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WeCareAdvisor™

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Background/Objectives:

Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are nearly universal in dementia and associated with multiple negative outcomes. Current real-world management is largely pharmacologic, despite poor risk/benefit. The WeCareAdvisor was designed to enable family caregivers to assess, manage, and track BPSD using nonpharmacologic strategies.

Design:

In-depth qualitative data were collected from family caregivers of people with dementia to inform: (1) style of approach and “look and feel” of the tool, and (2) the types of psychoeducation most needed by caregivers.

Results:

We conducted 4 focus groups and a technology survey (n=26) as well as additional individual semistructured interviews (n=12) with family caregivers. Main themes of the qualitative work included: (1) need to minimize difficulty and training time; (2) importance of “one-stop shopping” for information; and (3) necessity for information to be tailored to the caregiver and person with dementia. This information was then combined with effective existing evidence-based behavioral strategies to create a web-based tailored caregiver-support tool.

Conclusions:

The WeCareAdvisor was designed with input on functionality and content by end-users, family caregivers. The randomized controlled trial of WeCareAdvisor will test whether the tool improves outcomes including caregiver upset and burden and frequency and severity of BPSD.
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Keywords: informal caregivers; neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia; nonpharmacologic approaches

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Department of Veterans Affairs, HSR&D Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR), Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System 2: Department of Community Public Health, School of Nursing, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, School of Medicine, Center for Innovative Care on Aging, Johns Hopkins University 3: Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Department of Veterans Affairs, HSR&D Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR) 4: Center for Innovative Care on Aging, Johns Hopkins University 5: Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan 6: Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 7: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bayview and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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