The goal of the study is to see if a group, in-person dementia caregiver education and support program can be successfully done virtually, that is, by using a laptop or tablet connected to the internet. If successful, that would mean that caregivers could attend these groups either from their home or another place of convenience. Participation would include 11 study visits total: a baseline assessment, eight virtual visits for the support group sessions, and two follow-up visits. All study procedures will be done virtually, and participants will not need to leave their homes.
Objective(s): Most patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are cared for by unpaid family members, with no professional caregiver training. Most individuals diagnosed with AD will experience at least one neuropsychiatric symptom (NPS) over the course of the disease. Caregivers often lack the training required to best manage NPS. These challenges can undermine the wellbeing of both caregivers and persons with AD alike, eventually leading to placement outside of the home. The introduction of telemedicine can circumvent many of the barriers to programs intended to assist dementia dyads. This project will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of TeleCARE, including ease of recruitment, caregiver acceptance of the intervention, and retention rates, as well as the preliminary benefits of TeleCARE on the primary outcomes of caregiver distress related to neuropsychiatric symptoms of care-recipients and the reduction in care-recipient neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Research Design: This project will lay the groundwork for an evidence-based, manualized, 8-session group CARE program for the management of NPS with 25 dyads via telehealth technology. We will use a within-subject repeated-measures design to examine the feasibility and acceptability of TeleCARE. In addition to examining feasibility and acceptability, we hypothesize that TeleCARE will result in significant reductions in related caregiver distress due to neuropsychiatric symptoms and reduction of symptoms of the PWD as rated by the caregiver.
Methodology: There will be a total of 11-12 remote study visits: A baseline assessment, which may require one to two visits (depending on the preference of the participant), seven TeleCARE group sessions, a group feedback discussion visit, and two follow-up assessment visits. Participants will be caregivers of PWD. All visits and study session will be conducted remotely .
• Caregiver OR person with dementia
• Caregiver of someone with confirmed, possible or probable dementia
• The person with dementia has at least one neuropsychiatric symptom at the time of enrollment
• The Caregiver provides a minimum of 5 hours a week of direct caregiving Exclusion Criteria:
• Care-recipient has a history of a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia,
• Care- recipient was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease