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Technology and telecare

The following resources examine the use of telecare, technology, telematics, robotics, electronic tracking etc. and applications for carers and those they support.

Click on the title of any resource to find out more about the source of the information such as the type of reference, ISBN/ISSN, publication year, keywords. A number of these fields can be used to find further resources i.e. with the same keywords, or by the same author using the links on the right-hand side and within the Key Information box.

You can also click on an author's name in the list below to find further resources by that author, and use the DOI and other links to access the original source material (note: some source materials require subscription or permission to access).
 

Sex and gender differences in technology needs and preferences among informal caregivers of persons with dementia

Background: Dementia is a major public health concern associated with significant caregiver demands and there are technologies available to assist with caregiving. However, there is a paucity of information on caregiver needs and preferences for these technologies, particularly from a sex and gender perspective. To address this gap in research, the objectives of this study are to examine (1) the knowledge of technology, (2) perceived usefulness of technology, (3) feature preferences when installing and using technology and (4) sex and gender influences on technology needs and preferences among family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) across North America. Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted on an existing cross-sectional survey with family caregivers of PWDs. Respondents were recruited through the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Victorian Order of Nurses and Adult Day Programs and other Canadian health care provision institutes. Descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to describe the study sample, uncover differences between male and female caregivers and examine sex and gender influences on caregivers' technology needs and preferences. Results: A total of 381 eligible responses were received over a nine month data collection period. The majority of respondents did not know much about and never used any technologies to assist with caregiving. "Being easy to install", "easy to learn how to use" and "cost" were identified as the most important features when purchasing and setting up technology, while "reliability" was identified as the most important feature when using technology. Most respondents were willing to pay up to $500 to acquire individual technologies. Controlling for other socio-demographic variables, female respondents were more likely to have some or more knowledge about technology for caregiving while male respondents were more willing to pay higher amounts for these technologies compared to their female counterparts. Conclusions: As one of the first studies of its kind, our findings represent a step towards the incorporation of sex and gender considerations such as cost and reliability in technology design and promotion for caregivers. Future efforts are warranted to establish an in-depth understanding of sex and gender influences in relation to other social and environmental factors..

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Emerging Issues of Intelligent Assistive Technology Use Among People With Dementia and Their Caregivers: A U.S. Perspective

The increasing number of older adults with cognitive deficits, including dementia, poses a major challenge for public health in the United States. At the same time, the limited number of informal and professional caregivers available to support this rapidly growing population is of mounting concern. Not only does population aging limit the number of potential caregivers, but extant caregivers often lack skills to provide quality care. The integration of intelligent assistive technologies (IAT), including devices, robotics and sensors in many forms, into eldercare, may offer opportunities to reduce caregiver burden and enhance healthcare services while improving the quality of life among older adults with mild to severe cognitive deficits. However, many caregivers and their care recipients lack access to these technologies. The reasons for this reduced access are multifactorial, including the digital divide, sociocultural factors, and technological literacy. This mini review investigates the emerging use of IAT available to caregivers and older adults with cognitive deficits and explores the challenges in socioeconomic status and technological literacy as well as ethical and legal implications that should be considered in the design and development of IAT for older adults with cognitive deficits. Drawing from existing literature, it will suggest frameworks for design and adoption aimed at increased and equitable access for this vulnerable population. 

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Perceptions About Technologies That Help Community-Dwelling Older Adults Remain at Home: Qualitative Study

BACKGROUND: The population of Europe is aging rapidly. Most community-dwelling older adults (CDOAs) want to remain in their homes, particularly those experiencing functional decline. Politicians and academics repeatedly praise technological instruments for being the preferred solution for helping older adults with deteriorating health to remain at home. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to understand the perceptions of CDOAs and their informal caregivers (ICs) and professional caregivers (PCs) about technologies that can help keep older adults at home. METHODS: This qualitative study used personal interviews, focus groups, and photo-elicitation interviews to better understand the perceptions of a convenience sample of 68 CDOAs, 21 ICs, and 32 PCs. RESULTS: A fraction of CDOAs did not perceive technological instruments to be a very useful means of helping them remain at home. However, the ICs and PCs were more positive. The CDOAs preferred and were more willing to adopt technologies related to their mobility and safety and those that would help slow down their cognitive decline. The ICs preferred technological aids that assist in the activities of daily living as well as safety-related technologies for detecting falls and helping to locate disoriented older adults. The PCs preferred integrated communication and information systems to improve collaboration between all stakeholders, housing equipped with technologies to manage complex care, high-performance ancillary equipment to transfer people with reduced mobility, and surveillance systems to ensure safety at home. CONCLUSIONS: Although our study reports that CDOAs have limited interest in innovative technologies to help them remain at home, their technological skills will undoubtedly improve in the future, as will those of ICs and PCs. Technological tools will play an increasingly important role in home health care. ©Henk Verloo, Thomas Kampel, Nicole Vidal, Filipa Pereira. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 04.06.2020.

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Analysis of the Components of a Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for the prevention of Depression Administered via Conference Call to Nonprofessional Caregivers: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Effective and accessible interventions for indicated prevention of depression are necessary and lacking, especially for informal caregivers. Although telephone-based interventions could increase the accessibility for caregivers, randomized controlled trials are scarce, with no examination of prevention to date. Moreover, the efficacy of specific therapeutic components in preventive cognitive-behavioral programs is unknown. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a telephone-administered psychological preventive intervention in informal caregivers with high depressive symptoms. A total of 219 caregivers were randomized to a cognitive-behavioral conference call intervention (CBCC, n = 69), a behavioral-activation conference call intervention (BACC, n = 70), or a usual care control group (CG, n = 80). Both interventions consisted of five 90-minute group sessions. At the post-intervention, incidence of depression was lower in CBCC and BACC compared to CG (1.5% and 1.4% vs. 8.8%). Relative risk was 0.17 for the CBCC and 0.16 for the BACC, and the number-needed-to-treat was 14 in both groups. Depressive symptoms were significantly lower in BACC and BACC groups compared to CG (d = 1.16 and 1.29), with no significant differences between CBCC and BACC groups. The conference call intervention was effective in preventing depression and the behavioral-activation component (BACC) was comparable to the CBCC intervention.

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The relationship between engagement in online support groups and social isolation among military caregivers: Longitudinal questionnaire study

Background: There is a lack of research on the effectiveness of online peer support groups for reducing social isolation and depressive symptoms among caregivers, and previous research has mixed results. Objective: This study aimed to test whether military caregivers who joined a new online peer support community or engaged with an existing online community experienced decreased perceived social isolation and improved depressive symptoms over 6 months. Methods: We conducted a longitudinal study of 212 military caregivers who had newly joined an online community and those who were members of other military caregiver groups. Multiple indicators of perceived social isolation and depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months. Results: Compared with caregivers in the comparison group, caregivers who joined the new group experienced less perceived social isolation at 3 months (eg, number of caregivers in social network [unstandardized regression coefficients] b=0.49, SE 0.19, 95% CI 0.87 to 0.02), but this effect did not persist at 6 months. Those who engaged more with new or existing groups experienced less perceived social isolation over time (eg, number of caregivers in social network b=0.18, SE 0.06, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.27), and this relationship was mediated by increased interactions with other military caregivers (95% CI 0.0046 to 0.0961). Engagement with an online group was not associated with improvements in depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Online communities might help reduce social isolation when members engage with the group, but more intensive treatment is needed to improve depressive symptoms. 

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Reduced family care burden by using a communication robot: Case report

Here, we report that the use of a baby‐type robot (Smibi; Togo Seisakusyo, Aichi‐gun, Japan) helped improve the healing process and reduce the care burden of an aged woman undergoing home‐visit rehabilitation.

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Carers’ experience of using assistive technology for dementia care at home: a qualitative study

OBJECTIVE: Assistive technology (AT) can help carers (family, friends and neighbours) and people with dementia to stay well and safely at home. There are important gaps in what we know about experience of using AT from the perspective of carers of persons with dementia. This study investigates carers' experience of using AT in supporting and caring for persons with dementia who live at home. DESIGN: Qualitative phenomenological study with semi-structured interviews to achieve data saturation and thematic analysis to identify key themes. SETTING: Community-based within the UK. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-three (14 women, nine men) adult carers of persons with dementia who have used at least one AT device. RESULTS: All participants reported benefiting to varying degrees from using AT. There were five themes and 18 subthemes that highlighted reasons for using AT and use of AT over time. Providing care for a person with dementia, motivation for using AT, changes to roles and routines, carer knowledge and skills for using AT and social, environmental and ethical considerations were the main themes. This study showed that AT can provide reassurance and support for carers of persons with dementia but there are difficulties with acquiring and continued use of AT as dementia progresses. CONCLUSIONS: Carers consider AT as an adjunct to care they provided in caring for a person with dementia. Use of AT should be considered in the personal, social and environmental context of persons with dementia and their carers. Further research and policy interventions are needed to address best use of resources and guidance on data sharing and data protection while using AT.

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COPe-support-a multi-component digital intervention for family carers for people affected by psychosis: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Background Psychosis often causes significant distress and impacts not only in the individuals, but also those close to them. Many relatives and friends ('carers') provide long-term support and need resources to assist them. We have co-produced a digital mental health intervention called COPe-support (Carers fOr People with Psychosis e-support) to provide carers with flexible access to high quality psychoeducation and interactive support from experts and peers. This study evaluates the effectiveness of COPe-support to promote mental wellbeing and caregiving experiences in carers. Methods This study is a single-blind, parallel arm, individually randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing COPe-support, with attention control. Both groups continue to receive usual care. COPe-support provides interactive web-based psychoeducation on psychosis-related issues, wellbeing-promotion and network support through forums. The attention-control is a non-interactive online information resource pack. Carers living in England are eligible if they provide at least weekly support to a family member or close friend affected by psychosis, and use internet communication (including emails) daily. All trial procedures are run online, including collection of outcome measurements which participants will directly input into our secure platform. Following baseline assessment, a web-based randomization system will be used to allocate 360 carers to either arm. Participants have unlimited access to the allocated condition for 40 weeks. Data collection is at three time points (10, 20, and 40 weeks after randomization). Analyses will be conducted by trial statisticians blinded to allocation. The primary outcome is mental wellbeing measured by Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS), at 20 weeks. As well as an intention-to-treat analysis, a complier average causal effect (CACE) analysis will be conducted to estimate the intervention effect in participants who have accessed COPe-support content twice or more. The secondary objectives and analysis will examine other health and caregiving-related outcomes and explore mechanisms. In a process evaluation, we will interview 20% of the intervention arm participants regarding the acceptability of COPe-support. We will explore in detail participants' usage patterns. Discussion The results of this trial will provide valuable information about the effectiveness of COPe-support in promoting wellbeing and caregiving experiences in carers.

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Online interventions geared toward increasing resilience and reducing distress in family caregivers

Purpose of review Family caregivers of patients with cancer often spend a great deal of effort on physically and emotionally demanding work while taking care of patients. However, the majority of caregivers are not properly equipped for their role as caregivers, which may lead to increased distress in both caregivers and patients. Herein, we reviewed the recent literature (last 3 years) examining online interventions that seek to support caregiver resilience and decrease distress. Recent findings Our search identified interventions involving three main themes: informational support, positive activities, and social support. These are mostly in the form of web-based tools and mobile apps targeting both usability and quality of life. Social network services are also considered in this review as a new environment for caregivers to connect with other individuals with lived experience in similar circumstances.SummaryExisting studies on online interventions to support caregivers is still at a formative development stage and pilot tests of feasibility, rather than a substantive body of randomized controlled trials to assess the impact in different user populations, or to determine specific factors that impact caregiver distress level or resilience. More research is needed to further assess the long-term effects of online interventions on caregiver stress and resilience. Also, the role of different types of social network services and new forms of interaction, such as conversational agents, has not yet been fully investigated in caregiver populations. Future research should strive to seek new modes of providing services that may present novel opportunities to enhance caregiver resilience and reduce distress. 

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Care organising technologies and the post-phenomenology of care: An ethnographic case study

Care organising technologies are software applications that are intended primarily for informal carers, to help organise, document and coordinate caring work. These may be purchased privately or provided as part of state support. Take-up to date remains low. Based on empirical case studies of three such technologies and drawing on post-phenomenology and political science, we examined people's experience of caring when caring technologies find a way into their lives. Our findings show how care organising technologies have evolved in a political context that assumes informal support will supplement and sometimes substitute for state support. Technologies were largely designed to foreground the technical and organisational aspects of care such as planning meals, coordinating medication, and allocating and monitoring tasks among carers. For carers, the result was often a flattening of the landscape of care such that the socio-emotional work of caring was rendered invisible and relations between cared-for and caregiver were configured in narrow transactional terms. For a small number of carers, the focus on tasks was out of tune with their (often emotionally charged) experiences of care and led to active rejection of the technology. However, we also found examples of caregivers and the individuals they cared for using technologies adaptively to facilitate and embed existing care relationships. In these examples, the material/technical, socio-emotional and bodily aspects of caring were interwoven with the situated context of close, unique and evolving relationships. We conclude that the design and development of caring technologies would benefit by being informed by a broader orientation of caring as a relational practice. 

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The development of a web-based resource to provide information and psychosocial support to informal cancer carers in hospitals in Vietnam

Objective: Vietnam, like many low/middle income countries, lacks the infrastructure to provide information and psychosocial support to cancer patients and their carers. We undertook a codesign process to develop a web resource to inform and support carers. Methods: Cancer carers and health care professionals' perspectives regarding information and support needs and the content and delivery of web-based supports, were explored via five focus groups (n = 39) and semistructured interviews (n = 4) in Vietnam in 2018. Focus groups and interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis. Resource components were verified at two joint stakeholder workshops attended by 40 participants. Results: The development of a web-based resource was identified as an urgent need. A web-based resource was viewed as a suitable interface to provide support across regions in a sustainable way. The structure of the resource should include peer-led videoed advice, signposting to services and include official endorsement. The potential resource components identified includes (a) cancer causes and consequences; (b) hospital administration, treatment processes, and prices; (c) daily living; (d) emotional and supportive information; (e) skills training; and (f) nutrition and traditional medicine. Conclusion: The development of a web-based resource to deliver information and psychosocial supports to cancer carers and by-proxy patients is an urgent requirement in Vietnam. Next steps will include resource development and testing the resources ability to address the unmet needs of cancer carers and patients. A web-based resource to support cancer carers has the potential for application to other developing countries. 

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Digital Mental Health Tools for Caregivers of Older Adults-A Scoping Review

Aim: Informal caregivers have an important role in bridging the gap between the assistance care recipients need and what can be provided by the health care systems across Europe. The burden of the caregiving role places a significant threat to caregiver health, and the vast majority of caregiver's report stress and emotional strain, depression, and increased rates of chronic diseases. In line with this, strengthening the caregiver's mental health is one of the main goals for optimal caregiving. Caregivers already struggle with the demand of their role while coping with health problems, social, family, and work obligations. The solution for the caregiver's mental health needs to be accessible, low cost, and time-effective. This scoping review investigates digital mental health tools available as a mean of supporting the mental health of caregivers. Method: Databases searched include Summon search box, the Cochrane Library, and PubMed. Three groups of keywords were combined: relating to digital mental health interventions for caregivers, digital mental health interventions and stress in elderly care, and digital mental health interventions and burden in elderly care. Results: Caregivers reported that digital mental health tools have an overall positive role in their health. Coping skills, emotion regulation, skill building, and education are found to be important aspects of digital mental health tools. There was a noted lack of digital mental health apps available specifically for the caregiver of older adults. Furthermore, the digital mental health tools, divided into three categories in this review, focused either on building skills or educating caregivers and assisting with the duties rather than the mental health of the caregiver itself. As repeatedly suggested in the reviewed studies, digital mental health interventions overall contribute to reducing the caregiver burden with a limitation of addressing one aspect of caregiver needs -i.e., specific coping skills or education regarding illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and Dementia. The lack of all-encompassing, data and theory-driven digital mental health tools for addressing and supporting the caregiver's mental health is evident.

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Development of a mobile app for family members of Veterans with PTSD: identifying needs and modifiable factors associated with burden, depression, and anxiety

Family members of Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) face high levels of burden that are poorly addressed by existing mental health services. Widely distributed mobile interventions could play a role in addressing these unmet needs. The purpose of this study was to characterize caregiver burden in those seeking a mobile app for self-management of stress symptoms and to develop a model to guide mobile interventions for family members. Those living with a Veteran with PTSD (n = 212) and interested in using a mobile intervention agreed to participate. The majority reported moderate-to-severe levels of depression (60%) and/or caregiver burden (59%). Relationship quality, communication, and self-efficacy for caregiving were the strongest predictors of negative outcomes (p’s <.001), and qualitative results identified several additional unmet needs (e.g. relationship concerns, safety concerns). This study identifies potential mechanisms by which a mobile app could improve family functioning in the context of PTSD.

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Telepresence robots: Encouraging interactive communication between family carers and people with dementia

Objective: The aim of the study was to explore the feasibility of using telepresence robots to encourage interactive communication in dementia care, from the perspective of family carers. Methods: Qualitative findings from semi-structured interviews with six family carers. Results: Generally, family carers reported a feeling of presence and connectedness when talking to their family member via the telepresence robots. They reported the robots as helping to enhance longer conversations and social connection with their family member. Conclusion: Telepresence may offer potential to encourage social connection, in particular where families are unable to make regular visits to the nursing home.

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Communicative Care in Online Forums: How Burdened Informal Caregivers Seek Mediated Social Support

Health care in aging societies increasingly demands that relatives, partners, or friends provide informal care for loved ones at their end of life. Yet, being an informal caregiver involves significant health threats caused by so-called caregiver burden. To cope with the broad spectrum of challenges, informal caregivers seek social support in the care relationship network emerging around a (future) patient. However, obtaining social support is not limited to offline contexts. Members of online communities also provide experiential knowledge and social support. To explore how informal caregivers seek and provide social support online and how this is interrelated with their care relationship networks, we conducted a qualitative content analysis of 75 threads about advance care planning from German online forums (2003-2017). Our findings show that informal caregivers rely on what we conclusively coined communicative care (i.e., informational and emotional support in burdensome care situations), often in response to impaired offline relationships within care relationship networks.

