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London’s LOTI tackles digital exclusion in dementia


Mark Chillingworth


A collaboration between the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) and the Helix Centre at Imperial College London has set out to pilot a new approach to dementia support.

The London based project will create digital solutions to alleviate the challenges dementia patients and carers suffer from, which increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The collaboration is part of the Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme at LOTI, which is developing initiatives for those in London that are digitally excluded. The pandemic has highlighted the severity of digital exclusion in the UK.

Those with long term illnesses such as dementia were hardest hit by the pandemic and lockdowns as their routines were disrupted, and the community groups they relied on had to move away from the face-to-face provision of services to online. This revealed how the digitally excluded lacked access to devices, network connections and therefore, the skills to benefit from online services during the lockdown.

With the UK having to go into a number of lockdowns when in-person services did resume, this has added to the challenge for carers as dementia sufferers have been concerned about re-engaging.

Co-design and development

Innovation lab the Helix Centre - which counts NHS Improvement, AI firm DeepMind, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) as members and is part of the Imperial College London - will co-design and develop with LOTI a series of new ways to provide dementia support through skills and knowledge on inclusive services, targeted at those with dementia and their carers.

These solutions will aim to help dementia patients stay in their own homes longer, promote good physical and mental health for both patients and carers, improve information and advice from local authorities, and improve knowledge sharing between groups that support dementia patients. 

In a statement, LOTI said it would work with the capital’s local authorities and community organisations to “understand and prioritise opportunities”. It added: “We will develop teams of interested individuals to co-design new digital inclusion initiatives.”

LOTI provides six areas of technology development to its public sector members, including skills, partnerships, sharing and re-use of technology, data standards, experiments, and work on shared standards.  It members include the Greater London Authority and Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Enfield and councils in the capital.

Image from iStock, ViewApart

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