AIM AND OBJECTIVES: To explore the experiences of caregivers of persons with dementia and dementia coordinators regarding their collaboration in care for a person with dementia and the feasibility of using technology in this collaboration.
BACKGROUND: Caregivers of persons with dementia have a significant risk of developing physical strain and psychological stress due to caregiver burden. Internationally, the use of technology is rapidly evolving in health care. Dementia coordinators employed in municipalities in Denmark support caregivers of persons with dementia, thus helping management of life with dementia. The cooperation between dementia coordinators and caregivers is essential, and the use of technology in everyday life is inevitable.
METHODS: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive design was used. Data were derived from five focus group interviews in which 13 caregivers and 14 dementia coordinators participated. The participants' narratives were used to elucidate their experiences and attitudes, and data were analysed using thematic analysis. The study reports according to the COREQ checklist.
RESULTS: The analysis revealed three themes: the need for creating a safety net in everyday life, the need for moving together in the right direction and the need for handling technology while preserving relational interaction.
CONCLUSIONS: Technology might be used as a mediator to help ease some caregiving tasks or the burden of caregiving. However, technology is an area in which the caregivers must rely on their competences and initiatives. Even though the collaboration between caregivers and dementia coordinators was beneficial and supportive, dementia coordinators experienced technology as outside the core elements of their daily work.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: We suggest further discussion regarding who is best suited to support caregivers in making choices regarding which technologies to implement in caring for a person with dementia. If this discussion is not taken seriously, there is a risk of leaving caregivers in a technological quagmire.