Researchers from a hospital in Denmark have conducted research into the positive effects of conducting x-rays and imaging in the homes of people living with dementia. 

Taking people living with dementia out of their homes and into hospitals for imaging can be a confusing and distressing venture. Researchers wanted to find out if conducting these tests with mobile imaging machines in the patients homes could mitigate some of this stress. 

Not only did the study find a marked reduction in stress, but the mobile imaging method also resulted in a dramatic reduction of time. Compared to preparing for the trip, travel times, and the time spent in the hospitals, mobile imaging reduced the time it takes from around five hours to just 25 minutes. 

According to observations and interviews conducted by the researchers with the patients, the positive effect at home imaging had on the moods and mental health of those living with dementia was overwhelming. 

“Overall the behavior and experience of the patients with dementia were positive during the mobile x-ray examinations in nursing homes,” they wrote. 

“This study showed the patients’ home was a recognizable, safe zone and being at home caused less interference with the normal everyday life, which benefited the patients and helped them to stay calm and safe.”

Overall, the researchers found that conducting medical imaging in the home kept the patients calmer and happier, with some even smiling and joking, and being curious about the equipment. With this reduction in confusion and stress, radiographers were able to better communicate with the patients and complete the process quickly and efficiently. 

They also found that in some cases, at home imaging kept both patients and radiographers happier and safer. In some cases, when people became confused and distressed in the unfamiliar environments of hospitals and imaging suites, they could lash out verbally and sometimes physically. By conducting this imaging at home in their familiar, comfortable and safe environment, distress and confusion was kept to a minimum, with some cases experiencing none at all. 

“Knowing that unfamiliar environments can trigger distress and be overwhelming for a patient [living with] with dementia, the findings indicate that mobile x-ray examinations are beneficial for patients living in nursing homes,” the authors concluded.

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