Effect of the WeCareAdvisor™ on family caregiver outcomes in dementia: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Helen C. Kales, Laura N Gitlin, Barbara Stanislawski, H. Myra Kim, Katherine Marx, Molly Turnwald, Claire Chiang, Constantine G Lyketsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are universal and associated with multiple negative outcomes. This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluated the effect of using the WeCareAdvisor, an innovative web-based tool developed to enable family caregivers to assess, manage, and track BPSD. Methods: This RCT enrolled 57 dementia family caregivers from community and clinical settings in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland. Participants were randomly assigned to immediate use of the WeCareAdvisor tool (WCA, n = 27) or a Waitlist control group (n = 30) that received the tool after a one-month waiting period. Outcomes for the caregiver and the person they were caring for were assessed at baseline (T0) and one-month followup for both the WCA (T1) and Waitlist control (T2) groups. Results: Caregiver mean age was 65.9 ± 14.0 years old. About half (49%) were spouses. Baseline characteristics were comparable between groups except for mean caregiver confidence which was higher in the control group (WCA 35.0 ± 10.0 vs. Waitlist control 39.7 ± 6.9, p = 0.04). There were no significant differences between the WCA and control groups in characteristics of the person with dementia. After their one-month of tool use (T1), WCA caregivers showed significant within group improvement in caregiver distress (- 6.08 ± 6.31 points, t = - 4.82, p < 0.0001) and behavioral frequency (- 3.60 ± 5.05, t = - 3.56, p = 0.002), severity (- 3.24 ± 3.87, t = - 4.19, p = 0.0003) and total behavioral score (- 6.80 ± 10.73, t = - 3.17, p = 004). In the same timeframe, Waitlist control caregivers showed a significant decrease in confidence (- 6.40 ± 10.30, t = - 3.40, p = 0.002). The WCA group showed greater improvement in distress compared to the Waitlist group (T0-T1; t = - 2.49, p = 0.02), which remained significant after adjusting for site and baseline distress. There were no significant between-group differences in caregiver confidence or other secondary outcomes. After their one month of tool use (T2), the Waitlist group also showed significant improvement in caregiver distress (- 3.72 ± 7.53, t = - 2.66, p = 0.013), stress (- 0.41 ± 1.02, t = - 2.19, p = 0.037), confidence (4.38 ± 5.17, t = 4.56, p < 0.0001), burden (- 2.76 ± 7.26, t = - 2.05, p = 0.05), negative communication (- 1.48 ± 2.96, t = - 2.70, p = 0.012) and behavioral frequency (- 1.86 ± 4.58, t = - 2.19, p = 0.037); distress remained significant after adjustment. Conclusions: In this pilot RCT, WCA use resulted in a significant decrease in caregiver distress. Future research will identify whether longer use of WCA can impact other caregiver and behavioral outcomes. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02420535 (Date of registry: 4/20/2015, prior to the start of the clinical trial).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 10 2018

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Caregivers
Dementia
Randomized Controlled Trials
Behavioral Symptoms
Control Groups
Psychology
Social Adjustment
Baltimore
Spouses
Registries
Communication
Clinical Trials

Keywords

  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia
  • Non-pharmacologic strategies, informal caregivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

Effect of the WeCareAdvisor™ on family caregiver outcomes in dementia : A pilot randomized controlled trial. / Kales, Helen C.; Gitlin, Laura N; Stanislawski, Barbara; Myra Kim, H.; Marx, Katherine; Turnwald, Molly; Chiang, Claire; Lyketsos, Constantine G.

