WeCareAdvisor: A Web-Based Tool to Improve Quality of Life for Military Veterans With Dementia and Their Caregivers

Overview

This research will test the WeCareAdvisor tool for family caregivers of military veterans with dementia to help caregivers assess, manage and track behavioral symptoms and their contributing factors (e.g., pain, sleep disturbance), and that provides tailored strategies for in-home, medication-free behavior management. 60 caregiver-person with dementia dyads will be recruited (30 Treatment Group, 30 Wait-List 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: March 2021

Interventions

  • Behavioral: WeCareAdvisor
    • Tailored, internet-based software intended to assess, manage and track behavioral symptoms and their contributing factors and to instruct dementia caregivers in problem solving approaches (tailored strategies for in-home, medication-free behavior management) to address difficult or disruptive behaviors exhibited by the person with dementia. During the testing period participants will refer to the WeCareAdvisor when behavioral challenges occur.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Active Comparator: WeCareAdvisor
    • immediate use of the WeCareAdvisor tool for a 1 month period
  • Active Comparator: WeCareAdvisor after 1 month
    • after a wait period of 1 month, use of the WeCareAdvisor tool for a 1 month period

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Change in Caregiver Stress
    • Time Frame: Baseline to 2 months
    • As measured by a study specific questionnaire completed by caregivers. Stress is measured on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is equivalent to no stress and 5 is equivalent to extreme stress.
  • Change in Caregiver Confidence in Managing Problematic Behavior
    • Time Frame: Baseline to 2 months
    • As measured by a study specific questionnaire completed by caregivers. Confidence in managing problematic behavior is measured on a scale of 0 to 10, where a score of 0 means not confident and 10 means extremely confident
  • Change in Caregiver Upset
    • Time Frame: Baseline to 2 months
    • As measured by a study specific questionnaire completed by caregivers. Upset is measured on a scale of 0 to 5 where 0 is equivalent to no upset and 5 is equivalent to extreme upset (midpoint is equivalent to fairly upset).

Secondary Measures

  • Change in Caregiver Communication
    • Time Frame: Baseline to 2 months
    • Caregivers rate the frequency of using six forms of negative communication (yelling, threatening, criticizing, withdrawing from patient, using harsh tone and screaming), measured on a scale of 1 to 5 where a score of 1 is never and a score of 5 is always.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

Eligible caregivers must:

  • Be the primary caregiver of a military veteran with dementia for at least 6 months and planning to remain the primary caregiver for the next 2 months
  • Currently living with the person they are caring for (care recipient)
  • Comfortable utilizing technology (e.g. computers, tablets, the internet)
  • Have access to the internet and a computer or tablet device
  • Plans to live in the area for the duration of the study

Care recipients (military veteran living with dementia) must:

  • Exhibit at least one or more behavioral symptoms (any behavior at any frequency)
  • Receiving psychotropic medication or cognitive enhancers will not exclude the care recipient.
  • Have a clinical diagnosis of dementia (any type) per caregiver report.
  • Be a military veteran.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Inability to read, speak or understand English
  • Lack of regular access to a telephone, internet, technology (tablet or computer)
  • Caregiver is unable to use a computer or tablet
  • Person with dementia is not a military veteran

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 21 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Michigan
  • Collaborator
    • United States Department of Defense
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Frederic C. Blow, Professor of Psychiatry – University of Michigan
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Frederic C Blow, PhD, Principal Investigator, University of Michigan
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Barbara Stanislawski, MSW, MPH, 734-232-0323, bstanisl@umich.edu

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