Internship project: Digital storytelling for person-focussed dementia care

Project Participants

Status: Completed


Dementia is a significant and growing health and aged care problem in Australia that has a substantial impact on the health and quality of life of people with the condition, as well as their family and friends. It is estimated that there were between 386,200 and 472,000 Australians living with dementia in 2021, and this number is predicted to more than double by 2058 – reflecting Australia’s ageing population. The delivery of meaningful aged care and dementia support, often called person-centred care, is challenged by a lack of personal knowledge about a patient, and individualised service. One highly effective solution to this problem is for people with dementia and their families to record and share their life stories. Life-story work (which involves collecting memories and moments that are important to the person to assist them to regain their sense of self) has the potential to enhance person-centred care, improve quality of life and benefit the staff delivering care.

Despite its benefits and evidence of its promise, life storytelling in the dementia care context is yet to reach scale. Given the size of the population of dementia patients, their families, carers and service providers, there is much potential to life storytelling that digital technology could help realise. Indeed, digital technologies have the potential to support delivery of accessible, adaptable, scalable and cost-effective interventions to support person-focussed dementia care. One such technology is StoryTiling.

StoryTiling is an existing and novel app technology that uses anthropological science to make it easy for people to capture their life stories in the form of video narratives. This project will examine the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of storytelling via the StoryTiling app to support patient-focussed dementia care in residential and community care settings.

Project Objectives

  1. Examine current evidence in the scientific literature regarding the effectiveness of storytelling and digital tools (and their associated practices) in aiding person-focussed dementia care.
  2. Explore the effectiveness of StoryTiling in teaching Assistants In Nursing (AINs) to conduct person-centred interviews with people with dementia and improving their understanding of the value of person-focussed care.
  3. Design a series of questions in StoryTiling to produce an introductory video for a person with dementia that will elicit responses that AINs and health staff can use to produce a ‘top 5 things about me’ checklist.
  4. Assess participant engagement and user experiences and perspectives of StoryTiling and the ‘top 5 things about me’ checklist.

Integrity, Excellence,
Teamwork and Authenticity