In: BMC Geriatrics, Vol. 18, No. 1, 113, 10.05.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Background: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are universal and associated with multiple negative outcomes. This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluated the effect of using the WeCareAdvisor, an innovative web-based tool developed to enable family caregivers to assess, manage, and track BPSD. Methods: This RCT enrolled 57 dementia family caregivers from community and clinical settings in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland. Participants were randomly assigned to immediate use of the WeCareAdvisor tool (WCA, n = 27) or a Waitlist control group (n = 30) that received the tool after a one-month waiting period. Outcomes for the caregiver and the person they were caring for were assessed at baseline (T0) and one-month followup for both the WCA (T1) and Waitlist control (T2) groups. Results: Caregiver mean age was 65.9 ± 14.0 years old. About half (49{\%}) were spouses. Baseline characteristics were comparable between groups except for mean caregiver confidence which was higher in the control group (WCA 35.0 ± 10.0 vs. Waitlist control 39.7 ± 6.9, p = 0.04). There were no significant differences between the WCA and control groups in characteristics of the person with dementia. After their one-month of tool use (T1), WCA caregivers showed significant within group improvement in caregiver distress (- 6.08 ± 6.31 points, t = - 4.82, p < 0.0001) and behavioral frequency (- 3.60 ± 5.05, t = - 3.56, p = 0.002), severity (- 3.24 ± 3.87, t = - 4.19, p = 0.0003) and total behavioral score (- 6.80 ± 10.73, t = - 3.17, p = 004). In the same timeframe, Waitlist control caregivers showed a significant decrease in confidence (- 6.40 ± 10.30, t = - 3.40, p = 0.002). The WCA group showed greater improvement in distress compared to the Waitlist group (T0-T1; t = - 2.49, p = 0.02), which remained significant after adjusting for site and baseline distress. There were no significant between-group differences in caregiver confidence or other secondary outcomes. After their one month of tool use (T2), the Waitlist group also showed significant improvement in caregiver distress (- 3.72 ± 7.53, t = - 2.66, p = 0.013), stress (- 0.41 ± 1.02, t = - 2.19, p = 0.037), confidence (4.38 ± 5.17, t = 4.56, p < 0.0001), burden (- 2.76 ± 7.26, t = - 2.05, p = 0.05), negative communication (- 1.48 ± 2.96, t = - 2.70, p = 0.012) and behavioral frequency (- 1.86 ± 4.58, t = - 2.19, p = 0.037); distress remained significant after adjustment. Conclusions: In this pilot RCT, WCA use resulted in a significant decrease in caregiver distress. Future research will identify whether longer use of WCA can impact other caregiver and behavioral outcomes. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02420535 (Date of registry: 4/20/2015, prior to the start of the clinical trial).",
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T1 - Effect of the WeCareAdvisor™ on family caregiver outcomes in dementia

T2 - A pilot randomized controlled trial

AU - Kales, Helen C.

AU - Gitlin, Laura N

AU - Stanislawski, Barbara

AU - Myra Kim, H.

AU - Marx, Katherine

AU - Turnwald, Molly

AU - Chiang, Claire

AU - Lyketsos, Constantine G

PY - 2018/5/10

Y1 - 2018/5/10

N2 - Background: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are universal and associated with multiple negative outcomes. This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluated the effect of using the WeCareAdvisor, an innovative web-based tool developed to enable family caregivers to assess, manage, and track BPSD. Methods: This RCT enrolled 57 dementia family caregivers from community and clinical settings in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland. Participants were randomly assigned to immediate use of the WeCareAdvisor tool (WCA, n = 27) or a Waitlist control group (n = 30) that received the tool after a one-month waiting period. Outcomes for the caregiver and the person they were caring for were assessed at baseline (T0) and one-month followup for both the WCA (T1) and Waitlist control (T2) groups. Results: Caregiver mean age was 65.9 ± 14.0 years old. About half (49%) were spouses. Baseline characteristics were comparable between groups except for mean caregiver confidence which was higher in the control group (WCA 35.0 ± 10.0 vs. Waitlist control 39.7 ± 6.9, p = 0.04). There were no significant differences between the WCA and control groups in characteristics of the person with dementia. After their one-month of tool use (T1), WCA caregivers showed significant within group improvement in caregiver distress (- 6.08 ± 6.31 points, t = - 4.82, p < 0.0001) and behavioral frequency (- 3.60 ± 5.05, t = - 3.56, p = 0.002), severity (- 3.24 ± 3.87, t = - 4.19, p = 0.0003) and total behavioral score (- 6.80 ± 10.73, t = - 3.17, p = 004). In the same timeframe, Waitlist control caregivers showed a significant decrease in confidence (- 6.40 ± 10.30, t = - 3.40, p = 0.002). The WCA group showed greater improvement in distress compared to the Waitlist group (T0-T1; t = - 2.49, p = 0.02), which remained significant after adjusting for site and baseline distress. There were no significant between-group differences in caregiver confidence or other secondary outcomes. After their one month of tool use (T2), the Waitlist group also showed significant improvement in caregiver distress (- 3.72 ± 7.53, t = - 2.66, p = 0.013), stress (- 0.41 ± 1.02, t = - 2.19, p = 0.037), confidence (4.38 ± 5.17, t = 4.56, p < 0.0001), burden (- 2.76 ± 7.26, t = - 2.05, p = 0.05), negative communication (- 1.48 ± 2.96, t = - 2.70, p = 0.012) and behavioral frequency (- 1.86 ± 4.58, t = - 2.19, p = 0.037); distress remained significant after adjustment. Conclusions: In this pilot RCT, WCA use resulted in a significant decrease in caregiver distress. Future research will identify whether longer use of WCA can impact other caregiver and behavioral outcomes. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02420535 (Date of registry: 4/20/2015, prior to the start of the clinical trial).

