Behind the Scenes of a Technologically Enhanced Intervention for Caregivers of People With Dementia: Protocol for a Feasibility and Acceptability Study

Abigail Gómez-Morales, David Coon, Rodney P. Joseph, Teri Pipe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Alzheimer's disease affects 55 million people worldwide. As the disease progresses, these individuals require a devoted caregiver, often a family member, who provides evolving complex care. Caregivers can experience a variety of ongoing stressors, resulting in reductions in caregiver emotional well-being (and other quality-of-life indicators). Information and communication technologies provide an excellent opportunity to train caregivers remotely and help them to manage these stressors and related distress. Objective: This protocol describes the theoretical rationale, study design, and methods of a new, technologically enhanced psychoeducational skill-building intervention for caregivers of people with dementia that includes a virtual reality component. Methods: Through Alzheimer’s Eyes is a 4-week, single-arm, pre-post test pilot study consisting of 4 sessions of 90 minutes each that are delivered by videoconferencing. These sessions include a weekly virtual reality experience characterizing the journey of an older Latina with Alzheimer's disease from her perspective to help caregivers see through the eyes of a person with dementia. The 4 sessions cover the skill-training topics of communication, managing challenging behaviors and unhelpful thoughts, the importance of self-care, and mindfulness—all of which are key components designed to reduce stress and distress in family caregivers. Individual interviews conducted before and after the intervention gather participant insights into the intervention, evaluate its feasibility and acceptability, and assess its impact on key outcomes. Results: Data collection for the study started in January 2022, and the results are expected to be submitted for publication in the second half of 2023. Twenty caregivers from the United States have completed the workshop to date. Preliminary data gathered from these participants support the intervention’s feasibility and acceptability. Conclusions: Through Alzheimer’s Eyes leverages existing technology combined with psychoeducational skill building to help caregivers manage their stress, regardless of their location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere42655
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • caregivers
  • dementia
  • ICT
  • information and communication technology
  • pilot study
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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