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GPs want to prescribe AI technology to dementia patients

Two-thirds of GPs want to prescribe assistive technologies to their patients when they are diagnosed with dementia.

Two-thirds of GPs want to prescribe assistive technologies to their patients when they are diagnosed with dementia to help them maintain their independence.

A poll by the Longitude Prize on Dementia, which is funded by Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK, also found that nearly nine in 10 (88%) GPs believe that people living with dementia who can live in their own homes will live more fulfilling lives, with over three quarters (77%) believing it will help people to live longer.

However, 83% of GPs voiced frustration that their dementia patients do not receive enough support at home. While there are some existing technologies designed for people with dementia, most focus on monitoring a person living with the condition rather than supporting them to help them maintain independence for longer through helping them continue doing day-to-day activities, a concern shared by 86% of the GPs surveyed.

Need ways of helping people with dementia right now

Dame Louise Robinson, GP and Professor of Primary Care and Ageing, Newcastle University said: “GPs increasingly ‘prescribe’ non-drug interventions such as counselling and social prescribing for people living with long term conditions; technology, especially if it is used as part of a package of person-centred support, can help people with dementia live at home longer which is the ultimate goal.”

Other results from the poll included:

  • 76% of GPs surveyed worry that their patients may become trapped in their own homes because of anxiety and fear about getting lost.
  • half (49%) of GPs say that the majority of their early-stage dementia patients already use technology in their everyday lives.
  • 87% of GPs believe the majority of their patients with early-stage dementia would benefit from technology that was designed for the condition
  • 84% say that technologies supposedly designed for all (like phones, tablets and TVs) are not designed with patients living with dementia in mind.

Kate Lee, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society which is a co-funder of the Longitude Prize on Dementia, added: “It’s encouraging that many GPs join us in seeing the huge potential that tech could bring for the 900,000 people in the UK living with dementia. Dementia is a progressive condition set to affect one in three people born today, so we must think more broadly about how to end the devastation it causes, by helping people manage their symptoms and stay independent for longer.

“It’s exciting that soon we may have potential new treatments that could slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, but alongside this we need to urgently push forward ways of helping people with dementia right now. We believe tech involving people with dementia, for people with dementia, can be a key way of doing this.”


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