host institution

IDES, Spain

Project Title and Work Package(s) to which it is related: Psychosocial Applications of Technology for Health and wellness coaching of older adults with dementia and mild cognitive impairment and their carers in rural areas

WP4: Technology to manage one’s own life

Objectives: to develop a proof of concept of a technological platform integrating several innovative digital tools for health and wellness coaching of older adults with dementia and cognitive impairment and their carers, and to study the effects of utilisation of the platform on physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing, activities of daily living, social and cognitive functioning and professional care use. To involve older adults with dementia and their carers in the design and development of the platform, assessing their satisfaction, the impact of the system in realistic settings, acceptability and usability, to enables them to manage the system autonomously in daily life.

Expected Results: An evidence base for the efficacy of a combination of psychosocial interventions, both as a systematic intervention combination for therapies with high level evidence base but low compliance in real life and cost-effectiveness data, and as a pragmatic controlled trial comparing strategies that require efficacy evidence: 1.Usefulness and effectiveness of personalized recommendations and follow-up to promote physical, cognitive, mental and social well-being. 2. Validation of non-obtrusive technology for physical, cognitive, social and mental well-being.3.Evidence of user-centred design and innovation, new intuitive ways of human-computer interaction, and user acceptance. 4. Potential cost-effectiveness due to enhanced self-care, life-style and care management.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with VUMC months to ascertain the feasibility of applying this platform to dementia Meeting Centers and the second in year 3 with MindTech (UoN) to assess the feasibility of the platform and its applicability in the UK. 

Contact: Prof Manuel Franco Martín ([email protected])

 

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ESR8

Host institution

Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic

Project Title: Design, development and testing of a low cost pet-like care-bot.

WP4: Technology to manage one’s own life.

Objectives: To apply participatory principles in design and development of a low cost pet-like care-bot intended to call attention of its “master” to the important tasks of daily routine (eg taking medication, phoning a friend) that the person tends to forget,  and which have not been completed on time (the care-bot deduces this from smart home sensors data). First, the ESR has to review the types of reminders that can be applied in this context (e.g. using sounds or simple voice technology) and design an experiment for testing their acceptance by different users during a field study. The ESR will run and evaluate a field study involving several users of the technology: to test the suggested reminders; to identify conditions that influence level of attention the user pays to the reminder; to contribute to design of appropriate solutions for the situation when the user ignores the reminder. To identify those care-bot’s functionalities that respect best the user’s requirements.

Expected Results: The ESR will become a member of the care-bot development team responsible for design and testing of appropriate user-friendly modes of communication (including reminders) between the care-bot and its user based on participatory design, a simple procedure leading to creation of a personalized solution for the individual user through the choice of appropriate vocabulary, communication language etc. The ESR will refine the choice of language technology to produce quickly the care-bot that will communicate in any language of the project partners so that it can be tested during the planned secondments. The SW implementation of the care-bot will be inspired by the robot MARIO’s frame based SW architecture and possibilities of cooperation between the produced care-bot and MARIO will be considered.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with NUIG to learn different aspects of robotic technology and the second with UoB looking at how smart home technology can work with robotics.

Contact: Prof Olga Štěpánková ([email protected])

 

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ESR 9

Host institution

University of Bremen, Germany

Project Title: Smart home technologies supporting daily life for people with dementia and their informal caregivers to improve quality of life and social participation

WP4: Technology to manage one’s own life

Objectives: Easy to use technical systems for people with dementia and their caregiver help support people to manage in their own home. This project evaluates smart home technologies (Allspark cubes) provided in cooperation with a technical partner (Blackout Technologies) as a learning system supporting communication and social participation but also for assisting with nutrition and medication management. A longitudinal analysis with control group will evaluate acceptance and conditions for successful implementation/use and effectiveness of this technology as well as quality of life, social participation, nutrition, and carer burden using standard scales and in depth-interviews.

Expected Results: Demonstration of the potential of easy to apply smart home technologies to support people with dementia in daily life and  improve quality of life and social health. Barriers and facilitators for the use of these technologies will be evaluated and a pilot effectiveness study will provide deeper insight into future implementation.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with WFOT to look at international use of smart home technology and the second at NUIG to review ethical issues around smart homes.

Contact: Prof Karin Wolf-Ostermann ([email protected])

 

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 ESR10

Host institution

University College London, UK

Project: Use of technology in disclosure of dementia by the diagnosed individual to their social networks.