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Care providers’ and patients’ attitudes toward using electronic-patient reported outcomes to support patients with traumatic brain injury: a qualitative study (PRiORiTy)

Objectives: To (a) identify residual symptoms and deficits resulting from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and impact on patients’ and their families’ quality of life; (b) explore views and experience of care providers, researchers, patients, and carers of using PROMs; and (c) explore their attitudes toward reporting symptoms and impacts on an electronic platform. Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews with people with TBI and their carers; health-care professionals, researchers, and third sector staff members working with people with TBI. Results: Symptoms and long-term impacts of TBI included cognitive problems, difficulties functioning, anxiety, and depression. PROMs were seen as improving knowledge of residual symptoms and their impact post-TBI but not always accurately reflecting patients’ residual problems. Challenges to completing PROMs were cognitive impairment and lack of insight into condition. Perceived advantages of an electronic platform included easy data collection; flexibility; improving workflow; and the ability to send/ receive feedback and reminders easily. Suggested features of an electronic platform included simple layout, lay language, short questions, few items on the screen, and capability to send/receive feedback and additional information. Conclusion: There is a demand for reporting symptoms and their impact electronically, providing the layout is kept simple and feedback from clinicians is provided. 

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Caring4Dementia: A mobile application to train people caring for patients with dementia

Dementia is a term used when the brain functionality reduces in terms of behaviour, memory and thinking clearly for daily activities. In the early stages, memory impairment limits the memory processes in patients with dementia (PwD). In advanced stages, it affects the PwD’s autonomy when performing complex daily activities such as PwD’s interaction and communication with people around them. Dementia is becoming one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. It affects the ability of an individual to reason with and to understand others, which creates difficulties in communication between the family caregivers and PwDs. Thus, there is a need for a platform to help family caregivers to communicate with the PwDs efficiently. One of the helpful tools to work with is a mobile application (app). Mobile apps can be widely available and easy to use for the people caring for PwDs. This paper describes the development of a mobile app for people interacting with PwDs. The app contains different scenarios related to daily activities that are usually performed by PwDs. Each scenario includes a set of options for the users and asks them to choose the option in response to the corresponding daily activity. Having chosen the option, the app provides the user with comments which are already included in the app for each scenario. The comments were developed by the research team in partnership with clinicians having more than 5 years of experience with PwDs. Caring4Dementia app can address the communication problem by providing (1) specific knowledge about the PwD’s condition cognitive performance evaluation, and monitoring, and (2) educating on appropriate behaviour to adopt while facing communication challenges associated with dementia. The theoretical framework of a communication training app introduced in the present paper will direct the future empirical investigations where the effectiveness of the app will be compared to the effectiveness of currently existing methods. 

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Technology and Caregiving: Emerging Interventions and Directions for Research

An array of technology-based interventions has increasingly become available to support family caregivers, primarily focusing on health and well-being, social isolation, financial, and psychological support. More recently the emergence of new technologies such as mobile and cloud, robotics, connected sensors, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, voice, and the evermore ubiquitous tools supported by advanced data analytics, coupled with the integration of multiple technologies through platform solutions, have opened a new era of technology-enabled interventions that can empower and support family caregivers. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for identifying and addressing the challenges that may need to be overcome to effectively apply technology-enabled solutions for family caregivers. The paper identifies a number of challenges that either moderate or mediate the full use of technologies for the benefit of caregivers. The challenges include issues related to equity, inclusion, and access; ethical concerns related to privacy and security; political and regulatory factors affecting interoperability and lack of standards; inclusive/human-centric design and issues; and inherent economic and distribution channel difficulties. The paper concludes with a summary of research questions and issues that form a framework for global research priorities.

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The care capacity goals of family carers and the role of technology in achieving them

Background: As global populations age, governments have come to rely heavily on family carers (FCs) to care for older adults and reduce the demands made of formal health and social care systems. Under increasing pressure, sustainability of FC's unpaid care work has become a pressing issue. Using qualitative data, this paper explores FCs' care-related work goals, and describes how those goals do, or do not, link to technology. Methods: We employed a sequential mixed-method approach using focus groups followed by an online survey about FCs' goals. We held 10 focus groups and recruited 25 FCs through a mix of convenience and snowball sampling strategies. Carer organizations helped us recruit 599 FCs from across Canada to complete an online survey. Participants' responses to an open-ended question in the survey were included in our qualitative analysis. An inductive approach was employed using qualitative thematic content analysis methods to examine and interpret the resulting data. We used NVIVO 12 software for data analysis. Results: We identified two care quality improvement goals of FCs providing care to older adults: enhancing and safeguarding their caregiving capacity. To enhance their capacity to care, FCs sought: 1) foreknowledge about their care recipients' changing condition, and 2) improved navigation of existing support systems. To safeguard their own wellbeing, and so to preserve their capacity to care, FCs sought to develop coping strategies as well as opportunities for mentorship and socialization. Conclusions: We conclude that a paradigm shift is needed to reframe caregiving from a current deficit frame focused on failures and limitations (burden of care) towards a more empowering frame (sustainability and resiliency). The fact that FCs are seeking strategies to enhance and safeguard their capacities to provide care means they are approaching their unpaid care work from the perspective of resilience. Their goals and technology suggestions imply a shift from understanding care as a source of 'burden' towards a more 'resilient' and 'sustainable' model of caregiving. Our case study findings show that technology can assist in fostering this resiliency but that it may well be limited to the role of an intermediary that connects FCs to information, supports and peers. 

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Does Telehealth Delivery of a Dyadic Dementia Care Program Provide a Noninferior Alternative to Face-To-Face Delivery of the Same Program? A Randomized, Controlled Trial

Objective: This study aimed to determine whether delivery of a dyadic intervention using telehealth was noninferior to delivery of the same program using traditional face-to-face delivery through home visits. Design: We conducted a noninferiority randomized controlled trial. Participants: Participants had a diagnosis of dementia, were living in the community, and had an informal caregiver who reported difficulties in managing activities of daily living or behavioral symptoms. Intervention: Participants were randomized to receive either telehealth or home visit delivery of the same intervention program. Measurements: The primary outcome was the Caregiving Mastery Index, secondary outcomes included caregiver's perceptions of change, activities of daily living function, and type and frequency of behavioral symptoms of persons living with dementia. Therapists delivering the intervention recorded the time spent delivering the intervention as well as travel time. Results: Sixty-three dyads were recruited and randomized. Both groups reported improvements for the primary outcome, however, these were not statistically significant. There were no significant differences between groups for the primary outcome (mean difference 0.09 (95% confidence interval −1.26 to 1.45) or the secondary outcomes at 4 months. Both groups reported significant improvements in caregiver's perceptions of change. The amount of time spent delivering the content of the program was similar between groups, however offering the intervention via telehealth significantly reduced travel time (mean 255.9 minutes versus mean 77.2 minutes, p <0.0001). Conclusion: It is feasible to offer dyadic interventions via telehealth and doing so reduces travel time and results in similar benefits for families. 

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Online Self-Management Support for Family Caregivers Dealing With Behavior Changes in Relatives With Dementia (Part 2): Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Online contacts with a health professional have the potential to support family caregivers of people with dementia. OBJECTIVE: The goal of the research was to study the effects of an online self-management support intervention in helping family caregivers deal with behavior changes of a relative with dementia. The intervention-involving among others personal email contacts with a dementia nurse-was compared with online interventions without these email contacts. METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 81 family caregivers of people with dementia who live at home. Participants were randomly assigned to a (1) major self-management support intervention consisting of personal email contacts with a specialist dementia nurse, online videos, and e-bulletins; (2) medium intervention consisting only of online videos and e-bulletins; or (3) minor intervention consisting of only the e-bulletins. The primary outcome was family caregivers' self-efficacy in dealing with behavior changes of the relative with dementia. Secondary outcomes were family caregivers' reports of behavior problems in the people with dementia and the quality of the relationship between the family caregiver and the person with dementia. Measurements were performed at the baseline and at 6 (T1) and 12 weeks (T2) after the baseline. A mixed-model analysis was conducted to compare the outcomes of the 3 intervention arms. RESULTS: Family caregivers participating in the major intervention involving email contacts showed no statistically significant differences in self-efficacy after the intervention compared with the minor intervention involving only e-bulletins (difference -0.02, P=.99). In the adjusted analysis, the medium intervention (involving videos and e-bulletins) showed a negative trend over time (difference -4.21, P=.09) and at T1 (difference -4.71, P=.07) compared with the minor intervention involving only e-bulletins. No statistical differences were found between the intervention arms in terms of the reported behavior problems and the quality of the relationship between the family caregiver and the person with dementia. CONCLUSIONS: The expectation that an online self-management support intervention involving email contacts would lead to positive effects and be more effective than online interventions without personal email contacts was not borne out. One explanation might be related to the fact that not all family caregivers who were assigned to that intervention actually made use of the opportunity for personal email contact. The online videos were also not always viewed. To obtain more definite conclusions, future research involving extra efforts to reach higher use rates is required. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Registry NTR6237; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=6237 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6v0S4fxTC). INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR2-10.2196/resprot.8365. ©Judith G Huis in het Veld, Bernadette M Willemse, Iris FM van Asch, Rob BM Groot Zwaaftink, Paul-Jeroen Verkade, Jos WR Twisk, Renate Verkaik, Marco M Blom, Berno van Meijel, Anneke L Francke. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 25.02.2020.

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Stress in the volunteer caregiver: Human-centric technology can support both caregivers and people with dementia

Background and Objectives: Currently, one in eight people over the age of 65 have dementia, and approximately 75% of caregiving is provided by volunteer family members with little or no training. This study aimed to quantify points of stress for home-based caregivers with the aim of reducing stress for them while concurrently supporting quality of life for the people with dementia whom they cared for. The overreaching purpose was to increase our knowledge of the caregiver stress burden and explore potential technologies and behaviors to ease it. Materials and Methods: We interviewed home-based and professional caregivers regarding causes of emotional and physical stress and methods they used to alleviate it. Results: This study found that: (1) dementia symptoms created a burden of stress for home-based caregivers primarily in the areas of medication management, memory loss, hygiene care and disruptive behaviors; (2) home-based caregivers identified “finding available resources” as the most important source of stress relief; (3) a minority of home-based caregivers possessed a resource network and knew how to find resources but all professional caregivers were able to find resources and support; (4) home-based caregivers combated dementia symptoms with positive distractions and human touch with little use of technology, since it was mostly unknown; and 5) facility-based caregivers were knowledgeable and readily used dementia-based technology. Conclusion: Since professional caregivers have access to technological resources that our home-based caregivers lack, one might logically conclude that we should transfer technology used by professionals to those with dementia. However, great caution needs to be in place before we take that step. Successful technology should address the human experience as home-based caregivers try to use new technologies. Human-centric technology addresses the needs of both people with dementia and the home-based caregiver. 

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Effect of education and telephone counseling on caregiver strain and unmet needs in family caregivers and self-care behaviors in patients with cancer: A randomized clinical trial

Background: Cancer treatment has been increasingly fulfilled on an outpatient basis by family caregivers. The variety and severity of caregivers' responsibilities expose them to physical and mental risks. Investigating the effect of education and telephone counseling on patient and family outcomes requires performing further studies. Aim: This study aimed to determine the effect of education and telephone counseling on caregiver strain and unmet needs in family caregivers and self-care behaviors in cancer patients. Method: The present randomized controlled trial was conducted on 60 caregivers-cancer patients referred to urban health education clinics in northeastern Iran within 2018-2019. A 20-minute face-to-face training session was held for the caregivers of cancer patients, and seven training pamphlets were given to the caregivers. Moreover, the intervention group received four telephone counseling sessions during three courses of chemotherapy. The strain and unmet needs of caregivers were measured by the Zarit Burden Interview and Supportive Care Needs Survey-Partners and Caregivers questionnaires, respectively. The patient self-care was assessed by the Nail Self-care Diary questionnaire. The data were analyzed by SPSS software (version 16) using an independent t-test and paired t-test. Results: The mean values of caregivers' age were 38.9±12.7 and 37.7±8.6 years in the intervention and control groups, respectively. The results of the independent t-test showed no statistically significant difference between the two groups (P=0.42). The results also revealed that the mean scores of caregiver strain and unmet needs decreased following the intervention, and the mean scores of self-care behaviors increased in the intervention group after the intervention (P=0.001). Implications for Practice: Education and telephone counseling can simultaneously help to follow up problems, improve self-care behaviors in cancer patients, alleviate the caregiver strain, and meet the needs of family caregivers. 

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The ResidentialCare Transition Module: A single-blinded randomized controlled evaluation of a telehealth support intervention for family caregivers of persons with dementia living in residential long-term care

Background: Families do not fully disengage from care responsibilities following relatives' admissions to residential long-term (RLTC) care settings such as nursing homes. Caregiver stress, depression, or other key outcomes remain stable or sometimes increase following a relative's RLTC entry. Some interventions have attempted to increase family involvement after institutionalization, but few rigorous studies have demonstrated whether these interventions are effective in helping families navigate the potential emotional and psychological upheaval presented by relatives' transitions to RLTC environments. The Residential Care Transition Module (RCTM) provides six formal sessions of consultation (one-to-one and family sessions) over a 4-month period to family caregivers who have admitted a relative to a RLTC setting. Methods: In this embedded mixed methods randomized controlled evaluation, family members who have admitted a cognitively impaired relative to a RLTC setting are randomly assigned to the RCTM (n = 120) or a usual care control condition (n = 120). Primary outcomes include reductions in family members' primary subjective stress and negative mental health outcomes; secondary role strains; and residential care stress. The mixed methods design will allow for an analysis of intervention action mechanisms by "embedding" qualitative components (up to 30 semi-structured interviews) at the conclusion of the 12-month evaluation. Discussion: This evaluation will fill an important clinical and research gap by evaluating a psychosocial intervention designed for families following RLTC admission that determines whether and how the RCTM can help families better navigate the emotional and psychological challenges of residential care transitions. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02915939, prospectively registered). 

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Potential for Digital Monitoring to Enhance Wellbeing at Home for People with Mild Dementia and Their Family Carers

Digital technologies have the potential to assist people with dementia to monitor day to day activities and mitigate the risks of living independently. This purposive pilot study surveyed participants for frailty, wellbeing, and perceived carer burden using the 3Rings(TM) digital plug. 30 paired participants used the digital device for four months. People with dementia reported a decline in wellbeing and increased frailty. Family carers reported a decline in wellbeing but 18 reported a reduction in burden. The use of digital monitoring by family carers demonstrated a reduction in their perceived burden and the device was acceptable to people with mild dementia living alone.

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eHealth Education: Methods to Enhance Oncology Nurse, Patient, and Caregiver Teaching

BACKGROUND: eHealth can enhance the delivery of clinical cancer care by offering unique education opportunities for oncology nurses, patients, and family caregivers throughout the cancer trajectory. OBJECTIVES: This article reviews eHealth technology that can be applied to oncology education, such as mobile health applications, text messaging, web-based education, and audio- and videoconferencing. METHODS: Case studies provide exemplars of eHealth technologies used for delivering oncology education to nurses, patients, and caregivers. FINDINGS: By using eHealth technologies to obtain and provide education, oncology nurses are well positioned to improve the lives of patients and caregivers.

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Effects of a Telehealth Early Palliative Care Intervention for Family Caregivers of Persons With Advanced Heart Failure: The ENABLE CHF-PC Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance: Family caregivers of persons with advanced heart failure perform numerous daily tasks to assist their relatives and are at high risk for distress and poor quality of life. Objective: To determine the effect of a nurse-led palliative care telehealth intervention (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends Comprehensive Heart Failure for Patients and Caregivers [ENABLE CHF-PC]) on quality of life and mood of family caregivers of persons with New York Heart Association Class III/IV heart failure over 16 weeks. Design, Setting, and Participants: This single-blind randomized clinical trial enrolled caregivers aged 18 years and older who self-identified as an unpaid close friend or family member who knew the patient well and who was involved with their day-to-day medical care. Participants were recruited from outpatient heart failure clinics at a large academic tertiary care medical center and a Veterans Affairs medical center from August 2016 to October 2018. Intervention: Four weekly psychosocial and problem-solving support telephonic sessions lasting between 20 and 60 minutes facilitated by a trained nurse coach plus monthly follow-up for 48 weeks. The usual care group received no additional intervention. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcomes were quality of life (measured using the Bakas Caregiver Outcomes Scale), mood (anxiety and/or depressive symptoms measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), and burden (measured using the Montgomery-Borgatta Caregiver Burden scales) over 16 weeks. Secondary outcomes were global health (measured using the PROMIS Global Health instrument) and positive aspects of caregiving. Results: A total of 158 family caregivers were randomized, 82 to the intervention and 76 to usual care. The mean (SD) age was 57.9 (11.6) years, 135 (85.4%) were female, 82 (51.9%) were African American, and 103 (65.2%) were the patient's spouse or partner. At week 16, the mean (SE) Bakas Caregiver Outcomes Scale score was 66.9 (2.1) in the intervention group and 63.9 (1.7) in the usual care group; over 16 weeks, the mean (SE) Bakas Caregiver Outcomes Scale score improved 0.7 (1.7) points in the intervention group and 1.1 (1.6) points in the usual care group (difference, -0.4; 95% CI, -5.1 to 4.3; Cohen d = -0.03). At week 16, no relevant between-group differences were observed between the intervention and usual care groups for the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety measure (mean [SE] improvement from baseline, 0.3 [0.3] vs 0.4 [0.3]; difference, -0.1 [0.5]; d = -0.02) or depression measure (mean [SE] improvement from baseline, -0.2 [0.4] vs -0.3 [0.3]; difference, 0.1 [0.5]; d = 0.03). No between-group differences were observed in the Montgomery-Borgatta Caregiver Burden scales (d range, -0.18 to 0.0). Differences in secondary outcomes were also not significant (d range, -0.22 to 0.0). Conclusions and Relevance: This 2-site randomized clinical trial of a telehealth intervention for family caregivers of patients with advanced heart failure, more than half of whom were African American and most of whom were not distressed at baseline, did not demonstrate clinically better quality of life, mood, or burden compared with usual care over 16 weeks. Future interventions should target distressed caregivers and assess caregiver effects on patient outcomes. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02505425.