AB - Background: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are universal and associated with multiple negative outcomes. This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluated the effect of using the WeCareAdvisor, an innovative web-based tool developed to enable family caregivers to assess, manage, and track BPSD. Methods: This RCT enrolled 57 dementia family caregivers from community and clinical settings in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland. Participants were randomly assigned to immediate use of the WeCareAdvisor tool (WCA, n = 27) or a Waitlist control group (n = 30) that received the tool after a one-month waiting period. Outcomes for the caregiver and the person they were caring for were assessed at baseline (T0) and one-month followup for both the WCA (T1) and Waitlist control (T2) groups. Results: Caregiver mean age was 65.9 ± 14.0 years old. About half (49%) were spouses. Baseline characteristics were comparable between groups except for mean caregiver confidence which was higher in the control group (WCA 35.0 ± 10.0 vs. Waitlist control 39.7 ± 6.9, p = 0.04). There were no significant differences between the WCA and control groups in characteristics of the person with dementia. After their one-month of tool use (T1), WCA caregivers showed significant within group improvement in caregiver distress (- 6.08 ± 6.31 points, t = - 4.82, p < 0.0001) and behavioral frequency (- 3.60 ± 5.05, t = - 3.56, p = 0.002), severity (- 3.24 ± 3.87, t = - 4.19, p = 0.0003) and total behavioral score (- 6.80 ± 10.73, t = - 3.17, p = 004). In the same timeframe, Waitlist control caregivers showed a significant decrease in confidence (- 6.40 ± 10.30, t = - 3.40, p = 0.002). The WCA group showed greater improvement in distress compared to the Waitlist group (T0-T1; t = - 2.49, p = 0.02), which remained significant after adjusting for site and baseline distress. There were no significant between-group differences in caregiver confidence or other secondary outcomes. After their one month of tool use (T2), the Waitlist group also showed significant improvement in caregiver distress (- 3.72 ± 7.53, t = - 2.66, p = 0.013), stress (- 0.41 ± 1.02, t = - 2.19, p = 0.037), confidence (4.38 ± 5.17, t = 4.56, p < 0.0001), burden (- 2.76 ± 7.26, t = - 2.05, p = 0.05), negative communication (- 1.48 ± 2.96, t = - 2.70, p = 0.012) and behavioral frequency (- 1.86 ± 4.58, t = - 2.19, p = 0.037); distress remained significant after adjustment. Conclusions: In this pilot RCT, WCA use resulted in a significant decrease in caregiver distress. Future research will identify whether longer use of WCA can impact other caregiver and behavioral outcomes. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02420535 (Date of registry: 4/20/2015, prior to the start of the clinical trial).

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KW - Non-pharmacologic strategies, informal caregivers

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