Volunteers’ Support of Carers of Rural People Living with Dementia to Use a Custom‐Built Application
journal contributionposted on 29.09.2021, 06:18 authored by Clare WildingClare Wilding, Hilary Davis, Tshepo RasekabaTshepo Rasekaba, M Hamiduzzaman, Kayla RoyalsKayla Royals, J Greenhill, Megan E. O’Connell, D Perkins, Michael BauerMichael Bauer, D Morgan, Irene BlackberryIrene Blackberry
There is great potential for human‐centred technologies to enhance wellbeing for people living with dementia and their carers. The Virtual Dementia Friendly Rural Communities (Verily Connect) project aimed to increase access to information, support, and connection for carers of rural people living with dementia, via a co‐designed, integrated website/mobile application (app) and Zoom videoconferencing. Volunteers were recruited and trained to assist the carers to use the Verily Connect app and videoconferencing. The overall research design was a stepped wedge open cohort randomized cluster trial involving 12 rural communities, spanning three states of Australia, with three types of participants: carers of people living with dementia, volunteers, and health/aged services staff. Data collected from volunteers (n = 39) included eight interviews and five focus groups with volunteers, and 75 process memos written by research team members. The data were analyzed using a descriptive evaluation framework and building themes through open coding, inductive rea-soning, and code categorization. The volunteers reported that the Verily Connect app was easy to use and they felt they derived benefit from volunteering. The volunteers had less volunteering work than they desired due to low numbers of carer participants; they reported that older rural carers were partly reluctant to join the trial because they eschewed using online technologies, which was the reason for involving volunteers from each local community.