There are approximately 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland.

The experience of the illness is subjective and unique to each individual. Effectively tackling the symptoms of dementia requires a coordinated range of health and social care interventions.

Health and Sport Committee - Technology and Innovation in the NHS

Monday 10 July 2017

Consultation details

Alzheimer Scotland responded to the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee as part of their inquiry into Technology and Innovation in the NHS.

Summary of Response

Alzheimer Scotland focused on a number of different areas as part of the response noting some of the progress that had been made in recent years, specifically for people with dementia

Scottish Government vision for Digital Health and Social Care Strategy 2017-2022

Alzheimer Scotland welcomed the vision statements in relation to the Digital Health and Social Care Strategy, noting they were consistent with the National Health and Social Care Standards using 'I' statements. However, we felt the statement around the use of data was inconsistent with the other vision statements.

Technology Charter for People Living with Dementia

Alzheimer Scotland highlighted the work that had been taken forward on the Technology Charter for People Living with Dementia and the six principles which underpinned it. We suggested that these values are a strong basis for the use of technology in health and social care, regardless of condition and suggested these could be incorporated as part of the Scottish Government’s vision for digital health.

Challenges in health and social care

Alzheimer Scotland noted a number of challenges remained around the use of technology in health and social care settings including:

  • The need to ensure professionals understood and were confident about having conversations about technology, both for an individual's needs, but also their future needs.
  • An ongoing issues of IT systems which were incompatible and did not always allow for professional working in different sectors (or different parts of the same sector) to access information about the individual.
  • The restrictive nature of procurement practices in relation to technology which prevent bespoke pieces of equipment being used where it is not bough in bulk.

Opportunities for the use of technology

Alzheimer Scotland noted that the increased acceptance and ubiquity of GPS in other areas of life presented a good opportunity for use to allow people with dementia to walk and/or travel, whilst relieving some of the anxiety that carers may have.

Additionally, Self-Directed Support was highlighted as an area of potential which could allow people to purchase technologies that they may not otherwise be available to them under traditional services and supports.

Considerations when using technology

Our response highlighted the need to consider a rights-based approach in the use of technology. Whilst acknowledging the positive opportunities associated with using technology, we also noted the complexity of the legal context around using technologies and how even well meaning technological interventions could negatively impact on the autonomy and freedom of the individual.

Download the NHS Technology and Innovation response

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