Digital communication platforms - valuable tools for spouses to persons with dementia?

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Digital communication platforms - valuable tools for spouses to persons with dementia?
Background: Being a spouse to a person with dementia has a huge impact on social life. They experience loneliness due to reduced social networks. Family and friends often withdraw from the person with dementia and the spouse. Some spouses find ways to secure social interactions by ensuring family and friends to spent some time with them, but even relations to close family members can be broken if the spouse does not have the energy to maintain the relations. Research points at digital commination as a way to connect to other people and engage in social relations by serving as platforms for written and virtual contact to people outside the home.
Aim: To examine experiences with implementation of digital platforms among spouses to persons with dementia.
Methods: The results are based on ethnographic fieldwork in two municipalities consisting of participant observations in groups of spouses, and interviews with spouses, nurses, and volunteers.
Results: The digital platforms are situated in an area of tension between the spouse, the nurses, and the volunteers. The use of the platforms is limited. The spouses ask for information material to be accessible on the platforms, but neither the nurses nor the volunteers consider it as their responsibility to put this kind of information onto the platforms. No one uses the platforms for social interaction except for invitations to activities.
Discussion: There is a lack of clarity regarding the responsibility for running the digital platforms. The volunteers are important for the social support of the spouses, but it is a challenge to secure the professional support when the responsibility to take care of the use of digital platforms is handed over to the volunteers.
Limitations: The study does not include experiences from spouses who are not attending the spouse groups.
Implications and future perspectives: To benefit from the digital platforms there need to be clarity of the main responsibility. More research is needed to identify specific skills in digital communication both for the spouses and the nurses to develop the most appropriate interface and to secure useful content to be available.
Publikationsdato9 feb. 2022
StatusUdgivet - 9 feb. 2022
BegivenhedCARE4 International Scientific Nursing and Midwifery Conference: Technology in Healthcare and Education - Ghent, Belgien
Varighed: 9 feb. 202210 feb. 2022


KonferenceCARE4 International Scientific Nursing and Midwifery Conference


  • Sygdom, sundhedsvidenskab og sygepleje
  • challenges
  • dementia care
  • digital communication
  • family caregivers
  • health professionals
  • needs
  • spouses
  • volunteers