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Perceptions on connecting respite care volunteers and caregivers

The most common requirement for informal caregivers is to experience a respite or temporary break from their caregiving routine. Some initiatives have been undertaken to provide respite care through volunteer providers. We report on a qualitative study carried out in Santiago, Chile, to learn about the willingness of potential volunteers to provide respite care for bedridden older persons, as well as their willingness to use information and communication technologies (ICT) to connect to caregivers in a low-income neighbourhood within their own geographic district. A trustworthy institution that mediates the volunteer–caregiver relationship is considered to be important by potential volunteers. Potential volunteers were found to be willing to use ICT to provide respite care, sharing basic information about themselves. However, they were also aware of the digital skill gap that may exist between them and the caregivers and were distrustful of unknown websites that could connect them to care recipients. 

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Supporting patients and carers affected by pancreatic cancer: A feasibility study of a counselling intervention

Purpose: Patients with pancreatic cancer have extremely high unmet psychological and physical needs. Family carers of these patients have even higher levels of distress than patients. Our purpose was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a counselling intervention in patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and their carers. Methods: We conducted a single-arm feasibility study of the PREPARES (Patients and RElatives affected by PAncreatic cancer: Referral, Education and Support) pilot intervention. Patient and carer participants received up to nine counselling sessions delivered by a trained nurse via telephone and/or telehealth technology. The intervention, informed by self-efficacy theory, involved components to assess and address care needs, and provide feedback to clinicians. Feasibility was measured using participation and retention rates. Participants completed semi-structured interviews at the end of the intervention about acceptability. These were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Twelve people participated: five patients and seven carers (38% and 50% participation rates respectively). Most participants (eight) completed all nine counselling sessions; two chose to receive fewer sessions and two were discontinued requiring more intensive psychiatric support. The intervention was highly acceptable. Participants unanimously preferred the telephone over video-conferencing and to receive counselling separately from their carer/patient. The main perceived benefits were emotional support, the nurse-counsellors’ knowledge, care coordination and personalised care. Suggested improvements included a welcome pack about their nurse-counsellor and that sessions should continue beyond nine sessions if required. Conclusions: The PREPARES intervention was feasible and highly acceptable. This low-cost intervention provided much-needed support to people affected by this devastating disease.

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Increasing preparedness for caregiving and death in family caregivers of patients with severe illness who are cared for at home - study protocol for a web-based intervention

Background Family caregivers of patients with severe illness and in need for a palliative care approach, face numerous challenges and report having insufficient preparedness for the caregiver role as well as a need for information and psychosocial support. Preparing to care for a severely ill family members also means becoming aware of death. Feelings of being prepared are associated with positive aspects and regarded protective against negative health consequences. Methods The study adheres to the SPIRIT-guidelines (Supplementary 1), uses a pre-post design and include a web-based intervention. Inclusion criteria are; being a family caregiver of a patient with severe illness and in need of a palliative care approach. The intervention which aims to increase preparedness for caregiving and death is grounded in theory, research and clinical experience. The topics cover: medical issues, symptoms and symptom relief; communication within the couple, how to spend the time before death, being a caregiver, planning for the moment of death and; considerations of the future. The intervention is presented through videos and informative texts. The website also holds an online peer-support discussion forum. Study aims are to: evaluate feasibility in terms of framework, content, usage and partners' experiences; explore how the use of the website, influences family caregivers' preparedness for caregiving and death; explore how the use of the website influences family caregivers' knowledge about medical issues, their communication with the patient and their considerations of the future; and to investigate how the family caregivers' preparedness for caregiving and death influences their physical and psychological health and quality of life 1 year after the patient's death. Data will be collected through qualitative interviews and a study-specific questionnaire at four time-points. Discussion This project will provide information about whether support via a website has the potential to increase preparedness for caregiving and death and thereby decrease negative health consequences for family caregivers of patients affected by severe illness. It will provide new knowledge about intervention development, delivery, and evaluation in a palliative care context. Identification of factors before death and their association with family caregivers' preparedness and long-term health may change future clinical work.

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Voice‐Controlled Intelligent Personal Assistants to Support Aging in Place

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Many older adults wish to age in place, and voice‐controlled intelligent personal assistants (VIPAs; eg, Amazon Echo and Google Home) potentially could support unmet home needs. No prior studies have researched the real‐world use of VIPAs among older adults. We sought to explore how older adults and caregivers utilize VIPAs. DESIGN/MEASUREMENT: Retrospective review of all verified purchase reviews of the Amazon Echo posted on Amazon.com between January 2015 and January 2018, with filtering for health‐related older adult key words. Open‐ended reviews were qualitatively analyzed to identify relevant themes. RESULTS: On retrieval, there were 73 549 reviews; and with subsequent key word filtering, 125 total reviews were subsequently analyzed. Five major themes were identified: (1) entertainment ("For two very senior citizens...we have really had fun with Echo. She tells us jokes, answers questions, plays music.); (2) companionship ("A senior living alone...I now have Alex to talk to."); (3) home control; (4) reminders ("I needed something that would provide me with information I couldn't remember well, such as the date, day, or my schedule...I highly recommend for anyone with memory challenges"); and (5) emergency communication. Several felt it reduced burdening caregivers. "...You also feel guilt from fear of overburdening your caregivers. Alexa has alleviated much of this." Specifically, caregivers found that: "By making playlists of songs from her youth whoever is providing care, family or professional caregiver, can simply request the right song for the moment in order to sooth, redirect, or distract Mom." Alternatively, negative reviewers felt the VIPA misunderstood them or could not adequately respond to specific health questions. CONCLUSION: VIPAs are a low‐cost artificial intelligence that can support older adults in the home and potentially reduce caregiver burden. This study is the first to explore VIPA use among older adults, and further studies are needed to examine the direct benefits of VIPAs in supporting aging in place.

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Use and impact of virtual reality simulation in dementia care education: A scoping review

Background: Communication and empathy are considered as key competences in the care of persons with dementia. Virtual reality might be an effective intervention to train informal and professional caregivers of persons with dementia in order to improve their communication skills and empathy.; Objectives: The aim of this study was to map the use and impact of virtual reality simulation in dementia care education.; Method: A scoping review was performed. Studies with all types of qualitative or quantitative design published since 2007 in English, French or German were included if a virtual reality intervention was examined in a dementia care education setting (e.g. nursing school, caregiver training). The literature search was conducted in six databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science Core Collection, ERIC, and Inspec), including an additional hand search as well as backward and forward citation tracking of included studies. Charted data was narratively reported by clustering results according to study characteristics and impact of virtual reality.; Results: The review process resulted in the inclusion of six studies published between 2012 and 2017. Two of them are ongoing studies. Three studies had a one group pre-post-test design and in one study a post-test only design was applied. The samples consisted of caregivers of people with dementia as well as students and varied in size between seven and 126. Eight different outcomes were measured, e.g. empathy, competence, and stress. Interventions resulted in improvements of caregivers' and students' empathy and competences among other outcomes.; Conclusions: No studies with controlled design and group comparisons are available yet. There are some indications that virtual reality might be an effective intervention to train caregivers of persons with dementia. Little is known about the use and impact of virtual reality in dementia-related education. Since studies are rare and do not address effectiveness, the findings of this review can substantially contribute to guide further research on this topic.

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A Tablet App Supporting Self-Management for People With Dementia: Explorative Study of Adoption and Use Patterns

Background: Assistive technology (AT) is rapidly emerging within dementia care and support. One area of AT application is support of people with dementia in compensating for cognitive symptoms and thereby promoting their self-management. There is, however, little evidence for the applicability, usability, and effectiveness of AT for people with dementia, and there is a need to identify factors that can promote adoption.; Objective: This study aimed to (1) evaluate the applicability and usability of an app, tailor-made for people with dementia; (2) explore factors affecting adoption; (3) explore the possible influence of caregiver involvement; and (4) contribute to process evaluation of the intervention.; Methods: The ReACT (Rehabilitation in Alzheimer's disease using Cognitive support Technology) app was designed as a holistic solution to support memory and structure in daily living. Persons with dementia had access to a personal user account, and family caregivers were given a parallel login. Written and Web-based materials were provided to support self-applied implementation. A mixed methods design was applied to explore adoption and use patterns, including background and disease-related data, qualitative data from a survey, and log data. Adoption was defined as the use of the app over a period of ≥90 days.; Results: Data from 112 participants and 98 caregivers were included. Shorter time from diagnosis (U=595; P=.046; r=0.19) and caregiver activating the app (P=.02) had a significant impact on the participant adoption status. Logistic regression analysis showed that if caregivers had activated the app, the participant was five times more likely to become an adopter (odds ratio 5.1, 95% CI 1.29-19.99; P=.02). However, the overall predictive power was low, and there was a wide variation in background and disease-related characteristics among adopters. The level of experience and skills in tablet use were not significantly different between adopters and nonadopters. Adopters generally rated the app high on usefulness, satisfaction, and ease of use (rated on the USEdem questionnaire). Their scores were significantly higher compared with nonadopters (U=5.5; P=.02; r=0.64). Analysis of use patterns showed that all functionalities of the app were used among adopters.; Conclusions: For participants who became adopters, the ReACT app and the methods for self-applied implementation were applicable. However, the results were also in accordance with the well-known challenges of nonadoption and nonadherence to digital health interventions. The study provided insight into the importance of timely introduction and caregiver support for adoption of AT among people with dementia. It also underlined the high complexity of personal and contextual factors that influence adoption. These complex factors need to be considered when designing and implementing AT for people with dementia.

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Systematic Review of Technology-Based Interventions Targeting Chronically Ill Adults and Their Caregivers

The purpose of this systematic review is to synthesize the study design features as well as the attributes and outcomes of technology-based health interventions targeting chronically ill adults and their family caregivers. Twenty papers representing 19 studies met the inclusion criteria. Various theoretical foundations or approaches guided the interventions in 11 studies. Interventions either aimed to support patient self-management and improve patient outcomes or enhance shared illness management and improve patient and caregiver outcomes. The interventions included educational, behavioral, and support components and were delivered using various technologies ranging from text messaging to using the Internet. Overall, patients and caregivers expressed improvements in self-management outcomes (or support) and quality of life. Interventions with a dyadic focus reported on interpersonal outcomes, with improvements noted mostly in patients. This review captures an emerging area of science, and findings should be interpreted in light of the methodological limitations of the included studies.

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Online training and support program (iSupport) for informal dementia caregivers: protocol for an intervention study in Portugal

Background: Informal caregivers (IC) of people with dementia (PwD) are at greater risk of developing physical and mental health problems when compared to the general population and to IC of people with other chronic diseases. Internet-based interventions have been explored for their potential to minimize the negative effects of caring, accounting for their ubiquitous nature, convenient delivery, potential scalability and presumed (cost) effectiveness. iSupport is a self-help online program developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide education, skills training and support to IC of PwD. This paper describes the design of an intervention study aimed at determining the effectiveness of a Portuguese culturally adapted version of iSupport on mental health and other well-being outcomes.; Methods: The study follows an experimental parallel between-group design with two arms: access to the five modules and twenty-three lessons of "iSupport" for three months (intervention group); or access to an education-only e-book (comparison group). One hundred and eighty four participants will be recruited by referral from national associations. Inclusion criteria are: being 18 years or older and provide e-consent; being a self-reported non-paid caregiver for at least six months; of a person with a formal diagnosis of dementia; being skilled to use internet; and experience a clinically relevant level of burden (≥ 21 on Zarit Burden Interview) or depression or anxiety symptoms (≥ 8 on Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Data is collected online, resorting to self-administered instruments, at baseline, 3 and 6 months after baseline. The primary outcome is caregiver burden, measured by the Zarit Burden Interview. Symptoms of depression and anxiety, quality of life, positive aspects of caregiving and general self-efficacy are secondary study outcomes. The data analysis will follow an Intention-to-treat (ITT) protocol.; Discussion: This protocol is an important resource for the many organizations in several countries aiming to replicate iSupport. Findings from this intervention study will offer evidence to bolster an informed decision making on scaling up iSupport as a new intervention program with minimal costs aimed at minimizing the psychological distress of IC of PwD in Portugal and elsewhere.; Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04104568. Registered 26 September 2019.;

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Online social support groups for informal caregivers of hospice patients with cancer

Purpose: Social support is an important factor in reducing caregiver burden, however, accessing social support via traditional means is often challenging for family caregivers of hospice patients. Online support groups may offer an effective solution. The present study sought to understand dynamics of online social support among family and other informal (e.g., friends) caregivers of hospice cancer patients in an online social support group. The primary aim of the study was to identify types of online social support and support-seeking behaviors, with a secondary aim to understand informal hospice caregivers’ preferences for social support. Method: Data used in this study were collected as part of a federally funded randomized clinical trial of an informal hospice cancer caregiver support intervention. Findings are based on directed and conventional content analysis of support group members' posts and comments—including text and images—and a sample of caregivers’ exit interviews. Results: Analyses demonstrated that the majority of online support provided by group members was emotional support, followed by companionship support, appraisal support, and informational support. Instrumental support was rarely provided. Support was primarily elicited in an indirect manner through self-disclosure and patient updates, with few overt requests for support. Conclusions: Findings suggest online social support groups can be a valuable resource for informal caregivers who are in need of emotional support and lack the ability to access face-to-face support groups. Clinical implications of this research to healthcare systems regarding the importance of incorporating nurses and other medical professionals as co-facilitators of online support groups are discussed. 

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medAR: An augmented reality application to improve participation in health‐care decisions by family‐based intervention

[...]I would like to revise his statement slightly, to read: ‘We acknowledge that family and significant others can play a significant role in the process of decision making in some patients from non‐Western or Western cultural backgrounds more or less.’ [my emphasis]. [...]we equally know that doctors do not fulfil the obligation of medical information provision from the perspective of Chinese patients. If a couple of users open the phone app medAR at the same time, one can experience AR through scanning the marker in another phone Then in family caregivers of cesarean section maternity, six participators (control group) received symptomatic treatment, normal health care and communication as usual, meanwhile they were compared with five participators (medAR group) who experienced medAR and received the same treatment as control group.

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"It's Like a Cyber-Security Blanket": The Utility of Remote Activity Monitoring in Family Dementia Care

Technologies have emerged that aim to help older persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRDs) remain at home while also supporting their caregiving family members. However, the usefulness of these innovations, particularly in home-based care contexts, remains underexplored. The current study evaluated the acceptability and utility of an in-home remote activity monitoring (RAM) system for 30 family caregivers of persons with ADRD via quantitative survey data collected over a 6-month period and qualitative survey and interview data collected for up to 18 months. A parallel convergent mixed methods design was employed. The integrated qualitative and quantitative data suggested that RAM technology offered ongoing monitoring and provided caregivers with a sense of security. Considerable customization was needed so that RAM was most appropriate for persons with ADRD. The findings have important clinical implications when considering how RAM can supplement, or potentially substitute for, ADRD family care.

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Feasibility of Tele-Prompt: A tablet-based prompted voiding intervention to support informal caregivers of older adults with urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence (UI) is a highly prevalent condition, burdening older adults and their informal caregivers. This study explored the development and feasibility of a 6-week evidence-based, educational/skill building program delivered via tablet-personal computer aimed at developing informal caregiver UI knowledge; and enhancing informal caregiver skill set in prompted voiding and toileting strategies. Caregivers also received individualized weekly coaching sessions from a nurse expert. Feasibility and preliminary efficacy were tested in three caregiver/care-recipient dyads. Recruitment of eligible participants through community-based resources was a challenge to feasibility. Most caregivers found the technology acceptable, but adherence to prompted voiding was inconsistent. All caregivers rated the intervention highly, reported improvements in their care-recipient's urine leakage, found access to a UI expert beneficial, and would recommend it to a friend. The results suggest that the tablet-facilitated intervention was feasible and acceptable to informal caregivers and showed promise for improving both caregiver and care recipient outcomes.

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Elements of Social Convoy Theory in Mobile Health for Palliative Care: Scoping Review

Background: Mobile health (mHealth) provides a unique modality for improving access to and awareness of palliative care among patients, families, and caregivers from diverse backgrounds. Some mHealth palliative care apps exist, both commercially available and established by academic researchers. However, the elements of family support and family caregiving tools offered by these early apps is unknown.; Objective: The objective of this scoping review was to use social convoy theory to describe the inclusion and functionality of family, social relationships, and caregivers in palliative care mobile apps.; Methods: Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Review guidelines, a systematic search of palliative care mHealth included (1) research-based mobile apps identified from academic searches published between January 1, 2010, and March 31, 2019 and (2) commercially available apps for app stores in April 2019. Two reviewers independently assessed abstracts, app titles, and descriptions against the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Abstracted data covered app name, research team or developer, palliative care element, target audience, and features for family support and caregiving functionality as defined by social convoy theory.; Results: Overall, 10 articles describing 9 individual research-based apps and 22 commercially available apps were identified. Commercially available apps were most commonly designed for both patients and social convoys, whereas the majority of research apps were designed for patient use only.; Conclusions: Results suggest there is an emerging presence of apps for patients and social convoys receiving palliative care; however, there are many needs for developers and researchers to address in the future. Although palliative care mHealth is a growing field, additional research is needed for apps that embrace a team approach to information sharing, target family- and caregiver-specific issues, promote access to palliative care, and are comprehensive of palliative needs.