WP5 Technology enabling participation in social activities

Objectives: Before individuals with dementia can fully engage with social activities or wider society they need to be willing to disclose their dementia identity. Many individuals with dementia avoid social activities due to fear of others’ adverse reactions, or stigma. This project (1) investigates the use of technology by the diagnosed individual and their family to facilitate disclosure of dementia to their wider social networks. This includes literature review, surveys and case studies of decision-making about disclosure by individuals and family members, sampling to illustrate congruence/divergence of opinions within decision-making units (couples, families) within different societal milieu and ethnic groups. (2) develops and evaluates an online resource/app for people with dementia and family carers to support decision-making about “who to tell, how and when”, building on a manual devised and evaluated in the UK, based on the ‘Honest Open Proud’ programme.

Expected Results: Academic publications: literature review; survey results; evaluation of online decision-making tool/app. Resources: online decision-making tool / app, with illustrative cases to facilitate and support discussion within couples / families. Outcome: prevention of withdrawal of individuals from social activities; maintenance of social networks.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with ADI to look at international concerns about disclosure and the second at UoH to review ethical issues around disclosure. 

Contact: Dr Georgina Charlesworth ([email protected])

 

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ESR11

Host institution

Maastricht University, Netherlands

Project Title: Improving social participation in dementia with the Geographic Information System-based intervention ‘Viamigo’.

WP5 Technology enabling participation in social activities

Objectives: (1) to provide insight into the barriers and facilitators of social participation in dementia and (2) to improve social participation of people with dementia with the Geographic Information System (GIS)-based intervention ‘Viamigo’. People with dementia commonly suffer from spatial disorientation, leading to a decrease in meaningful outdoor activities and social interactions, and a decline in independence. ‘Viamigo’ teaches people with dementia a known individual route, to accomplish independently while being monitored in real-time from a distance by a personal coach (eg family carer). A literature review will gain insight into the evidence on factors that can influence social participation of people with dementia, and a qualitative focus group study to examine perspectives of people with dementia and their informal caregivers on barriers and facilitators of social participation in dementia. Objective 2 will be addressed by a pilot study on the feasibility and effect of ‘Viamigo’ to support the independent outdoor mobility of people with dementia and  reduce caregiver burden.

Expected Results: A systematic literature review on personal and disease-related factors, social factors, and material and physical environment factors that can influence social participation of people with dementia. The focus groups will reveal important information on beliefs, attitudes, and subjective experiences of people with dementia and their caregivers with regard to participation in social activities in general and specifically when travelling outdoors; in order to identify barriers and facilitators of social participation. An evaluation of ‘Viamigo’ for usability, acceptability, and effectiveness for people with dementia and their caregivers is expected to lead to increased out-home mobility, participation in social activities, confidence of the person with dementia to travel independently, and a higher quality of life the person with dementia and caregiver. Results will be used to adapt the application if necessary for future implementation.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with KI-SE to learn about how people with dementia relate to technology and the potential barriers and discrepancies faced by people with dementia dealing with technology and the second at Silverfit, a technology partner that has broad experience with innovative technology in everyday life.

Contact: Prof Frans Verhey ([email protected])

 

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ESR12

Host institution

National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Project: Social robotics in dementia care to promote social health: ethical issues and implementation strategies

WP5 Technology enabling participation in social activities

Objectives: To review existing social robotic technology use in dementia care to identify the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of social robotics in practice. To explore attitudes toward social robotic use by people with dementia aimed to promote participation in social and meaningful activities and to identify strategies to influence and change attitudes. To review existing ethical issues and concerns regarding the use of social robotics in dementia care from the perspective of relevant stakeholders, such as people with dementia, carers, robot researchers and designers, health care practitioners, with attention to the involvement of users and carers with actual robot use experience from previous robotics projects. Systematic reviews and mixed methods methodology involving qualitative interviews and a Delphi survey will be utilised.

Expected Results: Best practice guidelines for the successful introduction and implementation of social robotics in dementia care plus an up to date report on the state of the art in social robotic technology use in dementia care. A detailed account will describe the perceived barriers and facilitators to the design process and implementation of social robotics in dementia care settings across countries and in particular what needs to be in place to achieve positive stakeholder attitudes towards social robotics to enhance implementation success.  Ethical framework and best practice guidelines to facilitate ethical design and implementation of social robotics in dementia care, based on principles of value sensitive design based on engagement with participants (health professionals, technical and design professionals, carers and users) in previous and ongoing social robotics projects in Ireland, UK and the Netherlands, as well as consultation with robot ethics and human robot interaction (HRI) experts.  This will generate new knowledge regarding real world experiences of ethical issues in the implementation of care robotics for persons with dementia to inform the design and implementation process and a report on ethical concerns in practice and framework to mitigate ethical concerns regarding social robotics in dementia care to ensure the needs of carers and people with dementia are protected.

