HARNESSING SCREEN CONTENT FOR THE WELL-BEING OF LONG TERM CARE RESIDENTS: A HUMAN EXPERTISE / ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ENDEAVOUR TO COUNTERACT COVID RELATED SOCIAL ISOLATION
With the confinement imposed by the pandemic, the average exposure to screens in long-term care (LTC) has significantly increased, dramatically reducing social engagement, a key to maintaining well-being in residents. Pilot work from our team shows screens can be harnessed purposefully, by identifying contents that promote engagement with family, caregivers, and persons with dementia (PWD). An intersectoral team of researchers, administrators, healthcare professionals and caregivers will work together, and, if needed, remotely, in developing an innovative, inclusive approach for conducting research within the challenging environment of LTC. A new infrastructure by our team (CFI-COVID program) will support the creation of three innovations that will sustain social engagement, and empower onsite staff to participate in research : (a) a digital and ergonomic platform (Lumière) which will include (a.1) a film clip catalogue, featuring personalized, emotionally relevant screen content to support communication, and increase social engagement, and (a.2) a library of training modules for workers to address communication deficits and behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia; (b) two ecologically valid viewing environments adapted for physical isolation; (c) a data acquisition/analysis infrastructure for coding screen content, and socio-affective responses (ex, physiological-behavioural), enabling the building of predictive models of well-being in LTC. For ethical principles, and research and sustainability reasons, studies on PWD must be carried out within their own living environment. To achieve this, research tools and procedures will be co-constructed by the team to perfectly fit the reality of LTC environments, which includes among others, limited space, and overworked, understaffed caregivers with neither sufficient training nor adapted tools to stimulate engagement in residents. This high-risk endeavour will require developing new methods for bridging epistemological and terminology gaps across sectors (humanities, health, engineering) and disciplines (cinema, communication, geriatrics, AI). The platform will offer access to users of different credentials (ex. healthcare workers and researchers) in separate physical locations, enabling the co-construction of research projects for challenging confinement contexts.The unprecedented methodology developed will drastically change the understanding and appraisal of social isolation in LTC.