Dementia Care Comes Home: Patient and Caregiver Assessment via Telemedicine

Gerontologist. 2017 Oct 1;57(5):e85-e93. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw206.


Purpose of the study: We evaluated the feasibility and reliability of commonly used clinical dementia assessments when administered via direct-to-home telemedicine videoconferencing. To date, few studies assessed the suitability of these measures when used in this setting.

Design and methods: Sixty-six participants (33 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their 33 caregivers) consented to assessment with a battery of tests in both the clinic setting and via telemedicine. We administered cognitive, behavior, and mood assessments to persons with mild, moderate, and severe AD both in the clinic setting and via direct-to-home telemedicine videoconferencing; test-retest reliability was assessed. We also explored how three caregiver measures performed when administered via telemedicine. Assessments were administered 2 weeks apart. Participant feedback about their experience was solicited.

Results: Twenty-eight dyads completed the assessments. Reliability was found to be good to excellent in all measures when used with direct-to-home telemedicine. For the most part, participants and clinicians found telemedicine to be a feasible option for assessing cognitive function and caregiver coping.

Implications: Findings indicate that these measures can be used to assess persons with AD, as well as their caregivers, across the telemedicine platform, directly to their homes. Use of this technology can expand access to care to the millions across the United States with AD and their caregivers.

Keywords: Caregiver; Dementia; Telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / nursing
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cognition
  • Dementia / nursing
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oregon
  • Problem Behavior / psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Videoconferencing*