Mobile App Intervention for Informal Dementia Caregivers

Overview

Informal caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) usually experience elevated levels of caregiving burden and potential depression. This project aims to develop and pilot-test a mobile app intervention for informal caregivers of PWD in Singapore. The project will have three phases in total including 1) phase 1 – to develop the app prototype and collect feedback from caregivers via focused group discussions. 2) a pilot RCT with 100 participants in total – 50 will be required to use the app for one month while another 50 will be on a waiting list for one month. and 3) in-depth interviews to seek users' feedback on the app for its future improvements. We hypothesize that the mobile app designed through a user-centered process would lead to high acceptance and high user engagement among local dementia caregivers. The 1-month intervention using the app developed subsequently would lower the reported depressive symptoms among local dementia caregiver. It will also improve their knowledge of dementia, caregiving efficacy, positive coping strategy, perceived positive aspects of caregiver and social support, and their mental well-being; and reduce their caregiving burden, and level of anxiety, compared to the control group.

Full Title of Study: “Design and Pilot-test of an Innovative Mobile-based Intervention to Promote Mental Health of Informal Dementia Caregivers Through User-Centered Design”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Other
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: July 2023

Detailed Description

The prevalence of dementia was found to be 10% among residents aged 60 years and above in Singapore according to the Well-being of the Singapore Elderly study, equivalent to 51,934 older adults. As the population is aging in Singapore, and the fact that the incidence of dementia doubles with every 6.3-year increase in age after 60 years old, this number is going to grow as well, together with an increasing number of their informal caregivers. Informal caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) usually experience elevated levels of caregiving burden from supporting the daily functioning of the PWD as well as issues such as work-family-caregiving conflicts and social isolation. These stressors can lead to potential depression among informal caregivers. The aggregate prevalence of depression was reported to be 34% according to a previous meta-analysis. Due to their heavy involvement in daily caregiving, caregivers usually have difficulties in attending face-to-face interventions. For instance, the average weekly hours spent on caregiving were reported to be 55 hours in our recent study among local informal caregivers. And this situation might be even worse in the current COVID-19 outbreak. To better support them now and in the future, an alternative could be to rely on a mobile-based intervention, as the penetration rate of smartphones among local residents is quite high (aged 15-49: >95%, aged 50-59: 88%, and aged 60 and above: 56%). Several studies have strengthened the evidence that these methods are feasible and acceptable among dementia caregivers. And preliminary evidence also suggested that such interventions were viable and potentially effective in promoting the mental health status among informal dementia caregivers. This study aims to address the following gaps – Firstly, there is a lack of user-centered design in app development as well as rigorously designed studies based on a clear theoretical framework for dementia caregivers. Secondly, none of the existing evidence-based mobile apps for supporting dementia caregivers is Singapore-based. Lastly, a mobile-based intervention developed with culturally relevant knowledge, support, and resources is needed for local dementia caregivers, especially seeing the current Covid-19 outbreak and the new normal in the future. Primary Objective The current study aims to design and develop a mobile-based multi-component intervention (i.e. an app) to promote mental health among informal caregivers of individuals with dementia in Singapore, and pilot-test the effectiveness of the app among a convenience sample of local informal dementia caregivers. Secondary Objective(s) Secondary objectives include 1) seeking users' feedback and identifying areas for future improvements; 2) exploring the potential for future bigger trials; 3) providing a development framework for future similar programs.

Interventions

  • Other: Kampung Care App
    • Please refer to the previous session

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Intervention
    • To use the mobile app developed by the study team for one month. The app has a few key features including a positive reflection journal, online peer support, knowledge sharing, self-assessment, and locally available resources. Participants in the intervention group will be required to complete at least two positive reflection journal entries per week, and will be encouraged to use other features of the app during the one month period.
  • No Intervention: Wait list
    • Participants in this group will be put on a wait-list for one month before they can use the app.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Baseline depressive symptom
    • Time Frame: baseline – before the intervention
    • Centre for Epidemiological Study Scale (0-60), with a higher score indicating a more severe depressive symptom
  • Post-intervention depressive symptom
    • Time Frame: within 2 weeks after the intervention
    • Centre for Epidemiological Study Scale (0-60), with a higher score indicating a more severe depressive symptom

