This Fast-Track SBIR application submitted by SimpleC of Atlanta, Georgia, requests funds to test our current behavior management technology for persons with dementia (PWD), the SimpleC Companion, and to develop and test a new mobile tablet, the SimpleC Wellness Coach, in the in-home, aging in place market where the overwhelming majority of PWD receive their care. SimpleC's highly personalized human customer service and advanced wireless computing network enable the creation and delivery of meaningful care interventions on a large, cost-effective scale. Currently, the Companion is a stationary all-in-one computer touch screen that delivers personalized care interventions ('care shows') to PWD in assisted living and dedicated memory care units in long-term care facilities. The focus is on ameliorating common behavioral and neuropsychiatric symptoms identified by caregivers, such as apathy, aggression and trouble with ADL. Our technology-based approach grew out of applying a mix of tested psychosocial intervention methods such as reminiscence, music, reality orientation, and simulated presence or 'trusted voice' using a digital media presentation that, when customized to the individual client's preferences and needs, resulted in positive behavior change. Our proprietary system relies on personalized rather than generic media to elicit engagement in users. In distinct contrast to generic, one-size-fits-all media-based products, SimpleC assistive technology includes frequent individual engagement testing with the customized care shows. Unique to our product is the ability to process Companion usage patterns to feed back to the system in order to continuously refine care offerings and adjust to the changing demands of a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. In early outcome assessments, caregivers reported reduced caregiver burden and improved quality of life (QOL) after using the Companion. In Phase I, we will test the usability and early efficacy of the Companion to establish proof-of-principle in a new care environment, the private home, and define design iterations for the mobile Wellness Coach. In Phase II, we will design and test a mobile Wellness Coach prototype that is user-friendly for senior couples aging in place (with and without dementia), and build 30 beta units to test for usability and efficacy in a pilot randomized control trial with a range of disease severity conditions and a range of caregiver arrangements in order to evaluate the product with non-spouse caregivers. The main goal of the pilot efficacy study is to generate early outcome data on reducing behavior problems in the PWD and to measure caregiver burden and QOL in the home in the clinical population of interest. Plans for Phase III commercialization include scaling up the network and customer service capabilities, expanding our market distribution system to include home care services providers and other companies that work with PWD, and expanding the functionality of the mobile tablet to start serving clinical populations with cognitive impairment following stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Public Health Relevance

SimpleC has developed a wireless media-based behavior management technology to improve the quality of life and independence of Americans with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias as well as reduce the care burden for nearly 15 million family caregivers. This research will test the desktop SimpleC Companion, and a new mobile tablet device, the SimpleC Wellness Coach, in the aging in place, in-home market.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Mclinden, Kristina
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Simplec, LLC
United States
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Kerssens, Chantal; Kumar, Renu; Adams, Anne E et al. (2015) Personalized technology to support older adults with and without cognitive impairment living at home. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 30:85-97