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Essex Challenge Prize

joereddington-public edited this page Nov 22, 2018 · 6 revisions

From the prize website.

Challenge Dementia is a national search for products, technologies and services that could transform the way people live with Dementia across the UK, helping them to live enjoyable and fulfilling lives for as long as possible.

Led by Essex County Council, Challenge Dementia is part of the Essex Challenge Prize programme which seeks to tackle a range of social problems by uncovering potential solutions, and speeding up their development.

... Ten finalists will each receive £5000 and access to a range of experts convened from across the community, voluntary, public and private sector including PA Consulting and Tech UK.

The winner will get £100,000 to invest in their idea.

eQuality Time has been choosen as one of the finalists.

From the getting started day:

Group shot of dementia finalists

Our idea

Our idea is: use the resources we've developed for The Open Voice Factory (particularly CommuniKate) to create a communication board that helps with word-choice (which causes significant problems in many people with late-stage-dementia). This is very low-tech and that's an advantage - while the population of end-users is suprisingly tech-literate given their reputation, the care staff and cost structure means that low-tech is definately the way to go.

screen shot 2018-07-30 at 16 31 31

Research Justification for idea

(A summary of our main report here)

Bourgeois and Hickey (2009) note that dementia is characterised by lexical retrieval difficulties accompanied by impaired comprehension, predominantly for abstract and complex information. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, the majority of reported therapies for word finding difficulties in dementia focus on communication partner training, however, there has been reported success of using lexical retrieval intervention with people presenting with Alzheimer’s Disease (Beales, Whitworth & Cartwright, 2018). Swan et al. (2018) completed a systematic review of direct and indirect interventions for communication in moderate-severe dementia. The authors found a heterogeneous mix of studies – including those focusing on cognitive stimulation approaches, naming therapy, spaced retrieval training and conversation partner training. Interventions, in general resulted in positive changes to communication and related quality of life measures. However, as only eleven studies met the author’s criteria, more vigorous research needs to be completed before patterns begin to emerge and a definite conclusion can be made.

People with dementia have been listed as a population who would potentially benefit from using AAC (Creer, Enderby, Judge & John, 2016). However, there is not a wide range of literature available detailing the methods of AAC which have been successfully, or unsuccessfully, trialled with this population of service users. Previous reports have centred around low- tech AAC methods such as memory aids (Bourgeois, Dijkstra, Burgio, & Allen-Burge, 2001) or talking mats (Murphy & Tracey, 2013). Mooney, Bedrick, Noethe, Spaulding, and Fried-Oken (2018) reported successful outcomes in lexical retrieval following a trial of a new high tech AAC app, CoChat, with six people who presented with Primary Progressive Aphasia – a form of dementia where language is first and greatly affected. CoChat uses social networks and natural language processing to create a co-constructed external vocabulary as a visual scene display and was found to significantly increase lexical retrieval during activity retell. In addition to this, Fried-Oken et al. (2012) studied the effect of using a personalised external communication aid on the conversational abilities of adults with Alzheimer’s disease. They found that there was a greater use of targeted words when the AAC aid was present, only following a period of modified spaced-retrieval training.




£5,000 - some spending information required.


The pitch for the main prize was given 20th Novemember. Some feedback is expected by email, Prize winner to be revealed on the 27th Novemember. Will update if it is us.

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