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Caring Near and Far by Connecting Community-Based Clients and Family Member/Friend Caregivers Using Passive Remote Monitoring: Protocol for a Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial

Background: Significant chronic disease challenges exist among older adults. However, most older adults want to remain at home even if their health conditions challenge their ability to live independently. Yet publicly funded home care resources are scarce, private home care is expensive, and family/friend caregivers have limited capacity. Many older adults with chronic illness would require institutional care without the support from family member/friend caregivers. This role raises the risk of physical health problems, stress, burnout, and depression. Passive remote monitoring (RM), the use of sensors that do not require any action by the individual for the system to work, may increase the older adult's ability to live independently while also providing support and peace of mind to both the client and the family member/friend caregiver.; Objective: This paper presents the protocol of a study conducted in two provinces in Canada to investigate the impact of RM along with usual home care (the intervention) versus usual home care alone (control) on older adults with complex care. The primary outcome for this study is the occurrence of and time to events such as trips to emergency, short-term admission to the hospital, terminal admission to the hospital awaiting admission to long-term care, and direct admission to long-term care. The secondary outcomes for this study are (1) health care costs, (2) client functional status and quality of life in the home, (3) family/friend caregiver stress, and (4) family/friend caregiver functional health status.; Methods: The design for this study is an unblinded pragmatic randomized controlled trial (PRCT) with two parallel arms in two geographic strata (Ontario and Nova Scotia). Quantitative and qualitative methodologies will be used to address the study objectives. This PRCT is conceptually informed by the principles of client-centered care and viewing the family as the client and aims at providing supported self-management.; Results: This study is supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. A primary completion date is anticipated in fall 2022.; Conclusions: Findings from this real-world rigorous randomized trial will support Canadian decision-makers, providers, and clients and their caregivers in assessing the health, well-being, and economic benefits and the social and technological challenges of integrating RM technologies to support older adults to stay in their home, including evaluating the impact on the burden of care experienced by family/friend caregivers. With an aging population, this technology may reduce institutionalization and promote safe and independent living for the elderly as long as possible.; Trial Registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) 79884651; http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN79884651.; International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/15027.

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Effectiveness of health web-based and mobile app-based interventions designed to improve informal caregiver's well-being and quality of life: A systematic review

Background: Internet-based interventions can help empower caregivers of people with chronic diseases and can develop solutions to decrease the physical and psychological consequences resulting from caregiving. Objective: Analysing the effectiveness of health web-based and/or mobile app-based interventions with regard to the level of well-being and quality of life of informal caregivers in charge of people with chronic diseases. Materials and methods: Systematic review of the following databases: Pubmed, Apa PsycINFO, ProQuest Health & Medical Complete and Scopus. Quality standards established by PRISMA and Joanna Briggs Institute Systematic Review Approach have been followed. The two phases of the selection process were carried out independently and a cross-case comparative analysis by three reviewers. Results: A total of 17 studies met inclusion criteria. The analysis shows that almost all studies involved web-based interventions with the exception of one which concerned a mobile app-based intervention. Most of them prove their effectiveness in the overall well-being of the caregiver and more specifically in the mental dimension, highlighting a decrease in caregivers’ anxiety and/or distress, depression symptoms and sense of competence. Conclusions: The findings support that web-based interventions have an impact mainly on caregivers’ well-being. Nevertheless, other dimensions that are necessary for caregiving, such as physical, mental and social dimension, have been scarcely explored. More studies on mobile app-based interventions are needed to know their effectiveness. 

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Cloud and Internet of Things Technologies for Supporting In-House Informal Caregivers: A Conceptual Architecture

Persons in a situation of dependency, or independent but with deficiencies in their autonomy, have specific needs for a better management of their long-term care. New sensing technologies based on real-time location systems, mobile apps, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) paradigm and cloud systems can be used to collect and process information about their activity and their environment in a continuous and truthful way. In this chapter, we analyse current solutions available to support informal caregivers and propose an innovative framework based on the integration of existing IoT products and services of cloud architectures. From the technological point of view, the system we propose is focused on the integration and combination of technologies for providing support for the informal caregiver in long-term care. The differential factor of these technologies is the customization level according to the specific context of the end-users. The main contribution of the proposed systems relies on the intelligence and the management of recorded events to create complex and reliable alerts, and its ability to configure multiple end-user instances and configurations (e.g.: needs, countries, regions, cultures). These type of systems should be sustainable and efficient, and that is why the inclusion of cloud technologies can grant its flexibility and scalability. 

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An Informal Carer Hub to Support Carers Looking After COPD Patients in the UK and Netherlands

In the UK, about 3 million people live with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Informal carers such as family and friends play a vital role in promoting well-being among older adults suffering from COPD. However, difficulties experienced by caregivers are increasing and affecting their quality of life. New technologies and innovations such as m-health have the potential in reducing the burden of these carers. In this paper, we propose an informal carer hub (ICH), which is part of the WELCOME EU project to help informal carers better manage COPD patients in two European countries: the UK and the Netherlands. The acceptability of the system has been tested by making use of a modified version of the technology acceptance model (TAM 3). The aim of this study was to ensure that the proposed informal carer application is easy to learn, effective to use and acceptable from the informal carers’ perspectives. 

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Using telehealth in motor neuron disease to increase access to specialist multidisciplinary care: a UK-based pilot and feasibility study

Objectives: Care of patients with motor neuron disease (MND) in a specialist, multidisciplinary clinic is associated with improved survival, but access is not universal. We wanted to pilot and establish the feasibility of a definitive trial of a novel telehealth system (Telehealth in Motor neuron disease, TiM) in patients with MND.; Design: An 18-month, single-centre, mixed-methods, randomised, controlled pilot and feasibility study.; Intervention: TiM telehealth plus usual care versus usual care.; Setting: A specialist MND care centre in the UK.; Participants: Patients with MND and their primary informal carers.; Primary and Secondary Outcome Measures: Recruitment, retention and data collection rates, clinical outcomes including participant quality of life and anxiety and depression.; Results: Recruitment achieved the target of 40 patients and 37 carers. Participant characteristics reflected those attending the specialist clinic and included those with severe disability and those with limited experience of technology. Retention and data collection was good. Eighty per cent of patients and 82% of carer participants reported outcome measures were completed at 6 months. Using a longitudinal analysis with repeated measures of quality of life (QoL), a sample size of 131 per arm is recommended in a definitive trial. The methods and intervention were acceptable to participants who were highly motivated to participate to research. The low burden of participation and accessibility of the intervention meant barriers to participation were minimal. However, the study highlighted difficulties assessing the associated costs of the intervention, the challenge of recruitment in such a rare disease and the difficulties of producing rigorous evidence of impact in such a complex intervention.; Conclusion: A definitive trial of TiM is feasible but challenging. The complexity of the intervention and heterogeneity of the patient population means that a randomised controlled trial may not be the best way to evaluate the further development and implementation of the TiM.; Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN26675465.

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Using sensor-based technology for safety and independence - the experiences of people with dementia and their families

Background: The majority of people with dementia prefer to live independently and safely in their own home cared for by their family members. Much effort has been invested in the development of technology, such as sensor-based networks. Many challenges remain, in particular gaining more knowledge about their experiences and perceived benefits. This study aimed to explore experiences, needs and benefits with using sensor-based technology for safety and independence in the homes of people with dementia and their family members.; Methods: This study is part of the TECH@HOME project, aiming to evaluate the effects of sensor-based technology on independence among people with dementia and caregiver stress among their family members. This study applied an inductive, qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews of people with dementia (n = 9) and family members (n = 21). The participants were interviewed between June and September 2018 after using the technology for at least 6 months. The interviews were analysed with manifest content analysis.; Results: Our findings highlighted that technology was considered as a precaution and a safety measure that could provide a sense of having control of the everyday life of the person with dementia. Understanding and acceptance of the technology were as important, together with the reliability of the technology. Ethical dilemmas related to the monitoring of the person with dementia in the home were also raised.; Conclusion: This study provides insights into how people with dementia and family members experience and benefit from using sensor-based technology in their own homes. The knowledge generated is essential for healthcare professionals and policymakers developing and implementing care and service systems including technology, as well as for the industry.

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Typology of Technology-Supported Dementia Care Interventions From an In-Home Telehealth Trial

Identifying the needs of dementia caregivers is critical for supporting dementia home care. This study identified a typology of expert interventions delivered to dementia caregivers during an innovative telehealth trial that used in-home video recordings to directly observe care challenges. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze narrative notes describing interventions that were developed based on video data submitted by 33 caregiver–care recipient dyads. Two major themes emerged: education and skills for dementia care and caregiver support. Ten subthemes included education and skills related to: behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, disease expectations, safety, activities of daily living, medical care optimization, and medication utilization and caregiver support related to: respite, positive reinforcement, social and financial support, and self-care. Families providing in-home dementia care experience a wide range of care challenges. By using video data, dementia care experts were able to witness and evaluate challenging care situations and provide individualized feedback. 

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Telephone-based behavioral activation intervention for dementia family caregivers: Outcomes and mediation effect of a randomized controlled trial

Objectives: The study examined the effects of a telephone-administered psycho-education with behavioral activation intervention (TBA) for family caregivers of person's with Alzheimer's dementia to reduce levels of depressive symptoms and burden and to enhance relationship satisfaction with the care-recipient METHODS: A double-blinded randomized trial compared TBA with telephone-based psycho-education with general monitoring (TGM). Ninety-six dementia caregivers were randomized. Both conditions received four weekly psycho-education sessions led by a social worker. TBA participants then received eight bi-weekly behavioral activation practice sessions delivered by paraprofessionals. TGM participants received eight bi-weekly monitoring sessions by paraprofessionals.; Results: As compared to TGM, TBA participants reported significantly larger reductions in depressive symptoms and burden and larger improvement in relationship satisfaction. Self-efficacy for controlling upsetting thoughts was found to have a partial meditation effect between TBA and the reduction of depressive symptoms. Qualitative feedback suggested that TBA participants expressed unique gains in awareness and developing new ways of reappraising the caregiving situation.; Conclusion: TBA was an effective intervention to reduce depressive symptoms and burden as well as to enhance relationship satisfaction in dementia caregivers.; Practice Implications: The use of telephone and trained paraprofessionals can enhance the accessibility and sustainability of behavioral activation intervention for dementia family caregivers.

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Telemedically augmented palliative care : Empowerment for patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers

Background: Studies have shown that initiating early palliative care of patients with end-stage cancer can improve their quality of life and decrease symptoms of depression. The challenge is to find an effective way to care for these patients while minimizing the burden on healthcare resources. Telemedicine can play a vital role in solving this problem.; Methods: A user-friendly telemedical device enabling patients encountering medical problems to send a direct request to a palliative care team was developed. A controlled feasibility study was conducted by assigning 15 patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers to receive either standard palliative care or telemedically augmented palliative care. Th quality of life (QoL) was assessed using standardized validated questionnaires as well as frequency and duration of hospital admissions and user satisfaction. The primary goal of this study was to increase the QoL of patients and their family caregivers. The secondary goal of this study was to decrease the frequency and duration of hospital admissions.; Results: This study showed a good feasibility despite the low overall willingness to participate in a relatively "technical" trial. The hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) was significantly lower in the intervention group, suggesting an improved quality of life. Although a decrease in the number of hospital admissions could not be shown, the user satisfaction was very good.; Conclusion: Telemedicine could be a useful tool to enhance the general well-being of palliative oncology patients. Now that the feasibility of this approach has been confirmed, larger studies are needed to verify its positive impact on the QoL.

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Supporting Family Caregivers With Technology for Dementia Home Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Background and Objectives: The number of persons living with dementia (PLWD) in the United States will reach 16 million by 2050. Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia challenge family caregivers and contribute to negative caregiver outcomes such as burden and depression. Available technology can support the delivery of effective interventions to families providing dementia care at home. The Supporting Family Caregivers with Technology for Dementia Home Care (FamTechCare) randomized controlled trial evaluated the effects of a telehealth intervention on caregiver outcomes.; Research Design and Methods: The FamTechCare intervention provides tailored dementia-care strategies to in-home caregivers based on video recordings caregivers submit of challenging care situations. An expert team reviews the videos and provides individualized interventions weekly for the experimental group. In the telephone-support attention control group, caregivers receive feedback from an interventionist via the telephone based on caregiver retrospective recall of care challenges. Effects of the intervention on caregiver outcomes, including burden, depression, sleep disturbance, competence, desire to institutionalize the PLWD, and caregiver reaction to behavioral symptoms were evaluated by fitting linear mixed regression models to changes in the outcomes measured at 1 and 3 months.; Results: FamTechCare caregivers (n = 42) had greater reductions in depression (p = .012) and gains in competence (p = .033) after 3 months compared to the attention control group (n = 41). Living in rural areas was associated with a reduction in depression for FamTechCare caregivers (p = .002). Higher level of education was associated with greater improvements or lesser declines in burden, competence, and reaction to behavioral symptoms for both the FamTechCare and attention control caregivers.; Discussion and Implications: This research demonstrated benefits of using available technology to link families to dementia care experts using video-recording technology. It provides a foundation for future research testing telehealth interventions, tailored based on rich contextual data to support families, including those in rural or remote locations.

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Secure Messaging with Physicians by Proxies for Patients with Diabetes: Findings from the ECLIPPSE Study

Background: Little is known about patients who have caregiver proxies communicate with healthcare providers via portal secure messaging (SM). Since proxy portal use is often informal (e.g., sharing patient accounts), novel methods are needed to estimate the prevalence of proxy-authored SMs.; Objective: (1) Develop an algorithm to identify proxy-authored SMs, (2) apply this algorithm to estimate predicted proxy SM (PPSM) prevalence among patients with diabetes, and (3) explore patient characteristics associated with having PPSMs.; Design: Retrospective cohort study.; Participants: We examined 9856 patients from Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE) who sent ≥ 1 English-language SM to their primary care physician between July 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2015.; Main Measures: Using computational linguistics, we developed ProxyID, an algorithm that identifies phrases frequently found in registered proxy SMs. ProxyID was validated against blinded expert categorization of proxy status among an SM sample, then applied to identify PPSM prevalence across patients. We examined patients' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics according to PPSM penetrance, "none" (0%), "low" (≥ 0-50%), and "high" (≥ 50-100%).; Key Results: Only 2.3% of patients had ≥ 1 registered proxy-authored SM. ProxyID demonstrated moderate agreement with expert classification (Κ = 0.58); 45.7% of patients had PPSMs (40.2% low and 5.5% high). Patients with high percent PPSMs were older than those with low percent and no PPSMs (66.5 vs 57.4 vs 56.2 years, p < 0.001) had higher rates of limited English proficiency (16.1% vs 3.2% vs 3.5%, p < 0.05), lower self-reported health literacy (3.83 vs 4.43 vs 4.44, p < 0.001), and more comorbidities (Charlson index 3.78 vs 2.35 vs 2.18, p < 0.001).; Conclusions: Among patients with diabetes, informal proxy SM use is more common than registered use and prevalent among socially and medically vulnerable patients. Future research should explore whether proxy portal use improves patient and/or caregiver outcomes and consider policies that integrate caregivers in portal communication.

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The role of internet-based digital tools in reducing social isolation and addressing support needs among informal caregivers: a scoping review

Background: In Canada, 8.1 million people informally provide care without payment, primarily to family members; 6.1 million of them are employed at a full-time or part-time job. Digital technologies, such as internet-based tools, can provide informal caregivers' access to information and support. This scoping review aimed to explore the role of internet-based digital tools in reducing social isolation and addressing support needs among informal caregivers.; Methods: A systematic search for relevant peer-reviewed literature was conducted of four electronic databases, guided by Arksey and O'Malley's framework. An extensive search for relevant grey literature was also conducted.; Results: The screening process yielded twenty-three papers. The following themes were generated from the reviewed studies: searching for and receiving support; gaining a sense of social inclusion and belonging; and benefits and challenges of web-based support. The studies noted that, to connect with peers and obtain social support, informal caregivers often turn to online platforms. By engaging with peers in online communities, these caregivers reported regaining a sense of social inclusion and belonging.; Conclusions: The findings suggest that internet-based digital tools can be a cost-effective and convenient way to develop programs that help unpaid caregivers form communities, gain support, and access resources. Service providers can leverage digital tools to deliver support to caregivers within online communities.

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Process Evaluation of Nurse-Led Online Self-Management Support for Family Caregivers to Deal With Behavior Changes of a Relative With Dementia (Part 1): Mixed Methods Study

Background: Coping with behavioral changes is a daily challenge for family caregivers in all phases of dementia, and assistance is needed for it. An online self-management support intervention was therefore developed and conducted involving the following elements: (1) email contact with a specialized dementia nurse, (2) online videos, and (3) e-bulletins containing information about behavior changes and how to manage them.; Objective: The aim of this study was to understand (1) family caregivers' actual use of various elements of the online self-management support, (2) family caregivers' evaluation and satisfaction with the various elements, and (3) nurses' usage and evaluations of the online support through the tailored email contacts.; Methods: A mixed methods design was used in this process evaluation, combining quantitative and qualitative methods including analyses of dementia nurses' registration forms, the number of clicks on online videos and e-bulletins, evaluation questions answered by family caregivers in a survey questionnaire, semistructured interviews with family caregivers and nurses, and analysis of the content of the email contacts.; Results: The actual use of various elements of the online self-management support by family caregivers varied: 78% (21/27) of family caregivers had an email contact with the specialist nurse, 80% (43/54) of family caregivers clicked on an online video, and 37% (30/81) clicked on an e-bulletin. Family caregivers showed positive evaluations and satisfaction. The tailor-made approach in the personal email contacts in particular was valued by the family caregivers. Nurses' evaluations about providing self-management support online were mixed as it was a relatively new task for them.; Conclusions: An important insight is that not all participants made optimum use of the various elements of the intervention. Nurses also said that the email contacts were more often used to express feelings about coping with behavioral changes. More research is needed to investigate the reasons why people accept, adopt, and adhere to online interventions to reduce cases where they are not used and to back them up appropriately with tailored (online) information and advice for their personal situations.

