A randomized trial of a web-based platform to help families manage dementia-related behavioral symptoms: The WeCareAdvisor™

Laura N. Gitlin, Helen C. Kales, Katherine Marx, Barbara Stanislawski, Constantine Lyketsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Dementia-related behavioral symptoms are challenging clinical features occurring across etiologies and disease progression. They are associated with increased healthcare utilization, nursing home placement, family upset and burden. Families typically manage behavioral symptoms without requisite knowledge, skills and guidance. We designed WeCareAdvisor™ as an easy-to-use, evidence-informed web-based platform. It provides families knowledge about dementia, daily tips, and a systematic approach to describe behaviors, investigate modifiable contributors, create treatment plans (WeCareAdvisor™ Prescription) consisting of management tips tailored to symptom presentation, and evaluate effectiveness. WeCareAdvisor™ is being tested in a randomized trial to assess acceptability, usability and immediate impact on caregiver confidence managing and upset with behavioral symptoms, and secondarily, frequency of behavioral occurrences. Fifty-seven caregivers will be enrolled from communities and medical clinics at two sites (University of Michigan; Johns Hopkins University). Families reporting behavioral symptoms in a telephone screen are consented and interviewed at home. Following the interview, an envelope is opened by interviewers to reveal group assignment (immediate vs one-month delayed treatment group). Those receiving WeCareAdvisor™ immediately are provided an iPad and instruction in its use; those in the delayed treatment group are informed of next study steps. All caregivers are reassessed at home one month from baseline. The delayed treatment group then receives iPad instructions and are re-interviewed one month thereafter. During treatment phase, participants receive 3 weekly check-in calls to encourage tool use and troubleshoot. Key outcomes include number of times using WeCareAdvisor™ and for which behaviors, self-efficacy and upset managing behavioral symptoms, and frequency of behavioral occurrences. Clinical trial registration #: NCT02420535.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Alzheimer's disease and related disorders
  • dementia care
  • family caregiving
  • neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • nonpharmacological strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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