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IIR 14-080 – HSR&D Study

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IIR 14-080
Comparative Effectiveness of Delivery Methods for Caregiver Support and Education
Shahrzad Mavandadi PhD
Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Funding Period: October 2015 - May 2020

Existing interventions for informal caregivers (CGs) of care recipients (CRs) with dementia vary on multiple dimensions (e.g., content, administration time, mode of delivery), and findings indicate that these programs are effective in improving CG and CR outcomes. Our team has developed and evaluated two CG programs that are unique in that they are relatively brief (i.e., 3 months) and rely solely on telephone administration. The original program, the Telehealth Education Program (TEP), provides CG support, psychoeducation, and skills training in a group format. The second program adapted the original TEP to be delivered to individual CGs and includes collaborative care management services. Key components of this CR/CG-centered program include direct collaboration among teams of care managers, primary care providers (PCPs), and CGs. The decision to develop an individually-tailored, collaborative care program was partly in response to the success of collaborative care models with other patient populations and the fact that the majority of individuals with dementia receive their healthcare from their PCPs. Nonetheless, an individually-delivered program lacks the benefits derived from the mutual peer support and feedback provided by group-based interventions. What remains to be determined, therefore, is whether modifying the individually-delivered care management program to deliver TEP in a group format is more effective than the individually-delivered program alone.

The objectives of the project include: a) testing the comparative effectiveness of 2 delivery models (individual care management + individual TEP vs. individual care management + group TEP) of a telephone-based, collaborative dementia care intervention for CGs vs. usual care, b) examining whether the individual or individual + group intervention is more effective/acceptable in spousal vs. adult children CGs, and c) exploring whether the effectiveness of the CG interventions is mediated by changes in the social networks of CGs.

To meet these objectives, we will use a prospective, randomized control group, repeated measures (i.e., baseline, 3, 6, and 12 month follow-up) design. Participants will include 405 CGs (spouses and children 18 years of age and older) of Veterans diagnosed with dementia and receiving routine clinical care at two VA sites. CGs will be recruited for participation if they live with and/or provide 4+ hours of care/day. CGs will be randomly assigned to usual care, the individual intervention, or the individual + group intervention. The main objectives of both interventions are to facilitate resource connection and provide education, psychosocial support, and care management for individuals caring for Veterans with dementia, thereby improving access to and use of non-institutional services, rates of guideline adherent care, and CG/CR outcomes. In both interventions, CGs will receive education, continuous support, skills training, and monitoring of Veterans' medication adherence, symptoms, and service needs. In the usual care arm, participants will be sent general material about VA and community resources for patients with dementia and their CGs, as well as brochures for caregivers. With the exception of that material, individuals will receive UC and will be free to seek medical, psychological, social support, and social services that are available through VAMCs or any other non-VA/community source. CGs will be asked to complete an assessment battery of standardized measures of CR- and CG-characteristics. Veterans' clinical medical records (including cost data) also will be evaluated for screening and clinical data collection purposes. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) will be the primary method used to analyze the nested, longitudinal data.

No findings as of yet.

Approximately 0.5 million Veterans have dementia and approximately 80% of these individuals receive care at home from informal CGs. Patient/CG-centered, integrated care management programs that also include CG education, psychosocial support, and skills training have the capacity to significantly facilitate use of services and to improve outcomes, including quality of life, for Veterans with dementia and their families.


Conference Presentations

  1. Smolcic E, Mavandadi S, Streim JE, Oslin DW. The Association Between Caregiver-Care Recipient Relationship and Caregiver Burden and Depressive Symptoms Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Dementia. Poster session presented at: American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Annual Meeting; 2016 Mar 18; Washington, DC.

DRA: Mental, Cognitive and Behavioral Disorders, Aging, Older Veterans' Health and Care, Health Systems
DRE: Treatment - Comparative Effectiveness
Keywords: Care Coordination, Caregiving, Dementia, Family
MeSH Terms: none