Improving Caregivers’ Well-Being by Using Technology to Assist in Managing Nighttime Activity in Persons with Dementia

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nighttime activity, caregiver burden, sleep, quality of life, dementia

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This article reports the qualitative arm of a mixed-methods study designed to test an in-home nighttime monitoring system (NMS) that tracks the nighttime activity of persons with dementia. Fourteen caregiver interviews were analyzed using grounded theory/full conceptual description methods to determine the issues associated with providing care at night and to explore the benefits of using the NMS. Caregivers not using the NMS experienced sleep disruption, overwhelming worry, and loss of personal space, leading to decreased energy and changes in mood. When the NMS was used, caregivers reported improved “peace of mind.” The fear and uncertainty associated with worry was alleviated by reliable alerts regarding the whereabouts of the person with dementia. Some caregivers were able to better balance needs for personal space with needs to remain in contact with the person with dementia. Generally, caregivers reported improved quality of sleep, although some caregivers reported more awakenings due to the system alerts.

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Research in Gerontological Nursing, v. 2, issue 1, p. 39-48