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A Pilot Trial of Online Training for Family Well-Being and Veteran Treatment Initiation for PTSD

Introduction: Family members are important supports for veterans with Posttrauamtic Stress Disroder (PTSD), but they often struggle with their own distress and challenges. The Veterans Affairs-Community Reinforcement and Family Training (VA-CRAFT) website was designed to teach family members of veterans with PTSD effective ways to interact with their veterans to encourage initiation of mental health services as well as to care for themselves and improve their relationships. This article presents a pilot investigation of VA-CRAFT.; Materials and Method: Spouse/partners of veterans who had screened positive for PTSD but were not in mental health treatment were randomized to either use the VA-CRAFT website (n = 22) or to a waitlist control condition (n = 19) for 3 months. Veteran mental health service initiation was assessed posttreatment. Spouse/partner distress, caregiver burden, quality of life, and relationship quality were assessed pre and posttreatment. The study was approved by the Minneapolis VA Health Care System Institutional Review Board (IRB).; Results: Differences between groups on veteran treatment initiation were small (Phi = 0.17) and not statistically significant. VA-CRAFT participants reported large and statistically significantly greater decreases in overall caregiver burden (η2 = 0.10) and objective caregiver burden (η2 = 0.14) than control participants. Effects were larger for those with greater initial distress. Effects sizes for other partner outcomes were negligible (η2 = 0.01) to medium (η2 = 0.09) and not statistically significant. Postintervention interviews suggested that only 33% of the VA-CRAFT participants talked with their veterans about starting treatment for PTSD during the trial.; Conclusion: Results from this pilot trial suggest that VA-CRAFT holds initial promise in reducing caregiver burden and as such it could be a useful resource for family members of veterans with PTSD. However, VA-CRAFT does not enhance veteran treatment initiation. It may benefit from enhancements to increase effectiveness and caregiver engagement.

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Patients' perspectives of multidisciplinary home-based e-Health service delivery for motor neurone disease

Purpose: To explore the views of people with motor neurone disease (MND) on the barriers, facilitators and potential benefits of using home-based e-Health service delivery (telehealth) to access MND multidisciplinary clinic care. Methods: Twelve patients from three MND multidisciplinary clinics and an MND support association group completed a survey of information technology (IT) use and participated in interviews, to gather participants' experiences and perceptions of home-based telehealth for MND clinic care. Survey data were analyzed descriptively, with interview data analyzed using a stepwise inductive approach. Results: Surveys revealed that participants used IT to communicate with family and friends, but were less likely to use the phone, email or videoconferencing with health professionals. Two themes of participants' use of IT in MND care reflected their experiences of MND care; and personal preferences for modes of healthcare delivery. Participants were willing to use telehealth for MND care, with family members acting as patients' main support for telehealth participation. Nevertheless, participants preferred face-to-face contact with the MND clinic team in the initial and early stages of the disease. Conclusions: People living with MND may wish to participate in individual care planning to facilitate their access to a variety of e-Health service modalities. Additionally, individual care planning may allow healthcare professionals to deliver e-Health-based care, such as telehealth, to increase the scope of care provided. Research to ascertain the views of health professionals and family members as co-participants in service delivery via telehealth is needed to fully assess the potential contribution of e-Health. People living with MND face a range of barriers to attending specialized multidisciplinary care, including fatigue, caregiver availability and logistical challenges to travel. Patients have indicated willingness to use e-Health applications to improve their access to care. Use of telehealth could expand service delivery to people with MND living long distances from multidisciplinary clinics, and increase the patient-centred focus of care by tailoring care planning. By offering telehealth services routinely, MND multidisciplinary clinics could also improve the quality and timelines of services offered.

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An Online Minimally Guided Intervention to Support Family and Other Unpaid Carers of People With Dementia: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

Background: About three-quarters of people with dementia live in their own homes, with help from family members and/or other unpaid carers, such as friends or neighbors. Often, unpaid carers themselves experience negative consequences, such as stress, burden, and symptoms of depression or anxiety. Research has shown that these consequences can be alleviated by psychosocial and psychological interventions. Moreover, there are indications that those interventions can be effective when offered online.; Objective: This paper describes the protocol of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that will take place in the Netherlands to evaluate the effectiveness of iSupport, a minimally guided, internet-based intervention to improve carers' mental health and coping resources.; Methods: A superiority two-arm RCT comparing the effects of the online support program with a waiting list control condition will be carried out in the Netherlands. The iSupport intervention was developed by the World Health Organization and is based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles. It has five main themes divided into 23 lessons. Carers can pick and choose which lessons they want to complete. We aim to recruit 200 unpaid carers. The experimental group (n=100) will be provided with access to the intervention for 3 months following randomization; those in the waiting list control group (n=100) will be granted access to the intervention after 3 months. Assessments will be conducted at baseline (T0), 3 months after baseline (post intervention, T1), and 6 months after baseline (follow-up, T2). The primary outcome is perceived stress, measured by the Perceived Stress Scale. Secondary outcomes are symptoms of depression and anxiety, caregiver burden, sense of competence, self-efficacy, mastery, and carers' attitudes toward dementia and their person-centered approach (ie, to what extent carers tailor the provided care to the interest, needs, and history of the person with dementia).; Results: Recruitment for the trial started in January 2019. As of July 2019, we have enrolled 120 participants. Data collection is expected to be completed by March 2020. Once all the data have been collected, we will conduct the data analyses between April and May 2020. We aim to publish our results in a manuscript by June 2020.; Conclusions: Online interventions have shown promising results in improving the mental health of carers of people with dementia. Additionally, online interventions may overcome accessibility barriers. If successful, this intervention will have important potential for implementation as a public health intervention, since costs and support by trained staff are minimal.; Trial Registration: Netherlands Trial Register (NTL) NL6417; https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/6417.; International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/14106.; ©Ángel C Pinto-Bruno, Anne Margriet Pot, Annet Kleiboer, Rose-Marie Droes, Annemieke van Straten. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 10.10.2019.

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Needs of people with dementia and their informal caregivers concerning assistive technologies: A scoping review

Background and objective: Assistive technologies might be a suitable option for supporting people with dementia and their informal caregivers. To avoid "one-fits-all"-solutions and to design useful technologies, it is essential to consider the end-users' needs. The objective of this review was to examine the needs of people with dementia and their informal caregivers with regard to assistive technologies. Methods: We conducted a scoping review based on a comprehensive literature search in databases, handsearching, and free web searching. Additionally, we performed citation tracking of included studies. We included all types of study designs. Two researchers independently selected the studies. The results were thematically categorised by two researchers. Results: The search yielded 7160 references. 18 of 24 included studies were qualitative. The studies had been conducted in 13 different countries, mostly in Europe. The sample size ranged between two and 270 participants. Most of the studies involved people with dementia as well as informal caregivers. The analysis resulted in eleven themes. The themes could be assigned to three domains: "needed technologies", "characteristics of needed technologies", and "information about technologies". Conclusions: The results might guide future usage, development and research addressing end users' needs with regard to assistive technologies.

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A Mobile Health App (Roadmap 2.0) for Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant: Qualitative Study on Family Caregivers' Perspectives and Design Considerations

Background: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT), also referred to as blood and marrow transplantation (BMT), is a high-risk, but potentially curative therapy for a number of cancer and noncancer conditions. BMT Roadmap (Roadmap 1.0) is a mobile health app that was developed as a family caregiver-facing tool to provide informational needs about the health status of patients undergoing inpatient HCT.; Objective: This study explored the views and perceptions of family caregivers of patients undergoing HCT and their input regarding further technology development and expansion of BMT Roadmap into the outpatient setting (referred to as Roadmap 2.0).; Methods: Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted among 24 family caregivers. Questions were developed from existing literature coupled with prior in-depth observations and interviews in hospital-based settings to explore the study objectives. Participants were recruited during routine outpatient clinic appointments of HCT patients, and all interviews were conducted in the participants' homes, the setting in which Roadmap 2.0 is intended for use. A thematic analysis was performed using a consistent set of codes derived from our prior research. New emerging codes were also included, and the coding structure was refined with iterative cycles of coding and data collection.; Results: Four major themes emerged through our qualitative analysis: (1) stress related to balancing caregiving duties; (2) learning and adapting to new routines (resilience); (3) balancing one's own needs with the patient's needs (insight); and (4) benefits of caregiving. When caregivers were further probed about their views on engagement with positive activity interventions (ie, pleasant activities that promote positive emotions and well-being such as expressing gratitude or engaging in activities that promote positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), they preferred a "menu" of positive activities to help support caregiver health and well-being.; Conclusions: This study involved family caregivers as participants in the development of new components for Roadmap 2.0. Our research provided a further understanding of the many priorities that hematopoietic stem cell transplant family caregivers face while maintaining balance in their lives. Their schedules can often be unpredictable, even more so once the patient is discharged from the hospital. Our findings suggest that expanding Roadmap 2.0 into the outpatient setting may provide critical caregiver support and that HCT caregivers are interested in and willing to engage in positive activities that may enhance well-being and attenuate the stress associated with caregiving.; International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): RR2-10.2196/resprot.4918

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An Investigation of the Interaction Patterns of Peer Patrons on an Online Peer-Support Portal for Informal Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients

Online peer support portals are an effective way for informal caregivers to obtain support from the comfort of their homes. Having realized a dearth of research focusing on users of healthcare peer-support portals, this study focused on top contributors, termed as 'peer patrons', on one such portal. In order to understand their contribution in helping caregivers cope with their situation and to investigate any unique patterns of interaction, a qualitative thematic analysis was carried out on 1405 openly available comments on an online peer support group for informal caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. The analysis revealed five themes related to content of peer patrons' interaction with other portal members - Advice provider, information source, shoulder to cry on, portal star, and caregiver advocate. An additional theme related to the structure of the responses by peer patrons was also uncovered. In order to explain their contribution to these portals, parallels were drawn between the Stress and Coping model as applied to Dementia caregivers to show that peer patrons may be contributing towards caregivers' coping mechanisms. 

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Informal Caregiver Decision-Making Factors Associated With Technology Adoption and Use in Home Healthcare: A Systematic Scoping Review

Technology systems to alleviate the burden of caregiving are increasing in use. The home is a unique place where chronic disease management is often performed by informal caregivers, yet how caregivers make decisions about adopting a specific technology has not been thoroughly explored. This systematic scoping review mapped evidence on decision-making factors associated with technology adoption and use by caregivers of patients receiving care at home. We followed the recommendations developed by members of the Joanna Briggs Institute. Four electronic databases (PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, and Embase) were searched using both medical subject headings (MeSH terms) and key words. A total of six papers were included for data synthesis. Factors such as information, comprehension, motivation, time, perceived burden, and perceived caregiving competency were found to affect adoption of technology. There are other factors uniquely springing from the patient and technology, as well as shared issues between caregivers and patient, and caregivers and technology. Although some factors depend on technology type and patient diagnosis, there were some common factors across the research. Those factors can be carefully considered in referring technology use for caregivers. More focused study in this underinvestigated area is much needed.

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Implementation and feasibility considerations of an avatar-based intervention for military family caregivers

Objective: Military family caregivers (MFCGs) are a growing population with well-being and quality of life (QOL) challenges. New technologies can help meet their needs while minimizing disruption to caregiving responsibilities. Preliminary research needs to address intervention implementation challenges before larger-scale efficacy studies are conducted. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of implementing an avatar-based intervention and preliminarily investigate outcomes.; Methods: One-hundred twenty-four MFCGs were recruited to participate in this feasibility study. Sixty-four MFCGs completed the intervention. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance to assess 3- and 6-month differences.; Results: Meeting the a priori goal of 50 MFCGs completing the program supported feasibility. Preliminary results indicated significant reductions in depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms, and significant improvements in physical health and overall QOL.; Conclusions: Findings support for the feasibility of implementing an avatar-based intervention for MFCGs and present promising findings related to improving caregiver well-being and overall QOL.

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A feasibility study comparing a web‐based intervention to a workshop intervention for caregivers of adults with eating disorders

Objective: To assess for the validity of a future trial, the current feasibility study aimed to compare the feasibility and efficacy of a web‐ and workshop‐based education intervention for caregivers of adults with eating disorders. Methods: Psychoeducation was provided to caregivers, who were randomly assigned to a web or workshop condition. Independent samples t tests were conducted to analyse the between‐group effect sizes for intervention condition with regard to change over time. A random selection of participants from each intervention provided qualitative feedback about their experiences. Results: Overall, participants reported positive experiences in both education interventions. From baseline to the end of intervention, small between‐group effect sizes were observed for changes in caregiver accommodation, problem‐solving abilities, the quality of psychological health, and the quality of social relationships, favouring the web‐based intervention, and changes in expressed emotion in the family context, caregiver burden, perceived stress, and the quality of the environment, supporting the workshop intervention. Conclusions: There was a difference in initial feasibility of the web intervention. A future large‐scale trial of these interventions is supported by the results of this feasibility study.

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Family carers' perspectives of managing activities of daily living and use of mHealth applications in dementia care: A qualitative study

Aim: To examine the needs, barriers and challenges experienced by family carers of people with dementia concerning the management of their care recipients' functional disabilities, and their experiences and opinions of using mobile health (mHealth) applications in health information seeking.; Background: Functional disability is a significant problem among people with dementia and management can be challenging for family carers. Evidence suggests that mHealth applications can support knowledge needs of patients and families.; Design: A qualitative descriptive exploratory study.; Methodology: In-depth interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of family carers using a semi-structured interview guide. An inductive thematic analysis method was used. The COREQ reporting guideline was followed.; Results: Five spousal and five child carers participated in this study. Four key themes were identified: (a) Challenges faced that contribute to psychological distress and burden; (b) Essential role of support systems in dementia care; (c) Information and educational needs of family carers, and (d) Experiences and attitudes of mHealth applications as an educational and supportive resource.; Conclusion: Providing functional care is demanding, challenging and stressful, and leads to carer burden. The complexity of dementia is a barrier in the organisation of functional care and access to a support network is vital to care provision. The information needs of family carers can potentially be addressed through an mHealth application.; Relevance To Clinical Practice: This study provides important information on family carers' needs, and the barriers and challenges related to functional care for people with dementia. Findings from this study can assist nurses and other health professionals in the planning of educational and supportive programs for family carers. Furthermore, the use of mHealth applications could positively contribute to the delivery of these programs.

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Factors influencing engagement in an online support group for family caregivers of individuals with advanced cancer

Objective: To explore factors that influenced engagement in an online support group (OSG) for family caregivers of hospice patients with cancer. Design: Secondary qualitative data analysis. Sample: 58 family caregivers of hospice patients with advanced cancer. Methods: Template analysis of individual family caregiver interviews. Findings: Emotional isolation and caregiving downtime positively influenced engagement, while reluctance to share personal information, a short timeframe of participation in the OSG, and caregiving commitments were negatively influential. While the group facilitation and secure privacy settings of the OSG were viewed positively, reactions to the OSG platform and group tone were mixed. Information on pain and the dying process was found to be particularly engaging. Practice implications: Providers offering OSGs for family caregivers should maximize factors that promote meaningful member engagement, responding to changes in activity and tone over time.

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Factors associated with willingness to use eRehabilitation after stroke: A cross-sectional study among patients, informal caregivers and healthcare professionals

Objective: Despite the increasing availability of eRehabilitation, its use remains limited. The aim of this study was to assess factors associated with willingness to use eRehabilitation.; Design: Cross-sectional survey.; Subjects: Stroke patients, informal caregivers, health-care professionals.; Methods: The survey included personal characteristics, willingness to use eRehabilitation (yes/no) and barriers/facilitators influencing this willingness (4-point scale). Barriers/facilitators were merged into factors. The association between these factors and willingness to use eRehabilitation was assessed using logistic regression analyses.; Results: Overall, 125 patients, 43 informal caregivers and 105 healthcare professionals participated in the study. Willingness to use eRehabilitation was positively influenced by perceived patient benefits (e.g. reduced travel time, increased motivation, better outcomes), among patients (odds ratio (OR) 2.68; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.34-5.33), informal caregivers (OR 8.98; 95% CI 1.70-47.33) and healthcare professionals (OR 6.25; 95% CI 1.17-10.48). Insufficient knowledge decreased willingness to use eRehabilitation among patients (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.17-0.74). Limitations of the study include low response rates and possible response bias.; Conclusion: Differences were found between patients/informal caregivers and healthcare professionals. However, for both groups, perceived benefits of the use of eRehabilitation facilitated willingness to use eRehabilitation. Further research is needed to determine the benefits of such programs, and inform all users about the potential benefits, and how to use eRehabilitation.

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Personalisation, customisation and bricolage: how people with dementia and their families make assistive technology work for them

Assistive technologies (ATs) are being 'mainstreamed' within dementia care, where they are promoted as enabling people with dementia to age in place alongside delivering greater efficiencies in care. AT provision focuses upon standardised solutions, with little known about how ATs are used by people with dementia and their carers within everyday practice. This paper explores how people with dementia and carers use technologies in order to manage care. Findings are reported from qualitative semi-structured interviews with 13 people with dementia and 26 family carers. Readily available household technologies were used in conjunction with and instead of AT to address diverse needs, replicating AT functions when doing so. Successful technology use was characterised by 'bricolage' or the non-conventional use of tools or methods to address local needs. Carers drove AT use by engaging creatively with both assistive and everyday technologies, however, carers were not routinely supported in their creative engagements with technology by statutory health or social care services, making bricolage a potentially frustrating and wasteful process. Bricolage provides a useful framework to understand how technologies are used in the everyday practice of dementia care, and how technology use can be supported within care. Rather than implementing standardised AT solutions, AT services and AT design in future should focus on how technologies can support more personalised, adaptive forms of care.

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Family carer and professional perceptions of the use of telehealth methodology for behavioural support for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the uk

Introduction: The use of telehealth to provide behavioural services for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) is increasing. However, there are no prospective evaluations of stakeholder perspectives relating to this, which may have implications for uptake of such services. This study aimed to identify factors influencing family carer and professional willingness to use telehealth for behavioural support in the UK. Methods: A Delphi consultation was conducted in four rounds with two panels (professionals and family carers), aiming to reach consensus on the most influential advantages and disadvantages/barriers to participant's willingness to use telehealth. Results: Thirty‐six and 22 items reached consensus as being influential for professionals and family carers respectively. Factors identified by each panel differed, with professionals focusing on the logistics of support whilst family carers highlighted factors relating to the quality of support. A common solution to the barriers identified related to combining in‐person and telehealth methodology. Implications: A range of factors were identified that are influential to professional and family carer willingness to use telehealth for behavioural support. These factors suggest advantages to maximise and barriers to overcome in order to increase uptake of telehealth services in this field.

