The option I feel is most realistic for pursing at this time is that of a KMS/CBR system that is put in place through a collaboration of an Alzheimer’s Disease Center (specifically Washington University’s ADC) and the national office of the Alzheimer’s Association. This option would take advantage of the Association’s present work on a 24-hour Helpline, as well as utilize the volume of rich knowledge already being collected through the ADC’s LISTSERV application.
Although this option falls short of producing experiential learning environments in which caregivers may safely simulate interaction with the problem behaviors of their care recipients, the KMS option does meet other needs. KMS may also be a sound basis for later development of VR, given that VR will require data from many real-life experiences to incorporate into the simulated environments. Additionally, an advantage of targeting Washington University’s ADC is that there is also VR research going on within the university setting. A collaborative effort to develop KMS between the Alzheimer’s Association and this ADC could result in greater potential for the future development of VR caregiver training.
KMS would meet the following needs:
Provide caregivers with alternative options for
learning how to deal with problem behaviors –
KMS would allow caregivers to be walked through strategies step by step by a
professional Helpline worker.
need to access knowledge and support at the time of need, whether that time
is 2 a.m. or 3:30 in the afternoon.
The time of greatest need may vary from person to person and day to
may not always fall into normal “working hours”. –
The 24-hour Helpline would make information available immediately, anytime.
need a way to build skills for caregiving, rather than merely accumulating
information from various sources.- Through CBR, the knowledge management
system would constantly be analyzing information and creating knowledge that
is known to be useable.
Caregivers can apply these solutions to their own situation and
provide even more feedback for the system.
knowledge possessed by experienced caregivers should not be lost –
knowledge should be captured for the benefit of future caregivers.
and knowledge possessed by major authorities in Alzheimer’s disease, such
as the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Disease Centers, should
be stored in such a way as to facilitate sharing of the knowledge with
caregivers and other relevant stakeholders.
captured knowledge should be utilized to develop training programs that help
caregivers learn and apply caregiving skills. – There would be
opportunities for the collaborating entities to utilize KMS to develop more
Additionally, KMS would build upon the following capacities:
Caregivers’ knowledge of the likes, dislikes, personality and
behavioral traits of the patient.
Caregivers’ receipt of intrinsic benefits from their caring role (Pearlin
et al, 1990).
Caregivers’ capacity to change or modify their reaction to situational
factors, unlike the patient (Shanks, 1999).
Patients’ ability to respond to positive environmental changes,
leading ultimately to fewer behavioral disturbances and better quality of
life for patient and caregiver (Gruetzner,2000).
Disease Centers’ possession of vast amounts of knowledge acquired through
their research and networking.
employees are some of the most prominent researchers in the field of
Alzheimer's disease (www.alzheimers.org/pubs/adcdir.html#about).
Alzheimer’s Association’s contact with millions of people with AD and
their caregivers nationally.
Alzheimer’s Association’s networking connections with professionals,
caregivers and persons with AD from around the world.
Association’s recognition as an authority in AD information, education and
Association’s openness to technological advances, as demonstrated by its
current work on a "personalized knowledge service" that will link
callers to a 24-hour, toll free hotline providing care consultation and
referrals to services in the caller's area.
I feel it would be appropriate for the Alzheimer’s Association to
approach the ADC at Washington University in St. Louis with regard to beginning
a partnership of this nature. Because
of the Alzheimer’s Association’s ability to provide research funding to this
and other projects the ADC might consider, Washington University ADC could look
upon this as a positive relationship for cultivation.
that may potentially come up during the design and implementation of this
project include questions regarding ownership of the information, quality of the
information, and legal liability regarding misuse of the information by
consumers. As noted by Schoech
(1999), “In an information society, information is an owned resource”
(p.402). Thus, from the melding of
the Alzheimer’s Association’s technology and existing data with the data
from Washington University ADC there may arise some questions of ownership.
Would LISTSERV subscribers who willingly shared their stories and
solutions with other caregivers via the ADC’s list be willing to contribute
that knowledge on a larger scale? Additionally,
the Alzheimer’s Association and ADC may wish to examine ways in which the
quality of the information input to KMS can be validated.
In this case, the CBR component will actually help to address the issue,
as it compares the frequency of use and end results of specific interventions
found within the data mix. Finally,
legal issues may be of concern to this partnership.
In a study conducted by Damodaran & Ophert (2000), legal liability
issues were a concern raised by the specialist staff using a KMS daily.
These workers contemplated where legal responsibility might lie were
information be misused – and in the case of this paper, result in caregiver
injury. This is a valid concern and
the Alzheimer’s Association and ADC likely have individual policies in place
to deal with legal liability issues. It
would be important to enact a collaborative effort between the legal counsel of
both entities, in order to work through such