Technology intervention to support caregiving for Alzheimer's disease (I-CARE): study protocol for a randomized controlled pilot trial

Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2021 Jan 11;7(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s40814-020-00755-2.


Background: Informal caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) manage a complex spectrum of patient behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Mobile health information technologies have quickly become sources for modern social support and chronic disease management. These technologies can improve our understanding of how to care for patients with ADRD and their informal caregivers. A mobile telehealth intervention could help reduce caregiver burden and BPSD.

Methods: This is a pilot randomized controlled trial of 60 dyads of patients living with ADRD and their caregivers, to test the feasibility and estimate the potential effect of the Brain CareNotes (BCN) mobile telehealth system. Participants will be recruited from two health systems. Participants will be randomly assigned to either the BCN intervention arm or usual care comparator. Data will be collected at baseline, 3- and 6-month follow-up. The primary objectives of this trial are to assess feasibility outcomes: (a) recruitment rate, (b) data completion, (c) BCN usability, (d) BCN acceptance, and (e) BCN use and assessed either on an ongoing basis or at 3- and 6-month post-intervention. A secondary objective was to estimate the intervention's effects on caregiver burden and patient BPSD outcomes at 3 and 6 months, assessed by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory.

Discussion: The study will assess the intervention feasibility and potential effect size of the BCN telehealth system as a potentially scalable and lower-cost solution for addressing the ADRD public health crisis.

Trial registration: Clinical Trials. NCT03119259 . Registered on April 18, 2017.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Brain diseases; Central nervous system diseases; Dementia; Mental disorders; Nervous system diseases; Neurocognitive disorders; Neurodegenerative diseases; Tauopathies.

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