Digital apps to support Alzheimer’s in-home care

Today’s guest blog is authored by Dr Gerd Kraeh, Senior Director Government Affairs, Lilly Germany.

Gerd Kraeh

Most elderly people and those needing assistance want to stay in familiar surroundings for as long as possible. In Germany 70% of those requiring nursing care are cared for by their family members. This is also true for people who have received an Alzheimer's disease (AD) diagnosis. Here we detail a recent initiative in Germany which looks at providing people living with AD and their carers better support and information via digital and mobile tools. How local and national politicians can help build on this and improve the care framework for people living with AD also formed a central part of this initiative.

Lilly has been an active partner in this initiative to improve the care framework for people living with AD and their families in Germany, under the “Dialogue Forum Dementia”. Joining forces with experts from sick funds, medical specialists, research institutes, and patient advocacy groups, this platform aims to promote an interdisciplinary, open exchange with political decision-makers on finding solutions to better care for people with AD.

Most recently, as part of this initiative, DAK-Gesundheit – Germany’s third-largest health insurance fund and one of the co-partners in the Dialogue Forum Dementia – invited Members of the German Parliament to learn more about digital services that support family members providing nursing care, especially in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. Marcus Weinberg, Ruediger Kruse, and Dr. Ernst Dieter Rossmann stopped by the DAK headquarters in Hamburg to better understand the challenges that people living with Alzheimer’s face, and to learn more about family members’ needs.

The concerns and questions of Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers range from information on treatment options, to possibilities to connect and exchange experiences and information with other patients or families, to practical recommendations for furnishing apartments. The DAK found a solution to bundle answers to these various questions in an app and an online coaching program. The two digital options are accessible for free and provide information, videos, interactive guidance, and coaching that are tailored to the specific needs and daily challenges of people living with AD and those who care for them.

After exploring these digital platforms, the parliamentarians engaged in a lively discussion on how to improve the framework of AD care in Germany. New media and digital technologies have great potential to lower the threshold for accessing information. This discussion demonstrated that digitalisation in the health sector will continue to be on the agenda of policy-makers, including after the recent German federal elections.

In the upcoming legislative term, together with the other partners of the Dialogue Forum Dementia we will continue to strengthen exchanges, share best practices, and jointly engage with political decision-makers to discuss and advocate for better conditions for Alzheimer’s disease patients and those who care for them.

 

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