PLAN: Dementia Literacy Education and Navigation for Korean Elders With Probable Dementia and Their Caregivers

Overview

Studies have shown that ethnic-racial minority elders are more likely to be neglected from appropriate dementia care in time than the white counterparts. Among minorities group, Korean Americans (KAs) are the 4th largest and one of the most rapidly growing Asian subpopulations and have been characterized as under-resourced and underserved population of dementia care. This research is being done to understand how an education and navigation support program led by trained community health workers (CHWs) helps Korean American elders with probable dementia and the Korean American elders' caregivers. In a 2-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 288 dyads, the investigators' aims are to (1) test the effect of a community-based intervention delivered by trained CHWs for undiagnosed KA elders with probable dementia and the KA elders' caregivers, (2) evaluate the effect of the PLAN on improving caregiver's dementia literacy, self-efficacy in dementia care and service use, social support, depression, and quality of life at 6 months in comparison to usual care, and (3) examine whether the effect of PLAN differs across age, sex, English proficiency and education caregiver subgroups. Exploratory Aim is to test the effect of PLAN on Korean elders with probable dementia and caregiver development of a plan regarding dementia care at 6 months in comparison to usual care.

Aim 1 and Exploratory Aim test the following hypotheses: (1) Korean elders with probable dementia who receive the PLAN will have higher rates of linkage to medical service for dementia than those in the control group (Aim 1) and (2) Korean elders with probable dementia and the KA elders' caregivers who receive the PLAN will have higher rates of having a plan for dementia care than those in the control group (Exploratory Aim). Aim 2 tests the following hypothesis: Caregivers in the PLAN group will have higher dementia literacy, self-efficacy in dementia care and service use, social support, and quality of life, and lower depression than those in the control group.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: July 2025

Interventions

  • Behavioral: PLAN
    • The study intervention, PLAN is a multifaceted intervention led by trained CHW. It consists of two main components: dementia literacy education and phone counseling with navigation assistance through (1) 1-hour visit for dementia literacy education and (2)monthly counseling with navigation assistance
  • Behavioral: Standard of Care
    • The investigators will refer control group participants to participants’ primary physicians for follow-up and provide an Alzheimer’s Association brochure about signs of dementia and dementia treatment, which is publicly available in Korean.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: PLAN (intervention)
    • Group 1 will receive the study intervention during the 6 months of the study, after the first baseline questionnaire. The intervention is as follows: participants will be asked to take part in a one-time, one-hour education in participants’ home or any community location that is most convenient for the participants by a trained community health worker. An educational resource that participants can read at home will be provided at the end of education session. Participants’ community health worker will call the participants monthly to identify barriers to dementia care and help participants and participants’ elder with making an appointment or transportation to the health care facility, when participants request for assistance.
  • Active Comparator: Standard of care (control)
    • Group 2 will receive a signs and treatment of dementia pamphlet by the Alzheimer’s Association and will be referred to the elder’s primary physician.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Number of participants linked to medical service for dementia measured by medical record verification
    • Time Frame: 6 months
    • Linkage to medical service for dementia is defined as having had primary care or specialty care provider evaluation for cognitive impairment.

Secondary Measures

  • Caregiver’s dementia literacy measured by dementia literacy test
    • Time Frame: 6 months
    • Dementia literacy test is a 11-item instrument (true or false). Scoring of the dementia literacy instrument is in such a way that each correct response will be coded as 1 whereas incorrect response will be coded as 0. Total scores can range from 0 to 11 with higher scores indicating higher health literacy.
  • Self-efficacy in dementia care measured by dementia self-efficacy scale
    • Time Frame: 6 months
    • Dementia self-efficacy scale is a 10-item instrument. Scoring of the dementia self-efficacy scale ranges from “not at all certain” coded as 1 to “very certain” coded as 10 for each item. Total scores will range from 10 to 100 with higher scores indicating higher self-efficacy.
  • Social support status as assessed by medical outcomes study scale
    • Time Frame: 6 months
    • The 8-item scale of medical outcomes study scoring ranges from “none of the time” coded as 1 to “all of the time” coded as 5 for each item. Total scores will range from 8 to 40 with higher scores indicating higher social support.
  • Depression status as assessed by Patient Health Questionnaire-9
    • Time Frame: 6 months
    • Patient health questionnaire-9 is a 9-item instrument and scoring ranges from “not at all” coded as 0 to “nearly every day” coded as 3. Total scores will range from 0 to 27 with higher score indicating higher depression.
  • Quality of life (QoL) measured by QoL-dementia caregiver instrument
    • Time Frame: 6 months
    • QoL-dementia caregiver is a 13-item instrument and scoring ranges from “poor” coded as 1 to “excellent” coded as 4 for each item. Total scores will range from 13 to 52 with higher scores indicating higher quality of life.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Patient Inclusion Criteria:

  • Self-identified as first-generation KA
  • Age 65 years or older
  • CDR 1.0+
  • Has a caregiver who lives in the same household or has at least weekly interactions
  • Able to consent or has a proxy available for consent
  • Written consent to participate in the study

Caregiver Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 18 years or older
  • Able to read and speak Korean
  • Lives in the same household with the elder or has at least weekly interactions
  • Written consent to participate in the study and to allow the team to audit medical records for linkage to medical service for dementia

Patient Exclusion Criteria:

  • Previous diagnosis of dementia
  • Major psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia
  • Neurological disorders other than Alzheimer's disease that might affect cognition (e.g., stroke)
  • Use of psychotropic drugs including antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines or cognitive enhancing agents (e.g., memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors)

Caregiver Exclusion Criteria:

  • Plan to move from the area within 6 months
  • Active treatment for a terminal illness or in hospice

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Johns Hopkins University
  • Collaborator
    • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Hae-Ra Han, PhD, RN, Principal Investigator, Johns Hopkins University
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Hae-Ra Han, PhD, RN, 410-614-2669, hhan3@jhu.edu

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