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Caring for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers: A qualitative study investigating opportunities for exergame innovation

The number of informal caregivers for family members with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is rising dramatically in the United States. AD caregivers disproportionately experience numerous health problems and are often isolated with little support. An active lifestyle can help prevent and mitigate physical and psychological health concerns amongst AD caregivers. Research has demonstrated how pervasive exergames can encourage physical activity (PA) in the general population, yet little work has explored how these tools can address the significant PA barriers that AD caregivers face. To identify opportunities for design, we conducted semi-structured interviews and participatory design sessions with 14 informal caregivers of family members with AD. Our findings characterize how becoming an AD caregiver profoundly impacts one’s ability to be active, perspectives on being active, and the ways that exergames might best support this population. We discuss implications for design and how our findings challenge existing technological approaches to PA promotion. 

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Nurses striving to provide caregiver with excellent support and care at a distance: a qualitative study

BACKGROUND: In Norway, changes in life expectancy have led to increased attention to older people who are ageing at home, by means of home care services, adapted technology and informal caregivers. The caring situation has become difficult for many caregivers. The use of telecare has now offered them the possibility to receive support at home. The purpose of this study was to explore how nurses provide support and care at a distance, using a web camera and a web forum in a closed telecare network for caregivers to persons suffering from stroke and dementia. METHODS: The study had an explorative design with a qualitative approach. The data sources consisted of interviews with nurses and excerpts from posts in a closed telecare network. Content analysis was used to analyse the text from the interviews and the text from the web forum. RESULTS: The main theme, "Balancing asymmetric and symmetric relationships" described nurses' relationship with caregiver. Two categories, "Balancing personal and professional qualities" and "Balancing caregivers' dependence versus independence" were identified. The first describing the tension in their dialogue, the second describing how nurses provided the caregivers with a sense of security as well as strengthening them to master their daily lives. CONCLUSIONS: The nurses provided long distance support and care for the caregivers, by using computer-meditated communication. This communication was characterized by closeness as well as empathy. To strengthen the caregivers' competence and independence, the nurses were easy accessible and provided virtual supervision and support. This study increases the knowledge about online dialogues and relationship between nurses and caregivers. It contributes to knowledge about balancing in the relationship, as well as knowledge about bridging the gap between technologies and nursing care as potential conflicting dimensions. Maintenance of ethical principles are therefore critical to be aware of.

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Incorporating Community Partners, Family Caregiver Participants, an Interprofessional Researcher Team, and a Technology Company to Build and Evaluate an App

Family caregivers are the backbone of most health-care systems; intensively relied upon, yet their needs go mainly ignored. Technology has the potential to reach family caregivers and create accessible solutions to meet their complex needs. Creating a feasible, acceptable, and effective “app” requires the application of innovative qualitative methods. We combined methodologies including “agile methodology” that requires the continuous integration and involvement of the research team, caregiver participants, community partners, and a technology company, in our effort to develop the app. A “design thinking model” identified the first step to understand and empathize with caregivers while learning about the problem. We completed four focus groups with older adults to explore their needs and experiences. We discovered that caregivers have many roles and vary in their use of smartphone technology. They wanted reputable information, opportunities to stay close to their care receiver, and information on how to improve their abilities. We discovered unexpected themes and ideas to guide development of the app. Engaging the app developer and the community partner maintained the integrity of the agile methodology. We incorporated quantitative measures of depression and social support to provide evidence for the effectiveness of the app. The app has the potential to support family caregivers in real time and meet their needs in ways not yet readily available. Qualitative research can change the world. The need to listen, empathize, and understand the experience of the users of our research has never been greater.

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The project ENABLE Cornerstone randomized pilot trial: Protocol for lay navigator-led early palliative care for African-American and rural advanced cancer family caregivers

Background: Patients newly-diagnosed with advanced cancer often rely on family caregivers to provide daily support to manage healthcare needs and maintain quality of life. Early telehealth palliative care has been shown to effectively provide an extra layer of support to family caregivers, however there has been little work with underserved populations, especially African-Americans and rural-dwellers. This is concerning given the lack of palliative care access for these underserved groups. Study design: Single-site, small-scale pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Project ENABLE (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends) Cornerstone, a lay navigator-led, early palliative care coaching intervention for family caregivers of African-American and rural-dwelling patients with newly-diagnosed advanced cancer. Family caregivers are paired with a trained lay navigator overseen by specialist palliative care clinicians and receive a series of brief in-person and telehealth sessions focusing on stress management and coping, caregiving skills and organization, getting help, self-care, and preparing for the future/advance care planning. This pilot trial is assessing acceptability of the intervention, feasibility of recruitment and data collection procedures, and preliminary efficacy compared to usual care on caregiver and patient quality of life and mood over 24 weeks. Conclusion: Once acceptability and feasibility are determined and issues addressed, the ENABLE Cornerstone intervention for underserved family caregivers of persons with advanced cancer will be primed for a fully powered efficacy RCT. Given its use of lay navigators and telehealth delivery, the intervention is potentially highly scalable and capable of overcoming many of the geographic, human resource, and cultural obstacles to accessing early palliative care support.

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Development of a Caregivers' Support Platform (Connected Health Sustaining Home Stay in Dementia): Protocol for a Longitudinal Observational Mixed Methods Study

Background: Dementia disease is a chronic condition that leads a person with dementia (PwD) into a state of progressive deterioration and a greater dependence in performing their activities of daily living (ADL). It is believed nowadays that PwDs and their informal caregivers can have a better life when provided with the appropriate services and support. Connected Health (CH) is a new technology-enabled model of chronic care delivery where the stakeholders are connected through a health portal, ensuring continuity and efficient flow of information. CH has demonstrated promising results regarding supporting informal home care and Aging in Place, and it has been increasingly considered by researchers and health care providers as a method for dementia home care management. Objective: This study aims to describe the development and implementation protocol of a CH platform system to support informal caregivers of PwDs at home. Methods: This is a longitudinal observational mixed methods study where quantitative and qualitative data will be combined for determining the utility of the CH platform for dementia home care. Dyads, consisting of a PwD and their informal caregiver living in the community, will be divided into 2 groups: the intervention group, which will receive the CH technology package at home, and the usual care group, which will not have any CH technology at all. Dyads will be followed up for 12 months during which they will continue with their traditional care plan, but in addition, the intervention group will receive the CH package for their use at home during 6 months (months 3 to 9 of the yearly follow-up). Further comprehensive assessments related to the caregiver's and PwD's emotional and physical well-being will be performed at the initial assessment and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months using international and standardized validated questionnaires and semistructured individual interviews. Results: This 3-year funded study (2016-2019) is currently in its implementation phase and is expected to finish by December 2019. We believe that CH can potentially change the PwD current care model, facilitating a proactive and preventive model, utilizing self-management-based strategies, and enhancing caregivers' involvement in the management of health care at home for PwDs. Conclusions: We foresee that our CH platform will provide knowledge and promote autonomy for the caregivers, which may empower them into greater control of the care for PwDs, and with it, improve the quality of life and well-being for the person they are caring for and for themselves through a physical and cognitive decline predictive model. We also believe that facilitating information sharing between all the PwDs' care stakeholders may enable a stronger relationship between them, facilitate a more coordinated care plan, and increase the feelings of empowerment in the informal caregivers.

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eHealth interventions to support caregivers of people with dementia may be proven effective, but are they implementation-ready?

Objectives: A variety of health services delivered via the Internet, or “eHealth interventions,” to support caregivers of people with dementia have shown evidence of effectiveness, but only a small number are put into practice. This study aimed to investigate whether, how and why their implementation took place. Methods: This qualitative study followed up on the 12 publications included in Boots et al.'s (2014) widely cited systematic review on eHealth interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia, in order to explore further implementation into practice. Publicly available online information, implementation readiness (ImpRess checklist scores), and survey responses were assessed. Findings: Two interventions were freely available online, two were available in a trial context, and one was exclusively available to clinical staff previously involved in the research project. The remaining seven were unavailable. All scores on the ImpRess checklist were at 50% or lower of the total, indicating that the interventions were not ready to implement at the time of the Boots et al. (2014) review, though some interventions were scored as more implementation-ready in subsequent follow-up publications. Responses to the survey were received from six out of twelve authors. Key learnings from the survey included the importance of the involvement of stakeholders at all stages of the process, as well as the flexible adaptation and commercialization of the intervention. Conclusions: In general, low levels of implementation readiness were reported and often the information necessary to assess implementation readiness was unavailable. The only two freely available interventions had long-term funding from aging foundations. Authors pointed to the involvement of financial gatekeepers in the development process and the creation of a business model early on as important facilitators to implementation. Future research should focus on the factors enabling sustainable implementation.

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Older adult caregivers of their spouses with acquired late-life disability: examining the effectiveness of an internet-based meditation program in mitigating stress and promoting wellbeing

This article reports a study examining the impact of an internet-based meditation program in mitigating stress and promoting wellbeing among older adult caregivers of their spouses with acquired late-life disability in Central Europe and South Asia compared to leisure. Posttest (T2) the meditation cohort exhibited lower caregiver burden and psychological distress, improved responses to care challenges, and greater wellbeing compared to the leisure group. South Asians, women, middle class, college educated, whose spouses had locomotor and sensory disabilities and lived as a couple alone, reported lesser caregiving burden, improved responses to care challenges, lesser distress and greater wellbeing at T2. Meditation lessons attended and self-practice mediated the relationship between demographic predictors and outcomes and self-practice had the largest positive impact. Meditation influenced certain aspects of caregiver wellbeing more such as self-care and certain specific aspects of wellbeing. Internet-based caregiver interventions are evidence as useful for social work with older caregivers.

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Web-based interventions to improve mental health in home caregivers of people with dementia: Meta-analysis

Background: Dementia is a major cause of disability and dependency in older adults worldwide. It is often accompanied by general psychological distress, such as depression and anxiety symptoms, among caregivers of people with dementia (PwD). The physical and mental health of the caregiver is a prerequisite and a promise to help PwD continue to live as long and as well as possible. Web-based interventions can provide convenient and efficient support and an education tool to potentially reduce the negative outcomes associated with providing care. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of internet-based interventions on the mental health outcomes of family caregivers of PwD and to explore which components of the Web-based interventions play an important role. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted in PubMed, Excerpta Medica dataBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Database, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature using relevant terms such as Web-based and caregiver as keywords, covering all studies published before June 2018. A total of 2 reviewers independently reviewed all published abstracts, according to established inclusion and exclusion criteria. We extracted information about the participants, interventions, and results and reviewed article quality in terms of the randomized trial methods, using the approach recommended by the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Results: A total of 815 caregivers participated in 6 studies, with 4 of the studies using depression as an outcome. The analysis found that depression scores dropped an average of 0.23 (95% CI -0.38 to -0.07; P<.01) after Web-based interventions. In 2 studies of caregivers who were experiencing anxiety symptoms, the average score for anxiety dropped by 0.32 points (95% CI -0.50 to -0.14; P<.01). However, in terms of coping, pain, and stress, the Web-based interventions showed a poor effect. On the whole, the addition of professional psychological support on the basis of education can improve caregivers' mental health. Conclusions: Internet-based interventions were generally effective at reducing anxiety and depression in dementia caregivers, although negative results were found in some studies. As for burden and stress, further research is required. 

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Extending a Knowledge-Based System with Learning Capacity

Informal caregivers often complain about missing knowledge. A knowledge-based personalized educational system is developed, which provides caregiving relatives with the information needed. Yet, evaluation against domain experts indicated, that parts of the knowledge-base are incorrect. To overcome these problems the system can be extended by a learning capacity and then be trained further utilizing feedback from real informal caregivers. To extend the existing system an artificial neural network was trained to represent a large part of the knowledge-based approach. This paper describes the found artificial neural network's structure and the training process. The found neural network structure is not deep but very wide. The training terminated after 374.700 epochs with a mean squared error of 7.731 ∗ 10-8 for the end validation set. The neural network represents the parts of the knowledge-based approach and can now be retrained with user feedback, which will be collected during a system test in April and May 2019.

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How to improve eRehabilitation programs in stroke care? A focus group study to identify requirements of end-users

Background: A user-centered design approach for eHealth interventions improves their effectiveness in stroke rehabilitation. Nevertheless, insight into requirements of end-users (patients/informal caregivers and/or health professionals) for eRehabilitation is lacking. The aim of this study was to identify end-user requirements for a comprehensive eHealth program in stroke rehabilitation. Methods: Eight focus groups were conducted to identify user requirements; six with patients/informal caregivers and two with health professionals involved in stroke rehabilitation (rehabilitation physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, team coordinators, speech therapist). The focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed in full. Direct content analysis was used to identify the end-user requirements for stroke eHealth interventions concerning three categories: accessibility, usability and content. Results: In total, 45 requirements for the accessibility, usability and content of a stroke eRehabilitation program emerged from the focus groups. Most requirements concerned content (27 requirements), followed by usability (12 requirements) and accessibility (6 requirements). Patients/informal caregivers and health professionals each identified 37 requirements, respectively, with 29 of them overlapping. Conclusions: Requirements between stroke patients/informal caregivers and health professionals differed on several aspects. Therefore, involving the perspectives of all end users in the design process of stroke eRehabilitation programs is needed to achieve a user-centered design. Trial registration: The study was approved by the Medical Ethical Review Board of the Leiden University Medical Center [P15.281].

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Virtual Patient Interaction via Communicative Acts

In the context of assisting informal caregivers of Alzheimer Disease patients, this article presents the design and preliminary implementation of a serious game in which two agents a user-controlled caregiver and a virtual patient communicate via specifically-designed dialog acts, reflecting both pedagogically appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. 

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Multi-part quality evaluation of a customized mobile application for monitoring elderly patients with functional loss and helping caregivers

Background: The challenges faced by caregivers of the elderly with chronic diseases are always complex. In this context, mobile technologies have been used with promising results, but often have restricted functionality, or are either difficult to use or do not provide the necessary support to the caregiver - which leads to declining usage over time. Therefore, we developed the Mobile System for Elderly Monitoring, SMAI. The purpose of SMAI is to monitor patients with functional loss and to improve the support to caregivers' communication with the health team professionals, informing them the data related to the patients' daily lives, while providing the health team better tools. Method: SMAI is composed of mobile applications developed for the caregivers and health team, and a web portal that supports management activities. Caregivers use an Android application to send information and receive care advice and feedback from the health team. The system was constructed using a refinement stage approach. Each stage involved caregivers and the health team in prototype release-test-assessment-refinement cycles. SMAI was evaluated during 18 months. We studied which features were being used the most, and their use pattern throughout the week. We also studied the users' qualitative perceptions. Finally, the caregiver application was also evaluated for usability. Results: SMAI functionalities showed to be very useful or useful to caregivers and health professionals. The Focus Group interviews reveled that among caregivers the use of the application gave them the sensation of being connected to the health team. The usability evaluation identified that the interface design and associated tasks were easy to use and the System Usability Scale, SUS, presented very good results. Conclusions: In general, the use of SMAI represented a positive change for the family caregivers and for the NAI health team. The overall qualitative results indicate that the approach used to construct the system was appropriate to achieve the objectives. 

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Informal carers' experience of assistive technology use in dementia care at home: A systematic review

Background: Dementia is a health and care priority globally. Caring for persons with dementia is a challenge and can lead to negative psychological, physiological and financial consequences for informal carers. Advances in technology have the potential to assist persons with dementia and their carers, through assistive technology devices such as electronic medication dispensers, robotic devices trackers and motion detectors. However, little is known about carers' experience and the impact of these technologies on them. This review aims to investigate the outcomes and experience of carers of persons with dementia, who live at home and use assistive technology. Methods: A systematic search in seven databases and manual searches were carried out using pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria to identify studies on carers of persons with dementia involving the use of assistive technology. The search identified 56 publications with quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method designs. Results: The studies reported positive and negative findings and focused on a wide variety of assistive technology devices. There were large differences in the uses of assistive technology, outcome measures used and the quality of studies. Knowledge and acceptance, competence to use and ethical issues when using assistive technology were themes that emerged from the studies. Carers generally appreciated using assistive technology and their experience of use varied. Conclusions: The intention of this systematic review is to list and classify the various types of assistive technology used by carers of persons with dementia and explores the positive and negative aspects, knowledge, acceptance and ethical issues in the use of assistive technology by carers of persons with dementia. We recommend the use of a standard and person-centred system of classifying and naming assistive technology devices and systems and for future research efforts in assistive technology to incorporate a family/carer centred model. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO - CRD42017082268.

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Usability evaluation of an eHealth intervention for family carers of individuals affected by psychosis: A mixed-method study

Background: Existing research suggests that eHealth interventions targeting family carers of individuals with long-term illness offer a promising approach to care delivery. In particular, digital psychoeducational interventions with interactive psychosocial support are well-received with high rates of satisfaction and acceptability. However, development of such interventions for psychosis carers is lacking. We developed a multi-component eHealth intervention specifically for carers of individuals affected by psychosis, called COPe-support (Carers fOr People with Psychosis e-support). Objective: Using mixed methods to evaluate usability, system heuristics and perceived acceptability, we conducted a usability study to establish the suitability of the intervention prototype for the target user group. Methods: Twenty-three carers were recruited to the study and participated in a think-aloud test or a remote online trial of the intervention. Qualitative feedback, post-use System Usability Scale (SUS) scores, and real-world usage data collected from the tests were analysed. These were also supplemented with heuristic evaluation data provided by an independent eLearning technology expert. Results: Participants evaluated the intervention content as useful and helpful, and indicated that the system had satisfactory usability with a mean SUS score of 73%, above the usability quality benchmark threshold. Study results identified some minor usability issues, which were corroborated with the eLearning expert’s heuristic evaluation findings. We used these results to refine the COPe-support intervention. Conclusions: The usability study with end-users and service providers identified real-life usage and usability issues. The study results helped us refine COPe-support and its delivery strategy before its launch as part of a large-scale clinical trial. 

