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Technology caregiver intervention for Alzheimer's disease (I-CARE): Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of Brain CareNotes.

Rodriguez MJ, Kercher VM, Jordan EJ, Savoy A, Hill JR, Werner N, Owora A, Castelluccio P, Boustani MA, Holden RJ. Technology caregiver intervention for Alzheimer's disease (I-CARE): Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of Brain CareNotes. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2023 Dec 1; 71(12):3836-3847.

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BACKGROUND: The primary aim of the current pilot study was to examine enrollment rate, data completion, usability, acceptance and use of a mobile telehealth application, Brain CareNotes. A secondary aim was to estimate the application's effect in reducing caregiver burden and behavioral and psychological symptoms related to dementia (BPSD). METHODS: Patient-caregiver dyads (n = 53) were recruited and randomized to intervention and control groups. Assessment of usability, acceptance, BPSD symptoms, and caregiver burden were collected at baseline, 3- and 6-month follow-up. RESULTS: The enrollment rate was acceptable despite pandemic related challenges (53/60 target recruitment sample). Among randomized individuals, there was a retention rate of 85% and data completion was attained for 81.5% of those allocated to usual care and 88.5% of those allocated to Brain CareNotes. Mean caregiver-reported app usability at 6 months was 72.5 (IQR 70.0-90.0) on the System Usability Scale-considered "Good to Excellent"-and user acceptance was reasonable as indicated by 85%-90% of caregivers reporting they would intend to use the app to some degree in the next 6 months, if able. Regarding intervention effect, although differences in outcome measures between the groups were not statistically significant, compared to baseline, we found a reduction of caregiver burden (NPI-Caregiver Distress) of 1.0 at 3 months and 0.7 at 6 months for those in the intervention group. BPSD (NPI Total Score) was also reduced from baseline by 4.0 at 3 months and by 0.5 at 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: Brain CareNotes is a highly scalable, usable and acceptable mobile caregiver intervention. Future studies should focus on testing Brain CareNotes on a larger sample size to examine efficacy of reducing caregiver burden and BPSD.

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