Information and communications technology as a health promotion method for older adults in assisted-living facilities: Three-arm group-randomized trial

Ching Ju Chiu, Chi Hui Wu

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Background: The application of technology is an important and growing aspect in the field of long-term care. Growing evidence shows the positive impact of technology AIDS in helping the lives of the elderly. However, it is not known which aspects of information and communications technology (ICT) are preferred by older adults living in long-term care facilities. Objective: The goal of the research was to compare the impact of ICT-communication, ICT-entertainment, and conventional care on older adults' health and psychological change after interventions among older adults in assisted-living facilities. Methods: A three-arm group-randomized trial design was used to evaluate participants who resided in three different but comparable assisted-living facilities and received different aspects of the ICT interventions. A total of 54 older adults with disabilities received one of the three interventions over 12 weeks and completed pre- and postevaluations on quality of life, social support, and psychological well-being. Results: Participants completing this study had a mean age of 73 (SD 11.4) years, and 50% (27/54) were male. Both the ICT-communication and ICT-entertainment groups showed significant improvement in the mental component of quality of life (4.11, P=.012 and 37.32, P<.001, respectively), family/friend-related social support (0.05, P=.001 and 0.04, P<.001, respectively), happiness (0.79, P=.038 and 3.72, P=.001, respectively), and depressive symptoms (-2.74, P=.001 and -7.33, P<.001, respectively). Importantly, participants in the ICT-entertainment group improved significantly more than the other two groups. The ICT-entertainment group also showed improvement in the physical component of quality of life (20.49, P<.001) and health care worker-related social support (0.1, P=.008). Conclusions: Results suggest that the entertainment but not the communication part of ICT is the most effective health promotion method for improving the health and psychological well-being of older adults in assisted-living facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12633
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics

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