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Offspring Caregivers of Chinese Women with Breast Cancer: Their Social Support Requests and Provision on Social Media

Background: Although a number of studies have examined social support needs among women with breast cancer, little attention has been paid to the burden and needs for social support among their family caregivers, who often report mental and physical problems associated with caregiving. Objective: This study aims to examine the role of social media in providing social support for offspring caregivers of breast cancer patients. Methods: A peer support group, "Having a breast cancer patient in my family," was created on Douban (www.douban.com), one of China's most popular social media sites, to provide social support to family caregivers of women with breast cancer. We analyzed the content of 784 messages in the discussion threads where the latest update fell between January 2017 and July 2017. Results: The results revealed that the majority of messages (n = 690, 88.0%) provided or requested social support, and more than 64.5% of these messages (n = 445) were posted by caregivers who were offspring of the cancer patients. The results also suggested that these caregivers requested and provided informational support more frequently than they did emotional and instrumental support. Conclusions: This study suggests that social media could be a plausible platform for offspring caregivers of breast cancer patients to share caregiving experiences, access informational resources for their care recipients, gain knowledge about breast cancer prevention, and obtain emotional encouragement. Theoretical as well as practical implications are discussed.

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Increasing Caregiver Access to Programming: A Qualitative Exploration of Caregivers' Experience of a Telehealth Powerful Tools for Caregivers Program

Family caregivers can benefit from education-based wellness programs, but many face barriers to attending such programs. The purpose of this research was to explore telehealth as a delivery format for an education-based caregiver wellness program. This qualitative research examined the caregiver experience of a specific program called Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC). The traditionally in-person program was delivered via telehealth in four states. Twelve caregivers participated in focus groups the week after completing the telehealth PTC program. Three major themes emerged from the focus groups: Knowledge Gained, Interrelatedness, and Technology Pros and Cons. All affirmed a positive experience of the telehealth delivered PTC program. Participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the program and knowledge gained including relaxation techniques, communication skills, resources to support caregiving, and goal setting for self-care. Furthermore, participants were appreciative of the opportunity to connect with other caregivers from the comfort of their home.

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Development of an eHealth information resource for family carers supporting a person receiving palliative care on the island of Ireland

Background: Many people receiving palliative care wish to die at home. Often, support from family or friends is key to ensuring that this wish is fulfilled. However, carers report feeling underprepared to undertake this role. This paper describes the process of developing a consensus and evidence based website to provide core information to help people support someone receiving palliative care on the island of Ireland. Methods: The project comprised three phases: (1) a review of systematic reviews facilitated the identification of core information needs; (2) content was developed in collaboration with a Virtual Reference Group (VRG) comprising patients, carers and professionals; and, (3) subject experts within the project team worked with a web developer to précis the agreed content and ensure it was in a format that was appropriate for a website. Members of the VRG were then invited to test and approve the website before it was made available to the general public. Results: Nineteen systematic reviews identified nine consensus areas of core information required by carers; a description of palliative care; prognosis and treatment of the condition; medication and pain management; personal care; specialist equipment; locally available support services; what to do in an emergency; nutrition; and, support for the carer. This information was shared with the VRG and used to develop website content. Conclusions: We engaged with service users and professionals to develop an evidence-based website addressing the agreed core information needs of non-professional carers who wish to provide palliative care to a friend or relative. 

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Health coaching to improve self-care of informal caregivers of adults with chronic heart failure – iCare4Me: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Background: Persons with chronic heart failure are living longer. These patients typically live in the community and are cared for at home by informal caregivers. These caregivers are an understudied and stressed group. Methods: We are conducting a two-arm, randomized controlled trial of 250 caregivers of persons with chronic heart failure to evaluate the efficacy of a health coaching intervention. A consecutive sample of participants is being enrolled from both clinic and hospital settings at a single institution affiliated with a large medical center in the northeastern US. Both the intervention and control groups receive tablets programmed to provide standardized health information. In addition, the intervention group receives 10 live coaching sessions delivered virtually by health coaches using the tablets. The intervention is evaluated at 6-months, with self-care as the primary outcome. Cost-effectiveness of the intervention is evaluated at 12-months. We are also enrolling heart failure patients (dyads) whenever possible to explore the effect of caregiver outcomes (self-care, stress, coping, health status) on heart failure patient outcomes (number of hospitalizations and days in the hospital) at 12-months. Discussion: We expect the proposed study to require 5 years for completion. If shown to be efficacious and cost-effective, our virtual health coaching intervention can easily be scaled to. support millions of caregivers worldwide.

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mHealth applications as an educational and supportive resource for family carers of people with dementia: An integrative review

Family carers encounter several challenges related to caring for people with dementia, and they need support in managing care recipients’ health needs. This study aims to identify, appraise and synthesise the existing evidence on the use of mHealth/smartphone applications as an educational and supportive resource for family carers of people with dementia. An integrative literature review approach was used. Seven databases were searched. The search generated 117 articles, with seven meeting the inclusion criteria. Three categories and their attendant sub-categories emerged from the literature. The categories are ‘carer support’, ‘evaluation strategies’ and ‘barriers and challenges’. mHealth applications appear to be a feasible intervention for family carers of people with dementia despite the limited available research and barriers for their development and implementation. Further research on mHealth applications with strong methodological rigour and more research on mHealth applications as an educational and supportive resource for carers of people with dementia are needed.

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The design and methodology of a usability protocol for the management of medications by families for aging older adults

BACKGROUND: Health research apps often do not focus on usability as a design priority. This is problematic when the population of interest is disproportionately underrepresented as users of mobile apps, especially observed with aging older adults (> = 75). Challenges with the adoption of health information technology (HIT) among this group are exacerbated by poor design and user interface/experience (UI/UX) choices. This protocol describes the testing and evaluation process of one HIT app for the family-based collaboration platform InfoSAGE. METHODS: We aim to recruit twenty subjects from both informal family-caregivers and aging older adults to examine the usability of the InfoSAGE mobile medication manager. Participants will be audio and visually recorded, in addition to the use of screen capture recordings, while 'thinking aloud' as they complete eight common use-case scenarios. Multiple independent reviewers will code video and audio recordings for thematic analysis and use problems will be evaluated. Success and failure of each scenario will be determined by completion of sub-events. Time-to-complete analysis will be used to ascertain the learning curve associated with the app. DISCUSSION: Frequently observed problem areas will be used as the basis of further evolution of the app, and will further inform generalized recommendations for the design of HIT apps for research and public use. This study aims to improve the model of development for dual user populations with dissimilar technological literacy to improve retention and use. Results of this study will form the foundation of a design framework for mobile health apps.

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iSupport: a WHO global online intervention for informal caregivers of people with dementia

The development of iSupport was funded by a grant from the Alzheimer Association US, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in the Netherlands, and Alzheimer Disease International. The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this letter and they do not necessarily represent the views, decisions or policies of the institutions with which they are affiliated. The iSupport development team included E. Albanese, N. Batsch, U. Baruah, K. Edwards, K. Egan, D. Gallagher‐Thompson, M. Guerra, J. Holroyd‐Leduc, T. Kwok, K. Mehta, M. Prins, S. Loganathan, I. Rosier, P. Shivakumar, I. van Asch, M. Varghese, H. Wang, B. Willemse, M. Wortmann and L. Xiao. The WHO Secretariat included A. Brunier, K. Carswell, T. Dua, A.M. Pot, D. Rekve, K. Seeher, M. van Ommeren, S. Saxena and D. Zandi.

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Incorporating Facebook into Nonprofit Supports for Family Caregivers: Reflections on its Value and Relevance

Social media has a role in the lives of many family carers. We present a case study of Facebook (FB) use in Care Alliance Ireland, a small Irish not-for-profit carer support organization. In 2012, in its role as coordinator of National Carers Week, Care Alliance Ireland set up a Facebook page to increase reach and awareness of the week amongst family caregivers who used Facebook. Philanthropic donations in the early years of FB use enabled the large-scale and relatively efficient recruitment of followers through targeted social media ads. By July 2018, the organization’s FB page had secured upwards of 18,500 followers, over 75% of whom report as being either current or former family carers. This article posits that regular, considered, and varied posts offer a level of support and affirmation for the caring role that has a large reach, is cost effective, and represents an effective quasi-social work intervention. 

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Randomized controlled trial of a facilitated online positive emotion regulation intervention for dementia caregivers

Objective: To test the effects of Life Enhancing Activities for Family Caregivers (LEAF), a 6-week positive emotion regulation intervention, on outcomes of positive emotion, depression, anxiety, and physical health as measured by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System® (PROMIS®). Method: A randomized controlled trial (N 170) comparing LEAF (N 86) to an emotion reporting/waitlist condition (N 84) in dementia caregivers. LEAF was individually delivered online by trained facilitators. Participants in the control condition completed daily online emotion reports and then crossed over into the intervention condition after 6 weeks. The study was registered with Clinicaltrials. gov (NCT01825681) and funded by R01NR014435. Results: Analyses of difference in change from baseline to 6 weeks demonstrated significantly greater decreases in PROMIS® depression (d <.25; p.02) and Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders (NeuroQOL) anxiety (d <.33; p-.01), as well as improvements in PROMIS® physical health (d.24; p.02) in the intervention condition compared to the emotion reporting/waitlist control. The intervention also showed greater improvements in positive emotion (d.58; p-.01) and positive aspects of caregiving (d.36; p-.01). Increases in positive emotion significantly mediated the effect of LEAF on depression over time. Conclusions: This randomized controlled trial of the online-facilitated positive emotion regulation intervention in dementia caregivers demonstrated small to medium effect sizes on caregiver well-being and shows promise for remotely delivered programs to improve psychological well-being in caregivers of people with dementia and other chronic illnesses. 

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An evaluation of the suitability, readability, quality, and usefulness of online resources for family caregivers of patients with cancer

Objective: Evaluate the suitability, readability, quality, and usefulness of publicly available online resources for cancer caregivers. Methods: Resources identified through a Google search and environmental scan were evaluated using the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM), an online readability text analysis tool, the DISCERN (quality), and caregivers' unmet needs checklist (usefulness). Descriptive analyses and cluster analysis to identify the group of resources with the highest SAM and DISCERN scores were performed. Results: 55 resources were evaluated. The suitability of 48/55 (87%) resources were categorized as adequate (SAM scores 40–69), with no resources ranking in the superior category (SAM scores > 70%). The readability of 51/55 (93%) resources exceeded 9th grade reading level. The mean quality score as a percentage was 49% (SD 11.5). On average resources addressed 9.9/33 unmet needs (SD = 5.8). A high-quality cluster was identified and included 15 (27%) websites. Conclusion: Online resources for cancer caregivers are not optimal in terms of their suitability, readability, quality, and usefulness. The highest ranked resources include, Cancer Council Australia's booklet, Caring for Someone with Cancer, and the American Cancer Society's webpages, Caregivers and Families. Practice implications: Study findings will allow healthcare professionals to better address cancer caregivers’ needs by recommending the most optimal resources. 

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Online information and support for carers of people with young-onset dementia: A multi-site randomised controlled pilot study

OBJECTIVES: The European RHAPSODY project sought to develop and test an online information and support programme for caregivers of individuals diagnosed with young onset dementia. The objectives were to assess user acceptability and satisfaction with the programme and to test outcome measures for a larger effectiveness study. DESIGN: A pilot randomised controlled trial in England, France, and Germany was conducted with 61 caregivers for adults with young onset Alzheimer's disease or frontotemporal degeneration. Evaluations at baseline, week 6, and week 12 assessed user acceptability and satisfaction. Use of the programme was measured from online back-end data. Qualitative feedback on user experiences was collected via semi-structured interviews. Measures of caregiver well-being (self-efficacy, stress, burden, frequency of patient symptoms, and caregiver reactions) were explored for use in a subsequent trial. RESULTS: Participants logged in online on average once a week over a 6-week period, consulting approximately 31% of programme content. Seventy percent of participants described the programme as useful and easy to use. Eighty-five percent expressed intent to use the resource in the future. Reductions in reported levels of stress and caregivers' negative reactions to memory symptoms were observed following use of the programme. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicated that the RHAPSODY programme was acceptable and useful to caregivers. The programme may be complementary to existing services in responding to the specific needs of families affected by young onset dementia. Distribution of the programme is underway in England, France, Germany, and Portugal.

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Evaluating User Engagement with a Reminiscence App Using Cross-Comparative Analysis of User Event Logs and Qualitative Data

The aim of this study was to evaluate the usage of a reminiscence app by people living with dementia and their family carers, by comparing event log data generated from app usage alongside the qualitative experience of the process. A cross-comparative analysis of electronic event logging data with qualitative interview data was conducted. Electronic event logging data were obtained for 28 participating dyads (n = 56) and the interview sample comprised 14 people living with dementia and 16 family carers (n = 30). A thematic analysis framework was used in the analysis of interview transcripts and the identification of recurrent themes. The cross-comparison of electronic event log data and qualitative data revealed 25 out of 28 dyads regularly engaged with a reminiscence app, with the analysis of usage patterns revealing four clusters classifying different levels of user engagement. The cross-comparison of data revealed that the nature of the relationship was a significant factor in ongoing user engagement. The comparative analysis of the electronic event logs as "ground truth" in combination with the qualitative lived experience can provide a deeper understanding on the usage of a reminiscence app for those living with dementia and their family carers. This work not only shows the benefits of using automated event log data mining but also shows its clear limitations without using complementary qualitative data analysis. As such, this work also provides key insights into using mixed methods for evaluating human-computer interaction technologies.

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Recruitment of caregivers into health services research: Lessons from a user-centred design study

Background: With patient and public engagement in many aspects of the healthcare system becoming an imperative, the recruitment of patients and members of the public into service and research roles has emerged as a challenge. The existing literature carries few reports of the methods – successful and unsuccessful – that researchers engaged in user-centred design (UCD) projects are using to recruit participants as equal partners in co-design research. This paper uses the recruitment experiences of a specific UCD project to provide a road map for other investigators, and to make general recommendations for funding agencies interested in supporting co-design research. Methods: We used a case study methodology and employed Nominal Group Technique (NGT) and Focus Group discussions to collect data. We recruited 25 family caregivers. Results: Employing various strategies to recruit unpaid family caregivers in a UCD project aimed at co-designing an assistive technology for family caregivers, we found that recruitment through caregiver agencies is the most efficient (least costly) and effective mechanism. The nature of this recruitment work – thetimeandcompromises it requires – has, we believe, implications for funding agencies who need to understand that working with caregivers agencies, requires a considerable amount of time for building relationships, aligning values, and establishing trust. Conclusions: In addition to providing adaptable strategies, the paper contributes to discussions surrounding how projects seeking effective, meaningful, and ethical patient and public engagement are planned and funded. We call for more evidence to explore effective mechanisms to recruit family caregivers into qualitative research. We also call for reports of successful strategies that other researchers have employed to recruit and retain family caregivers in their research.

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Information, communication, and online tool needs of Hispanic family caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias

Purpose: To identify the information and communication needs of Hispanic family caregivers for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) and the manner in which online tools may meet those needs. Methods: We conducted 11 participatory design sessions with 10 English- and 14 Spanish-speaking urban-dwelling Hispanic family caregivers and gathered data using a survey, collage assemblage, and audio and video recordings. Four investigators analyzed transcripts of audio recordings with a coding framework informed by several conceptual models. Results: Participants had an average age of 59.7 years, were mostly female (79.2%), and had cared for a family member with ADRD for an average of 6.5 years. All participants accessed the Internet at least once a week with 75% ≥ daily. Most used the Internet to look up health information. All participants reported caregiver attributes including awareness of the disease symptoms or behaviors. The majority reported information needs/tasks (91.7%), communication needs/tasks (87.5%), and need for online tools (79.2%). Conclusion: Hispanic caregivers of individuals with ADRD reported key information and communication needs/tasks. Only Spanish-speaking participants reported Internet and technology use deficits suggesting the requirement for further technology support. Data show a need for online tools to meet the needs of caregivers. 

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Using Video Feedback at Home in Dementia Care: A Feasibility Study

Video feedback at home (VFH) aims to improve the well-being of informal caregivers and persons with dementia by training the caregiver to communicate successfully. This feasibility study had 2 aims: (1) to investigate possible effects regarding VFH, caregiver self-efficacy and the burden experienced, and the frequency of challenging behavior in persons with dementia, and (2) to perform a process evaluation of barriers and facilitators regarding the use of VFH. The respondents were caregivers of home-dwelling persons with dementia participating in VHF (N = 10), a group of caregivers who declined participating in VFH (N = 18), stakeholders (N = 6), and field experts (N = 55). The assessments performed were Positive and Negative Affect Scales, Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory, Sense of Competence Scale, semistructured interviews, and questionnaires. Results demonstrated that caregivers were satisfied with VFH and that various (sub)scores on questionnaires improved. Caregivers mentioned a reluctance toward being filmed and both caregivers and referrers were unfamiliar with VFH. Recommendations have been made for health-care professionals and researchers to overcome these barriers.

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Co-construction of an Internet-based intervention for older assistive technology users and their family caregivers: stakeholders’ perceptions

Purpose: Providing care to older adults using assistive technology can be challenging for family caregivers. To inform the development of an Internet-based intervention, this study aimed to identify older assistive technology users and family caregivers’ needs related to assistive technology procurement, and to explore how to offer remote support through an Internet-based intervention. Methods: Based on an iterative user-centered design approach, 30 semi-structured interviews were conducted with stakeholders about their experiences with assistive technology procurement/attribution and their perceptions of a proposed intervention. A modified content analysis approach was used, with a mix of emerging and a priori concepts. Results: Participants view assistive technology procurement as an ongoing cyclical process, with potential unmet needs at key moments before and after assistive technology procurement. Assistive technology user-family caregiver dyads needs focus on assistive technology information, access, assistive technology-person-context match, training and support. While participants felt there were benefits to the proposed intervention they also identified potential implementation barriers. Conclusion: Assistive technology Internet-based interventions dedicated to family caregivers should ensure systematic and tailored follow-up while integrating some form of human support. This study guides the prototype design of the proposed intervention towards a graded support approach, empowering assistive technology users and family caregivers to resolve assistive technology-related challenges. Implication for rehabilitation Providing home-based care to older adults using assistive technology (e.g., mobility aids, communication aids) can be challenging for family caregivers. Using a user-centered design approach, an Internet-based intervention is under development to support older assistive technology users and their family caregivers. Through interviews with diverse stakeholders, this study explores unmet needs related to assistive technology procurement and perceptions about the proposed intervention. 

