The Portrait system is a useful conversation-starter for care home workers looking to spark a chat with residents.

A simple conversation can make all the difference to a person’s day, especially in care environments. However, many patients suffer from communications difficulties arising from conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, while the demands on the time of staff sometimes prevent them from remembering what makes each patient tick.

Portrait’s software stores important information about each patient, giving staff easy access to details about the resident’s life. This could include names of friends and relatives, notable life events, hobbies, interests and tastes. This information is presented on a touch-screen interface, which can be accessed by clicking on a portrait of the resident in question. It is specifically designed to meet the needs of care staff, allowing them to absorb a range of  information in less than three minutes.

This system enables staff to build a better relationship with the person, rather than just the illness. It has been piloted in a Balhousie Care Group facility, and many other care homes have asked for Portrait to be made available in their buildings. Researchers are also discussing commercialisation with companies delivering dementia-related services.

Contact Us

Gemma Webster (g.webster@lancaster.ac.uk) and Vicki Hanson (vlh@computing.dundee.ac.uk)


The Portrait system has recently been featured in the EPSRC Pioneer publication: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Publications/pioneer/Pioneer11.pdf

See our Portrait article in The Conversation: http://theconversation.com/the-technology-that-remembers-the-past-for-those-who-cant-16140