Technologies supporting daily life interaction for people with dementia and their informal caregivers to improve quality of life and social participation

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Germany Germany University of Bremen

Early Stage Researcher (ESR9)

ESR9: photo of Viktoria Hoel

Viktoria Hoel

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Prof. Karin Wolf-Ostermann

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My name is Viktoria Hoel, and my interests evolve around sustainable high-quality care and Public Health. I acquired my master’s degree at the University Of Oslo (MSc.) in Health Economics, Policy and Management, specializing in Health Economics. For my thesis, I did a cost analysis assessing the effect on patient pathways expenditure following a major Norwegian Health Reform. I deepened my knowledge of welfare-and behavioural economics during my exchange semester in Hamburg.

However, I discovered my passion Public Health while working as a research assistant in the EU-funded SUSTAIN (Sustainable tailored integrated care for older people in Europe) project. This experience sparked my interest in working with research, specifically within the field of nursing, care and public health promotion. I am therefore beyond excited for being a part of the DISTINCT project, allowing me to work in the sphere where technology and health care meet, in the pursuit of enhancing the lives of people living with dementia.

Start date October 2019
Duration 36 months


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Easy to use technical systems for people with dementia and their caregiver help support people to manage in their own home. This project evaluates evaluate the effect of a tablet-based system utilising machine learning to adapt activation content for community-dwelling people with dementia and their caregivers to enhance their dyadic relationship through supported communication and interaction. A sequential exploratory crossover study will evaluate acceptance and prerequisites for successful implementation/use and effectiveness of this technology, as well as quality of life, relationship sustenance and carer burden using standard measurement instruments and in-depth interviews.

Expected Results

Demonstration of the potential of tablet-based technologies to support dyadic interactions and dyadic relationships and improve quality of life and social health in dementia caregiving. 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 the global impact of COVID-19 on the impact on the usage of assistive- and smart home technology amongst Occupational Therapists and the second at NUIG to review ethical issues around technologies for community-dwelling people with dementia.



  1. Hoel, V., Seibert, K., Domhoff, D., Preuß, B., Heinze, F., Rothgang, H., & Wolf-Ostermann, K. (2022). Social Health among German Nursing Home Residents with Dementia during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Role of Technology to Promote Social Participation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 19(4). 
  2. Hoel, V., Wolf-Ostermann, K., & Atieno Ambugo, E. (2022). Social isolation and the use of technology in caregiving dyads living with dementia during COVID-19 restrictions. Frontiers in Public Health, 10
  3. Budak, KB., Atefi, G., Hoel, V., Laporte Uribe, F., Meiland F., Teupen S., et al. (2021). Can technology impact loneliness in dementia? A scoping review on the role of assistive technologies in delivering psychosocial interventions in long-term care. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. 1-13. doi:10.1080/17483107.2021.1984594.
  4. Hoel, V., Zweck, C. v., & Ledgerd, R. (2021). The impact of Covid-19 for occupational therapy: Findings and recommendations of a global survey. World Federation of Occupational Therapists Bulletin, 1-8. doi:10.1080/14473828.2020.1855044
  5. Hoel V., Feunou CM, Wolf-Ostermann K. (2021). Technology-driven solutions to prompt conversation, aid communication and support interaction for people with dementia and their caregivers: a systematic literature review. BMC Geriatrics. 21:1 157. doi:10.1186/s12877-021-02105-0
  6. Hoel, V., von Zweck, C., & Ledgerd, R. (2020). Was a global pandemic needed to adopt the use of telehealth in occupational therapy? Work. doi:10.3233/wor-205268


  1. Hoel, V., Seibert, K., Domhoff, D., Preuß, B., Heinze, F., Rothgang, H., Wolf-Ostermann, K., (2021, 29 November-1 December 2021). Social health among German care recipients with dementia during COVID-19, and the role of technology to promote social participation [Quick oral presentation]. 31st Alzheimer Europe Conference. Virtual, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  2. Hoel, V., Steinert, L., Wolf-Ostermann, K., Schultz, T. (2021, November 10-13). Technology-Driven Dyadic Interaction Support for Community-Dwelling People with Dementia and Family Caregivers [Oral presentation]. Part of the symposia “Strategies to Design Technology Promoting Social Participation of People with Dementia and Their Caregivers.” The Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting. Virtual and Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
  3. Hoel, V., von Zweck, C., Ledgerd, R., (2021, September). Was a global pandemic needed to adopt the use of telehealth in occupational therapy? Results of a global survey assessing the impact of Covid-19 for occupational therapy [Webinar presentation]. Learn at Work Webinar Series. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation. Virtual.
  4. Hoel, V., Steinert, L., Wolf-Ostermann, K., Schultz, T., Ambugo, EA. (2021, July 26-30). Technology-driven dyadic interaction in caregiving [Poster presentation]. Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2021. Virtual and Denver, USA.
  5. Hoel, V., von Zweck, C., Ledgerd, R., World Federation of Occupational Therapists. (2021, May 28). The role of Telehealth in Occupational Therapy during COVID-19. Spotlight Telemedicine. International Summit on Innovation and Technology. Virtual, Berlin, Germany
  6. Hoel., V (2020, December 2-3) Technology-supported dyadic interaction for people with dementia and their informal caregiver. 2020 MindTech Symposium. Virtual, Nottingham, UK