Dementia is a leading cause of death, disability and hospitalization in Canada and globally. A partnership between Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and Ontario Tech University, both located in the Durham Region in the province of Ontario, Canada was established to create a space of technological innovation in front line dementia care on a Geriatric Dementia Unit (GDU). Our goals are to improve patient quality of life and recovery, enhance the health and well-being of patients with dementia and their caregivers, and allow front-line health and social care providers to practice to their full scope.A jam session is defined as a collaborative brainstorming and service prototyping event that does not have to be technology related, but occurs in a condensed timeframe. Currently, little is known about the effectiveness of jam sessions, especially in regards to interdisciplinary problem solving related to dementia care in health care settings.
A collaborative jam session employing Google jam technology between Ontario Tech University and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences was held to engage in problem solving for clinical challenges identified on a GDU. Focus groups were first held to identify the dementia care needs currently facing patients, their caregivers and clinical staff on the GDU (N = 27 total). Thematic analysis of the qualitative data responses collected from the focus groups resulted in the identification of three major themes: (i) Communication and responsive behaviors; (ii) physical environment, and (iii) activities/stimulation. The themes identified aligned with a subsequent comprehensive review of both grey and white literature conducted by members of the research team. The survey consisted of three Likert-type closed-ended forced response questions, and three open-ended questions; where participants were free to answer in their own words.
A total of 19 individuals (100%) completed the evaluation survey administered at the end of the jam session. There were 373 ideas total generated during the jam session, and the specific number of idea generated for the three themes of communication and responsive behaviours, physical environment, and activities/stimulation were 127, 132 and 114, respectively. Overall, the majority of participants felt that the jam session was an effective and innovative way to generate ideas for clinical solutions related to dementia for the GDU.
To our knowledge, this is the first report to examine the effectiveness of Google jam technology to engage in interdisciplinary problem solving for clinical challenges for a GDU. Innovative co-production during the jam session was evidenced by the vehicle of co-creation by all stakeholders involved. These preliminary results suggest that the jam session was an effective method for engaging in interdisciplinary and inter-professional creative thinking and problem solving related to challenges faced by patients with dementia, their family, and clinical staff who administer care to patients with dementia.