Evaluation of a digital personal photo intervention for people with dementia in nursing homes

  • Dutch language proficiency required
  • English language proficiency required
  • Amsterdam

Website Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

Organisation for patient care, education and research

The research group Care and Support in Dementia of the Department of Psychiatry Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc is looking for a student/trainee who wants to participate in the research project ‘Seen as a person in the Nursing Home’ into the impact and implementation of a digital photo activity for people with dementia living in nursing homes.

About the project

Becoming known as a person, social contact and meaningful activities are essential for experiencing quality of life. In people with dementia in nursing homes, these needs are often unfulfilled, which can lead to loneliness and behavioral and mood problems. For loved ones who have transferred care to professionals, this is difficult.

The project ‘Seen as a person in the Nursing Home’ investigates the design, impact and implementation of a digital person-centered photo-intervention, which in a playful way aims to strengthen the contact between the person with dementia, next of kin and care professional. During the photo intervention, a caregiver or next of kin talks with the person with dementia about beautiful, artistic photos that match their interests. Prior to the intervention, these interests are asked by the caregiver to the next of kin and, if possible, the person with dementia himself. It is expected that people with (moderate to severe) dementia who regularly participate in this person-oriented social activity will feel more familiar and their well-being will improve; next of kin will accept the person-oriented care in the nursing home better; and caregivers will learn to work in a more person-oriented way and will apply this in the daily care.

The project is a collaboration between Amsterdam UMC location VUmc, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, the care organizations Kennemerhart (Haarlem region), Zonnehuisgroep (Amsterdam/Amstelveen region), and the artist Laurence Aëgerter, who originally developed the photo intervention.

In the first project phase (April-Dec 2020) the digital web app of the photo intervention was developed. User tests were also carried out in order to test whether the webapp + procedure is sufficiently user-friendly and whether the intervention matches the interests and abilities of the person with dementia. In the second phase of the project (Jan 2021-Feb 2023), the impact and implementation of the digital photo intervention will be investigated among people with dementia in nursing homes, their relatives and care professionals who offer the intervention.

For project phase 2 we are looking for one or more enthusiastic students who want to contribute to the research.

For whom and when?

Students Brain & Cognition Sciences, Psychology, Nursing, Communication Science with an interest in elder care can apply from January 2021.

Internship period is flexible between January 2021 – September 2022. Actual planning and implementation takes place in consultation with supervisors.


Tasks of the intern vary from literature orientation regarding the intervention, recruitment of research participants, data collection on background characteristics and outcome measures among participants in the study (people with dementia, relatives, professional care providers), (online) observations of people with dementia during the photo-activity, data collection on userfriendliness and usability of the photo-activity, data processing in Castor and data analysis.

What do we ask?

The students have good communication and writing skills, both in Dutch and English (the researcher on this project is English speaking) and are interested in innovative research into person-centred dementia care using technology to improve the quality of life of people with dementia living in nursing homes. Attendance at the Department of Psychiatry VUmc (Oldenaller 1, Amsterdam) is desired during the internship. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers and students will work as much as possible from their own homes in the coming period and all mutual contacts and contacts with the care institutions and participants in the research will take place ‘online’ until further notice.

What do we offer?

– An interesting practical research project in which you will work under supervision and with which you can contribute to the improvement of dementia care;

– The possibility to gain experience with elderly people with dementia, family carers and professional caregivers and their wishes in relation to personalized care and technology.


The project Seen as a person in the Nursing Home is carried out by the research group Care and Support for Dementia (head Prof. R.M. Dröes) of the Department of Psychiatry, VUmc (Oldenaller 1 Amsterdam) in collaboration with Inholland, the aforementioned care institutions in the Amsterdam region and Haarlem and the artist Laurence Aëgerter.

More information?

For more information, please contact Prof. Rose-Marie Dröes (project leader; rm.droes@amsterdamumc.nl), Josephine Tan (PhD student; j.r.tan@amsterdamumc.nl) or Petra Boersma (petra.boersma@inholland.nl).

To apply for this job email your details to rm.droes@amsterdamumc.nl