Planned secondments: Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with VUB to fine-tune the ethical framework developed

through interaction with local experts in dementia care and the interdisciplinary group exploring different theoretical dimensions of the experiences of illness. The second in year 3 at VUMC to explore ethical issues surrounding the use of assistive technology and social robotics and technology in dementia care,

Contact: Prof Dympna Casey ([email protected])

 

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ESR13

Host institution

IDES, Spain

Project Title: Use of a Mini Robot as a new approach for cognitive and social stimulation in home care.

WP5 Technology enabling participation in social activities

Objectives: to develop and adapt a new Mini robot for people over 65 and people with dementia The robot is small (easy for move to different places). To analyse the interactions between the robot and elderly persons (with dementia) and to apply a usability study in a living lab for older people. To promote and support the interactions between old people and environment (social participation). To perform a small pilot project about the usability of the robot and efficacy in terms of mood and cognitive skills. Improvement of the main features of the robot. 

Expected Results: An evidence base for the efficacy and usability of the Mini Robot in a home environment for improving mood and social skills of older people or people with mild cognitive decline due to mild dementia. Mini Robot can be useful to counteract loneliness and mood symptoms for older people, mainly for people living at home. Improve the usability of social robots for older people. Develop new research projects using robot technology in older people.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with CVUT to help integrate the technologies developed in Prague with the robot developed in the IBSAL and sharing methodologies for researching in new technologies and robots. The second in year 3 at Saxion to test the robot in an environment with a different care context and a conduct a usability study of the robot in the Netherlands.

Contact: Prof Manuel Franco Martín ([email protected])

 

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 ESR14

Host institution

VU University Medical Centre, Netherlands

Project: Evaluation of the effectiveness of a person-centred touch-screen based photo-activity for people with advanced dementia

WP5 Technology enabling participation in social activities

Objectives: A) develop a user-friendly digital touch-screen version of the existing successfully piloted Photo-activity intervention, B) explore the effectiveness of the Photo-activity in a randomized clinical trial (feasibility and effect study) in nursing home residents with advanced dementia and C) to investigate implementation issues and develop an implementation package for the person-centred photo activity.

Expected Results: Care for people with moderate to severe dementia who stay in nursing homes is not yet sufficiently person-oriented and often does not adequately match their needs. Earlier research showed that viewing art on a touch screen tablet can positively influence the well-being of people with dementia and their caregivers. A study from VUMC showed that a photo activity tailored to the personal interests of people with moderate/severe dementia seemed to have a positive impact on their mood and social interaction during the activity. The project evaluates person-centred care offered to people with moderate to severe dementia by using a photo activity through touch-screen technology. It is expected that the mood of people with dementia and the social interaction with their environment in daily life will improve when they are regularly offered person-centred contact through the photo activity. The intervention will offer paid carers in long term care facilities an easy to use social participation approach for people with more advanced dementia. The project will also deliver an implementation package.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first at MindTech (UoN) to learn from and utilize the expertise on using touch-screen technology in care homes.  Then with EU Medianet to develop implementation package.

Contact: Prof Rose-Marie Dröes ([email protected])

 

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ESR15

Host institution

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases DZNE, Germany

Project: Implementation of AAL technology addressing communication and its impact on the underlying link between technology and the psychosocial effect of dementia on communication

WP5 Technology enabling participation in social activities

Objectives: To analyse implementation strategies of AAL technology across Europe with a focus on technical communication assistance systems which can serve in two instances: (a) as a resource of expert knowledge for the person with dementia, family caregivers and professionals, and (b) as an expert system that suggests interventions on the basis of active input of information on the patient and data on environmental factors. A survey across Europe will identify implementation strategies (including which technologies are implemented); facilitators and barriers across care settings (focus on long-term care facilities). A Delphi Process in 3 English-speaking countries will characterize relationships among implementation strategies and assess feasibility and importance. Three focus groups in one country with people with dementia and family carers will offer a better understanding of acceptance and adoption of AAL technology for communication.

Expected Results: An enhanced understanding about the link between technology and the psychosocial effect of dementia on communication, and how it can contribute to empowering approaches of communication. An implementation framework that allows a tailored implementation strategy for long-term care facilities. Details about the underlying link between technology and the psychosocial effect of dementia on communication different providers (home care, adult day care, nursing homes etc.) who actively use AAL technology addressing communication for the person with dementia, family caregiver and/or professionals.

Planned secondment(s): Two for 3 months each. The first at AE to develop the international survey and to gain a better understanding of dementia activities for lay persons and professional care facilities. The secondment with an Silverfit to look at AAL technology addressing communication as a resource of expert knowledge for the person with dementia, family caregivers and professionals or an expert system that suggests interventions. 

Contact: Prof Martina Roes ([email protected])