Time Matters

In autumn of 2012 Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced £50 million of capital funding for improvements in dementia care environments in hospitals and care homes with an emphasis on personalised care services where residents have maximum access to information, control and choice in social care settings (Care Homes Wellbeing, 2012).

In light of the continuous policy interest on dementia and technology innovations in care homes, the proposed project aims to: 1) explore barriers and facilitators to communication with dementia care home residents faced by carers 2) co-design a customised digital story telling system solution with formal (care home staff) and informal carers (family and friends) to support resident’s with dementia reminiscence and continuous communication with, and about, residents with dementia after their transition to  care homes.

The research will explore the feasibility and acceptability of using digital story telling in dementia care environments and identify what end users (care home staff, family and friends) want and in what form. It will also help us develop stakeholder networks and demonstrate to both them and an important funder (Alzheimer’s Society UK) our commitment to scientific methods and innovations that involve service users in design and promotion of person-centred holistic care.

The work will be split between UK and Brazil, and forms a collaborative project on the SPRINT UK-Brazil network on Assistive media for health and wellbeing in ageing. It is therefore co-funded by the network grant of £16,000 from University of Surrey and FAPESP, and an additional pump priming grant of £7,980 from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey. 

Time Matters Brazil:  This will involve a small scale field trial of a digital storytelling system in a Brazilian Care Home. It will examine the value of the system as a form of multimedia communication in that context. The work will be led by Paula Castro, with local researchers Ana Raquel Ruiz Abrahão, Paulinha Fernanda Carlos da Silva and Aline Gratão, together with remote input and analysis from David Frohlich and Theti Chrysanthaki. This will run from April 2017 to February 2018. In a second study, Brazilian home-based carers will be interviewed about communication problems with people with dementia, and the potential of digital storytelling to address them. 

Time Matters UK: This will involve two focus groups with care home staff and family and friends of residents. It will aim to understand communication practices and problems, and gauge reaction to digital storytelling technology.  The work will be led jointly by Theti Chrysanthaki and David Frohlich, together with remote input and analysis from Brazilian colleagues Paula Castro, Ana Raquel Ruiz Abrahão, Paulinha Fernanda Carlos da Silva and Aline Gratão.  This will be conducted between January 2018 and July 2018. 


Fernanda Carlos da Silva P., Taveira Ferraz L., Frohlich D.M., Gratão A., Chrysanthaki T., & Castro P. (2022) The potential of digital storytelling for home-based dementia care in Brazil. Gerontechnology 21(1): 1-12.

Abrahao A.R.R., da Silva P.F.C., Frohlich D.M., Chrysanthaki T., Gratão A., Castro P.C. (2018) Mobile digital storytelling in a Brazilian care home, Lecture Notes in Computer Science: HCI International 2018 - Conference Proceedings Springer