Smartphone Technology: Everyday prompts for those with prospective memory difficulties following brain injury
BACKGROUND: Prospective memory difficulties are one of the most common deficits following acquired brain injury. The application of smartphones as a compensatory aid to these difficulties has shown promising results. This study looked to investigate these benefits further. OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to investigate whether receipt of reminder prompts through ones smartphone improved completion of pre-planned tasks, in addition to whether it also had secondary implications for participant’s wellbeing, confidence, independent functioning, and whether it had any impact on caregiver strain levels. METHOD: This study used an ABAB case series design with mild to moderate acquired brain injury. Task completion rates were monitored across four phases (prompts vs. no prompts). Quantitative questionnaires were administered pre, post and at three months follow up to assess coping with memory difficulties. A qualitative questionnaire explored the perceived impact of the smartphone reminders on everyday functioning, in addition to a 3 month follow up measure assessing attrition rates in smartphone use. RESULTS: Visual inspection analysis suggested greater task completion when reminders were provided. The quantitative questionnaires showed increased use of a Smartphone as reminder device post intervention and at follow up. A basic thematic analysis highlighted a perception that the smartphone system increased task completion, confidence in coping with memory demands, supported emotional wellbeing and reduced dependence on others. As a memory aid it was also less stigmatising and promoted dignity. The three month follow up questionnaire highlighted that all participants continued to use their smartphone as a memory aid. CONCLUSIONS: Use of a smartphone as a memory compensation aid may improve completion of pre-set tasks. Secondary benefits may include increased confidence in coping with memory demands, reduced dependence on others for help, and reduced anxiety or frustration around forgetting.