COMPAs App Improves Communication between Seniors with Dementia and their Caregivers

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Andrea Harton

Project Title: COMPAs: An Innovative App to Support Person-Centered Communication Between Older Adults with Dementia and Their Caregivers

What is the issue?

Persons with dementia living in long-term care homes can experience significant difficulty with communication, diminishing the relationship between seniors and caregivers and increasing caregiver burden. These issues can lead to a lower quality of life for residents and caregivers alike.

What did we do?

We developed the COMmunication Proche-Aidants (COMPAs) app to improve communication between older adults with dementia and caregivers. Based on scientific evidence, it uses personalized images with sound to create meaningful communications.

Previously, we evaluated the app with pairs of seniors and caregivers. The app successfully improved communication, self-satisfaction, and well-being among users, and reduced caregiver burden.

For this project, we simplified the app to see how it would perform in a real-life, long-term care setting with multiple users. We provided caregivers with a manual and a training module on the best strategies for communicating with persons with dementia.

What did we find?

The COMPAs app improved communication between caregivers and residents. Users reported a high level of satisfaction. Caregivers developed new practices in everyday routines around the app. Long-term care homes have integrated the app well into everyday care.