Scottish dementia strategy highlights role of digital and data in creating “resilient communities”, educating carers, and promoting inclusion

The Social Care and National Care Service Development Directorate within the Scottish Government has published its dementia strategy 2024-2026, outlining how the government commits to working “with the voices of lived experience” to achieve its vision for change in dementia care and highlighting digital as one of the key thematic priorities.

Actions to be taken include working to ensure that dementia is part of the discussion in the Scottish Government’s Digital Health and Care Strategy and supporting the development of digital innovation through commissioning and funding related programmes including around information provision and workforce development, with the latter including a focus on building skills and training “to work agilely and flexibly, embracing new technologies”.

Other plans include promoting digital innovation in achieving the strategy’s outcomes; and supporting access to digital solutions with the recognition that “older people, social tenants and people on low incomes are less likely to have access to, or use, the internet”.

Digital also plays a role in the creation of “resilient communities” and within the focus on care partners and unpaid carers. Here, the Scottish Government notes how digital solutions can be utilised to enhance communities and place-based planning priorities, particularly in supporting remote and rural populations, and how digital resources can bolster carer education.

The strategy similarly highlights the importance of data, making a commitment to extending the data published on diagnosis and post-diagnostic support to include demographic and qualitative detail, which should support “a strengthened focus on inclusion and equalities”.

A number of case studies are shared to underpin the strategy’s themes; under digital, the Scottish Government notes that virtual reality can be an “impactful tool to engage, relax and stimulate cognitive functions”, and shares example of a project by Alzheimer Scotland, which utilises VR to see if the technology can “induce calm dreams”.

To read the strategy in full, please click here.

Also from Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland has announced the launch of “paperless placements” for nursing students at the University of Dundee, thanks to a digital tool developed by the NES Technology Service in collaboration with the NES Nursing and Midwifery pre-registration and practice education team.

And in other news, NHS National Services Scotland has published a prior information notice for the development of a “once for Scotland” digital heart failure system, with the aim of any potential project to adopt technology capable of displaying, capturing and collating relevant clinical information to “bring the benefits of enhanced vetting, investigation and diagnostic decision-making”.