This Focus Group aimed to contribute to the innovation of the scientific environment at Technical University Munich by advancing research knowledge on how modern technology, for example internet-based or communication technology, can best support cognitive and mental health. As first project the group were conducted the pilot project “RHAPSODY-Plus” at the Zentrum für Kognitive Störungen (ZKS), which will investigate whether two individualized support sessions provided by professional clinical staff (social worker and psychologist) via TeamViewer in combination with access to the internet-based support program RHAPSODY (Kurz et al., 2016) can provide effective support to diverse family carers of people with young onset dementia (YOD). YOD is defined by symptoms occurring before the age of 65 years and the estimated prevalence is 100 and the annual incidence 5-20 per 100.000 in the population aged 45 – 64 in Europe, Japan and the United States (Mercy et al., 2008). YOD is associated with specific and particularly severe problems for patients, carers and healthcare professionals. If successful this pilot project will contribute new research knowledge on how practical support can be delivered effectively via modern technology to informal carers as an alternative to face-to-face or telephone contact. This approach might be of particular benefit to diverse family carers who cannot easily access face-to-face specialist support due to living in rural areas or who cannot attend easily clinical appointments due to specific diversity reasons. Our Focus Group was collaborating with researchers of the Australian Centre of Research Excellence in Cognitive Health and therefore link researchers and clinical experts as well as consumer interest groups in Germany and Australia.
The Focus Group leaders are
Prof. Nicola Lautenschlager, Director of the Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age, University of Melbourne and Anna Boyksen Fellow of the TUM-IAS
Prof. Janine Diehl-Schmidt, Zentrum für Kognitive Störungen (ZKS), Clinic and Polyclinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, TUM University Hospital “Rechts der Isar”
Prof. Alexander Kurz, Zentrum für Kognitive Störungen (ZKS), Clinic and Polyclinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, TUM University Hospital “Rechts der Isar”
Prof. Hans Förstl, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, TUM University Hospital “Rechts der Isar”