Secondary Measures

  • Baseline knowledge of dementia
    • Time Frame: baseline – before the intervention
    • Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (0-54), with higher score indicating better knowledge on dementia
  • Post intervention knowledge of dementia
    • Time Frame: within 2 weeks after the intervention
    • Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (0-54), with higher score indicating better knowledge on dementia
  • Baseline caregiving self-efficacy
    • Time Frame: baseline – before the intervention
    • Revised Scale for Caregiving Self-efficacy (0-100), with higher score indicating more confidence in caregiving
  • Post intervention caregiving self-efficacy
    • Time Frame: within 2 weeks after the intervention
    • Revised Scale for Caregiving Self-efficacy (0-100), with higher score indicating more confidence in caregiving
  • Baseline coping strategy
    • Time Frame: baseline – before the intervention
    • brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced inventory – it has a total of 14 subscales, for each subscale higher score indicating more frequent usage of that specific coping strategy
  • Post intervention coping strategy
    • Time Frame: within 2 weeks after the intervention
    • brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced inventory – it has a total of 14 subscales, for each subscale higher score indicating more frequent usage of that specific coping strategy
  • Baseline positive aspects of caregiving
    • Time Frame: baseline – before the intervention
    • Positive Aspects of Caregiving Scale (9-45) – with a higher score indicates a more positive caregiving experience
  • Post intervention positive aspects of caregiving
    • Time Frame: within 2 weeks after the intervention
    • Positive Aspects of Caregiving Scale (9-45) – with a higher score indicates a more positive caregiving experience
  • Baseline caregiver burden
    • Time Frame: baseline – before the intervention
    • Zarit burden interview (0-88) – with a higher score indicating higher perceived caregiving burden
  • Post intervention caregiver burden
    • Time Frame: within 2 weeks after the intervention
    • Zarit burden interview (0-88) – with a higher score indicating higher perceived caregiving burden
  • Baseline anxiety level
    • Time Frame: baseline – before the intervention
    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (0-21) – with a higher score indicating higher anxiety level
  • Post intervention anxiety level
    • Time Frame: within 2 weeks after the intervention
    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (0-21) – with a higher score indicating higher anxiety level
  • Baseline mental well-being
    • Time Frame: baseline – before the intervention
    • Short Positive Mental Health instrument (1-6) – with a higher score indicating higher positive mental health
  • Post intervention mental well-being
    • Time Frame: within 2 weeks after the intervention
    • Short Positive Mental Health instrument (1-6) – with a higher score indicating higher positive mental health

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

1. aged 21 or above; 2. Singapore citizen or permanent resident; 3. primary caregiver who is currently taking care of a PWD; 4. scores 4 and above using the 4-item screening version Zarit Burden Interview; 5. has sufficient skills in using mobile apps; 6. able to read, write, and speak in English Exclusion Criteria:

1. Caregivers who are pregnant 2. caregivers with vision and hearing problems

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 21 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
  • Collaborator
    • National Healthcare Group, Singapore
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Yuan Qi, Senior Research Fellow – Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Qi Yuan, PhD, Principal Investigator, Research Division, Institute of Mental Health
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Qi Yuan, PhD, +6563893624, Qi_YUAN@imh.com.sg

References

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Subramaniam M, Chong SA, Vaingankar JA, Abdin E, Chua BY, Chua HC, Eng GK, Heng D, Hia SB, Huang W, Jeyagurunathana A, Kua J, Lee SP, Mahendran R, Magadi H, Malladi S, McCrone P, Pang S, Picco L, Sagayadevan V, Sambasivam R, Seng KH, Seow E, Shafie S, Shahwan S, Tan LL, Yap M, Zhang Y, Ng LL, Prince M. Prevalence of Dementia in People Aged 60 Years and Above: Results from the WiSE Study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;45(4):1127-38. doi: 10.3233/JAD-142769.

Yuan Q, Wang P, Tan TH, Devi F, Poremski D, Magadi H, Goveas R, Ng LL, Chong SA, Subramaniam M. Coping Patterns Among Primary Informal Dementia Caregivers in Singapore and Its Impact on Caregivers-Implications of a Latent Class Analysis. Gerontologist. 2021 Jul 13;61(5):680-692. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnaa080.

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