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Digital & Innovation

Immersive digital technology transforming dementia journey for patients and carers

Health Industry Hub | March 24, 2023 |

Digital & Innovation: Dementia can be a lonely place. For the person with dementia, whose internal world can be so hard for others to comprehend, for family carers struggling with a loved one’s complex and changing needs, for professional carers who may lack the specialist knowledge to offer the best support, and for family and friends where this may be the first time they have experienced this with a loved one.

Through harnessing immersive technology in healthcare, Dementia Australia has showcased its digital journey and over a decade of impact from its innovative tools.  

Dementia Australia CEO, Maree McCabe AM, said referred to the organisation’s ground-breaking use of virtual reality, apps and artificial intelligence in transforming dementia care, increasing understanding and raising awareness about dementia. 

“We developed this story to acknowledge the visionary philanthropic, government and donor supporters who have made them possible, and to acknowledge our team and collaborators who have led the developments from concept to reality,” Ms McCabe said. 

“‘Cutting Edge Technology Applications’ celebrates how the use of technology is changing and improving the support, care practice, knowledge and awareness for all people impacted by dementia. 

“It is exciting to release this digital story as the latest addition to our technology suite, BrainTrack app has exceeded more than 34,000 downloads since its launch in October 2022.” 

BrainTrack is a free app and has been developed as a tool for users to learn about brain health and track cognition over time through a series of fun, travel-themed games. Users are prompted to log in every month, and if they have concerns they can generate a pdf report of results which can be shared with their GP to use as a conversation starter. 

“That’s 34,000 people who we hope are now learning about being brain healthy, modifiable risk factors of dementia and cognitive decline, and if they have concerns, reaching out early so support and intervention can be accessed,” Ms McCabe said. 

Since first setting out to create change through the use of immersive technology, Dementia Australia’s product offerings have brought dementia to life for thousands of Australians, who develop insight and empathy by experiencing first-hand its symptoms and impacts. 

“Professional and family carers tell us how profound it is to enter the world of a person with dementia. And we know from formal evaluations the power of this style of training compared to traditional ‘chalk and talk’,” Ms McCabe said. 

“The story highlights each step in our audacious tech journey; harnessing the power of gaming technologies and other high-tech tools to transform dementia understanding and care. 

“We believed that if we could simulate the experience of what it’s like to have dementia, we could lead transformation and change people’s attitudes, behaviour and practice, improving the quality of life and care for people living with dementia.” 

Other multi-award-winning digital projects showcased include EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive Experience) the virtual reality experience, Talk with Ted an artificial intelligence-powered avatar to help professional carers practice their communication skills, and Annie the care worker in your pocket, who delivers micro lessons to care workers through the convenience of an app with an anytime, anywhere approach.  

“We have a range of tools and supports on offer to help all people impacted by dementia and I strongly encourage everyone to download our new ‘Cutting edge technology applications; Improving the experience of dementia for everyone’ to find out more,” Ms McCabe said. 

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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