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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3076859, 7 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/3076859
Research Article

An Online Platform to Support the Network of Caregivers of People with Dementia

Centre of Expertise for Innovative Care and Technology (EIZT), Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Heerlen, Netherlands

Correspondence should be addressed to Renée Verwey; ln.dyuz@yewrev.eener

Received 30 January 2017; Accepted 2 July 2017; Published 15 August 2017

Academic Editor: Elke Bromberg

Copyright © 2017 April B. C. G. Boessen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Increasing numbers of persons with dementia (PWD) augment the pressure on dementia care, especially informal care. Care technology can support the network of PWD. We tested the usability and perceived value of an online platform that aims to support the communication and collaboration between family and professional caregivers of PWD. A mixed methods design was used for this pilot study, including semistructured interviews, a postal questionnaire, and monitoring of log data. Seven family and thirty-two professional caregivers involved with four PWD participated during a 10-week period. Overall, the results indicate that the platform is easy to use and valuable for both family and professional caregivers. They felt better informed and prepared regarding the situation of the PWD and felt supported by the more direct lines of communication within the network. Also, a broadening and deepening of the relationship between family and professional caregivers was experienced. Although connecting care organizations’ record systems with the platform and an active contribution of all care professionals involved (e.g., general practitioners and those working at day care units) were suggested for optimal use of the platform, family and professional caregivers positively valued the platform for improving the efficiency and ease of communication and collaboration.