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Can brief telephone interventions reduce caregiver burden and depression in caregivers of people with cognitive impairment? - Long-term results of the German day-care study (RCT)

Background: Day-care and telephone counseling have been discussed as effective support measures for caregivers of people with cognitive impairment. Methods: In a two-arm cluster-randomized trial involving multicomponent therapy for cognitively impaired persons in day-care centers and telephone counseling for their caregivers versus treatment as usual (TAU), we investigated long-term effects on caregivers' burden and depressiveness. Person-caregiver dyads involving home-dwelling persons with MCI, mild dementia, or moderate dementia were eligible. Day-care centers were randomized into an intervention group (IG) or a control group (CG). Outcome assessors were blinded. Out of 359 caregivers who had completed a 6-month intervention phase (nIG = 205, nCG = 154), a total of 304 of them were available at the 12-month follow-up (nIG = 173, nCG = 131). Instruments for assessing were the Burden Scale for Family Caregivers - short version (BSFC-s) (caregiver burden) and the Well-Being Index Score (WHO-5) (depressiveness). Mixed ANOVAs were used for the main analyses; descriptive statistics and subgroup analyses were additionally performed; secondary analyses involved multiple linear regressions for the main outcomes that were significant in the unadjusted main analysis. Results: At follow-up, crude mean differences showed a nonsignificant advantage for the IG in caregiver burden [IG: -.20 (SD = 5.39) vs. CG:.76 (SD = 5.49), p =.126, d =.177] and depressiveness (reverse scored) [IG: -.05 (SD = 5.17) vs. CG: -.98 (SD = 5.65), p =.136, d =.173]. For caregiver burden, a mixed ANOVA resulted in significant main effects of group (F (1, 302) = 4.40; p =.037) and time (F (1.88, 568.96) = 3.56; p =.032) but not a significant interaction. The largest effects were found for the "mild dementia" subgroup (d =.443 for caregiver burden and d =.520 for depressiveness). Discussion: Positive long-term effects of a combined intervention involving telephone counseling for caregivers and multicomponent activation for patients were observed especially for mild dementia. However, the treatment effects washed out after the intervention ended. Trial registration: ISRCTN16412551 (date: 30 July 2014, retrospectively). 

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Designing and developing a co-produced theoretical and evidence-based online support for family caregivers of people with dementia at the end of life

Background: Caring for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally difficult. Acting as a caregiver can make it difficult to access sources of support, particularly in the later stages of dementia. This paper reports the development and presents the targets (subject areas) and components of a prototype website to support family caregivers of a person with dementia towards the end of life. Methods: Adopting an iterative approach and co-production methods the development process consisted of four stages: Stage1-Synthesis of data: Three sources of data (interviews, systematic review and theory) were synthesised using tabulation, to identify the targets of the prototype; Stage2-Identifying intervention targets and components: A research development group (health practitioners, a family caregiver and academic experts) met to discuss the development, using a modified nominal group process, refining the synthesis from stage 1; Stage3-Developing the intervention prototype: An outline of the prototype was developed based on stage 1 and 2; and Stage4-User testing: Interviews with caregivers testing the prototype website. Results: Qualitative interviews with caregivers identified four targets for the intervention: 1) feeling prepared and equipped; 2) feeling connected and supported; 3) valuing themselves as a caregiver and as an individual; 4) maintaining control of the caring situation and being the coordinator of care. The systematic review provided evidence on how and what components could address these targets, including providing information, peer support, contact with professionals, and psychological support. Theory helped to narrow the focus within each of these targets. Active discussion with the research development group and end users provided an outline of the prototype website. The prototype website presented addresses these targets with written information, videos from other caregivers, and peer and professional support sections. The subject areas covered included expectations at the end of life, support with day-to-day caring, care planning, and communication. Conclusions: This paper provides a detailed account of the development process of a prototype website for caregiver support. The transparent methodology and key lessons learnt from developing the prototype should help those who are developing similar interventions, across complex, progressive conditions and not just limited to dementia. 

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Assistive robots for socialization in elderly people: results pertaining to the needs of the users

Background/aim: Technological solutions can support the elderly, improve their quality of life and reduce isolation and loneliness. The Euro-Japan ACCRA (Agile Co-Creation for Robots and Aging) project has the objective of building a reference co-creation methodology for the development of robotic solutions for ageing. The aim of this study is to provide a pilot qualitative analysis of the real needs of elderly people and their caregivers when exposed to conversational activities with robots and to identify priority needs that should be developed from end-user perspectives. Methods: A qualitative research design was adopted to define a pre-structured questionnaire that was administered to the elderly taking part in the piloting sessions. Three groups of end-users were included: subjects with an age ≥ 60 years, informal caregivers and formal caregivers. Results: The interviews were carried out in Italy and Japan. A total of 17 elderly and 36 caregivers were recruited. Common needs in the two sites were categorized into 3 groups: Communication; Emotion Detection and Safety. General robot acceptance level is good and perception is positive among participants in the pilot sites. Conclusion: A positive perception of the elderly on the application of a robotic solution was found and many are the needs that could be addressed by an appropriate and careful robotic development taking into account the real needs and capabilities of the involved subjects. 

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Give me a break: Design for communication among family caregivers and respite caregivers

This study focuses on solutions to issues that arise from gaps in communication between primary family caregivers of older adults and respite caregivers. We collected data through 18 semi-structured interviews with primary family and respite caregivers and qualitatively analyzed the interviews to extract common needs. Participants identified three main needs that our designs address: building trust through status updates, learning routines & care management, and accessing technology. Based on those needs, we designed a prototype of an application which connects primary family caregivers with respite caregivers and facilitates communication between the involved parties. This design can serve as a framework for future work designed to improve elder care in general, the well-being of caregivers, and the efectiveness of respite care. 

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Utilizing the Advances in Digital Health Solutions to Manage Care in Cancer Patients

In recent years, the clinical context for cancer has changed, and it is now characterized by extended survival rates and more diverse and complex cancer trajectories and symptomatology. The changes in the landscape of cancer care also include a shift towards the home setting or the outpatient setting with an increased amount of care being delivered at home or transferred to the patients themselves and their family caregivers. These changes have also impacted the type and amount of information required by the patients and their caregivers as well as the type of care needs that are to be addressed by health-care professionals. Finally, the transitions within the health-care setting might also create a caring gap that the patient is left to deal with independently or with minimal support. These changes have led to the emergence of innovative digital/technological solutions for supporting patients during their cancer care continuum.

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Internet use for family carers of people with intellectual disabilities: A literature review and thematic synthesis

Being a family carer can be rewarding but can also lead to mental and physical exhaustion as well as feelings of social exclusion and isolation. Research has shown that the use of the Internet and online forums can provide an immediate place to find information and reassurance and that forum use can be an empathetic place to share experiences and seek emotional support. This article details a systematic literature search of research on carers of people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism using the Internet. A thematic synthesis of the resulting papers identified that online forums give carers a sense of agency by providing a place to go for informational support that may not be elsewhere. Carers also enjoyed the safe community of solidarity and emotional support that online forums provide. An important finding is the lack of published papers in this area with the inclusion of just eight papers.

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In Their Own Words: Experiences of Caregivers of Adults With Cancer as Expressed on Social Media

PURPOSE: To explore caregivers' writings about their experiences caring for adult individuals with cancer on a social media health communication website. PARTICIPANTS & SETTING: Journal entries (N = 392) were analyzed for 37 adult caregivers who were posting on behalf of 20 individuals with cancer. CaringBridge is a website used by patients and informal caregivers to communicate about acute and chronic disease. METHODOLOGIC APPROACH: A retrospective descriptive study using qualitative content analysis of caregivers' journal entries from 2009 to 2015. FINDINGS: Major categories identified in caregivers' online journals included patient health information, cancer awareness/advocacy, social support, caregiver burden, daily living, emotions (positive and negative), and spirituality. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Nurses often recommend using social media as a communication strategy for patients with cancer and their caregivers. The findings from this study provide potential guidance nurses may wish to offer caregivers. For example, nurses may talk with caregivers about how and what to post regarding treatment decisions. In addition, nurses can provide support for caregivers struggling with when and how often to communicate on social media.

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Closer: A videoconference intervention for distance caregivers of cancer patients

Distance caregivers (DCGs) represent a growing demographic. The emotional burden of caregiving for a family member with cancer is amplified by the logistical challenges of providing support from afar. DCGs feel higher levels of distress, anxiety, and depression compared with local caregivers. Videoconference technology may alleviate both the emotional and practical burdens faced by DCGs. This is an ongoing randomized controlled trial in 32 outpatient ambulatory clinics at a large, urban, comprehensive cancer center. To date, 332 patient‐DCG dyads have been enrolled. DCGs must have internet access and have been identified by the patient as a source of support. The intervention period is 4 months. DCGs are randomized to one of three arms: DCGs in Arm 1 receive four coaching sessions with an advanced practice nurse or social worker and four videoconference appointments during the oncologist‐patient office visit. DCGs in Arm 2 participate in four videoconference appointments with the oncologist and patient, and Arm 3 is the control group, which receives access to information through a website. Primary outcome variables are DCG distress, anxiety, depression, burden, self‐efficacy, and emotional support. These data are collected electronically at baseline, 4 months, and 6 months. Patient distress, anxiety, and depression are also assessed at these same intervals using brief in‐person interviews. The change in each of the DCG outcomes over time will be examined by a repeated measures analysis of covariance.

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Caregivers for the elderly in Thailand: development and evaluation of an online support system

Informal caregivers are playing a major role in helping elderly people with their activities in daily life. The purpose of this work is to develop an Online Support System for Elderly Care (OSSEC) to provide services for informal caregivers in Thailand. The system has six modules which are: patient and caregiver profile manager, elderly care recommender applying case-based reasoning, daily care plan manager, elderly care activity notifier, elderly care information resource locator and caregivers’ social interaction platform. We have established the utility of OSSEC in enhancing the knowledge and ability of informal caregivers and in reducing their stress. In particular, we measured quantitatively the usefulness of OSSEC and evaluated user satisfaction as well.

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Improving family caregiver and patient outcomes in lung cancer surgery: Study protocol for a randomized trial of the multimedia self-management (MSM) intervention

Objective: To describe the study protocol of the Multimedia Self-Management (MSM) intervention to prepare patients and family caregivers (FCGs) for lung cancer surgery.; Design: The study is a five-year, single site, randomized controlled trial of 160 lung cancer surgery FCG and patient dyads (320 total participants), comparing intervention and attention control arms.; Setting: One National Cancer-Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center in Southern California.; Participants: Patients who are scheduled to undergo lung cancer surgery and their FCGs are enrolled as dyads only.; Intervention: Based on the Chronic Care Self-Management Model (CCM), the intervention is a nurse-led, caregiver-based, multimedia care program for lung cancer surgery. Its primary focus is to help FCGs develop self-management skills related to their caregiving role through goal setting, proactive planning, building problem-solving skills, and accessing family support services. The intervention also supports dyads to prepare for surgery and post-operative recovery at home. It includes videos, print, web-based, and post-discharge telephone support.; Main Outcome Measures: FCG and patient psychological distress and QOL; FCG burden and preparedness for caregiving; FCG and patient healthcare resource use (in-home nursing care, urgent care/ER visits, readmissions).; Analysis: Repeated measures ANCOVA statistical design will be used, removing variances prior to examining mean squares for the group by occasion interactions, and co-varying the baseline scores. In addition, structured equation modeling (SEM) will assess whether mediating and moderating factors are associated with outcomes. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03686007.

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Informal carers' experience and outcomes of assistive technology use in dementia care in the community: a systematic review protocol

Background: Dementia is one of the greatest health and care priorities globally. Caring for persons with dementia is a challenge and often leads to negative psychological, physiological and financial consequences for informal carers (family members or friends). Many informal carers experience moderate to severe levels of burden. Advances in technology have the potential to assist persons with dementia and their carers, through assistive technology (AT) devices such as electronic medication dispensers, robotic devices and motion detectors. However, little is known about informal carers’ experience and the impact of these technologies on them. This review aims to investigate the outcomes and experience of carers of persons with dementia, who live at home and use AT. Method: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, AMED, ALOIS, PsycINFO, Trial registries and OpenGrey databases will be searched for studies of any design that have investigated carer experience and/or outcomes of AT use for persons with dementia living at home. Manual searches from reference lists of relevant papers will also be undertaken. Outcomes of interest are carers’ self-reported outcomes (which include perceived burden, quality of life and wellbeing) and carer experiences (such as usefulness, benefits and disadvantages of AT and impact on caregiver/care receiver relationship). Two independent reviewers will screen identified papers with pre-defined eligibility criteria and extract data using a bespoke extraction form. Discrepancies will be resolved in discussion with a third reviewer. A synthesis of eligible studies and summary will be provided. Discussion: A systematic review of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods evidence of informal carers’ experience of AT use in dementia in the community will be carried out. It is anticipated that this will highlight (1) investigations on impact of AT use on carers, (2) outcome measures and experience questionnaires that have been used and (3) the types of studies carried out so far on this topic. The results from the review will be presented in a summary matrix of common types (e.g. mobile phones, alarms) and uses (e.g. communication, safety, personal care) of AT in dementia care and also identify AT that is not usually available through government or health system funding

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The agency of patients and carers in medical care and self-care technologies for interacting with doctors

People living with Parkinson's disease engage in self-care for most of the time but, two or three times a year, they meet with doctors to re-evaluate the condition and adjust treatment. Patients and (informal) carers participate actively in these encounters, but their engagement might change as new patientcentred technologies are integrated into healthcare infrastructures. Drawing on a qualitative study that used observations and interviews to investigate consultations, and digital ethnography to understand interactions in an online community, we describe how patients and carers living with Parkinson's participate in the diagnosis and treatment decisions, engage in discussions to learn about certain topics, and address inappropriate medication. We contrast their engagement with a review of self-care technologies that support interactions with doctors, to investigate how these artefacts may influence the agency of patients and carers. Finally, we discuss design ideas for improving the participation of patients and carers in technology-mediated scenarios. 

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Symptom Interference in Advanced Lung Cancer and Caregiver Distress: A Pilot Randomized Trial

Context: Advanced lung cancer patients typically have a poor prognosis and many symptoms that interfere with functioning, contributing to high rates of emotional distress in both patients and family caregivers. There remains a need for evidence-based interventions to improve functional outcomes and distress in this population.; Objectives: This pilot trial examined the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of telephone-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for symptomatic, advanced lung cancer patients and their distressed family caregivers. Primary outcomes were patient symptom interference with functioning and patient and caregiver distress.; Methods: Symptomatic, advanced lung cancer patients and distressed caregivers (n=50 dyads) were randomly assigned to six sessions of ACT or an education/support condition. Patients completed measures of symptom interference and measures assessing the severity of fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and breathlessness. Patients and caregivers completed measures of distress and illness acceptance and struggle.; Results: The eligibility screening rate (51%) and retention rate (76% at 6 weeks post-intervention) demonstrated feasibility. No group differences were found with respect to patient and caregiver outcomes. Both groups showed a small, significant decrease in struggle with the illness over the study period, but did not show meaningful change in other outcomes.; Conclusion: Findings suggest that telephone-based ACT is feasible for many advanced lung cancer patients and caregivers, but may not substantially reduce symptom interference and distress. Low baseline levels of certain symptoms may have contributed to null findings. Next steps include applying ACT to specific, clinically meaningful symptom interference and varying intervention dose and modality.

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What Are the Characteristics of Caregivers Logging in for Support Services?

Background and Objectives: Online service delivery options have the potential to increase access to informational resources among caregivers to older adults. However, it is unknown which caregivers will use online-delivered services over usual service delivery modes (e.g., by phone) when both options are available in social service settings. This is important for service providers to know when making decisions that best serve their communities. Research Design and Methods: Guided by Andersen’s model of health service utilization, we used step-wise logistic regression models to compare the characteristics of caregivers who used an online information service called FCA CareJourney (FCA CJ) with those who accessed the same services using the usual mode of service delivery (N = 540). Online and usual-care services were available through two social service organizations in California. Results: In all, 13.7% of clients used FCA CJ to receive services online. Enabling characteristics were the main predictors of using online-delivered services. Caregivers employed part-time had 3.82 times the odds of using online-delivered services compared to those employed full-time (odds ratio [OR] = 3.82; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.58–9.22). Caregivers who learned about services from health care providers had 2.91 times the odds of using FCA CJ as those who learned about services through social services (OR = 2.91; 95% CI: 1.28–6.62). Even among those who learned about services online, 62.2% still accessed services using usual delivery modes. Discussion and Implications: Based on differences in the characteristics of caregivers using different service delivery modes and the low uptake of online-delivered services, we suggest online service delivery should supplement, not replace, usual delivery modes in social service settings. At the same time, user rates of online service delivery are likely modifiable. Given the potential for online-delivered programming to expand access to information services for caregivers, we recommend further examination into the effects of marketing online service delivery options to caregivers in novel ways

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Feasibility of e-Pain Reporter: A Digital Pain Management Tool for Informal Caregivers in Home Hospice

Informal hospice caregivers often have difficulty managing patient pain at home. We developed a digital application, e-Pain Reporter, for informal caregivers to record and providers to monitor patient pain and pain management. The purpose of this study was (1) to assess the feasibility of informal caregivers using the e-Pain Reporter for 9 days in home hospice by investigating recruitment and retention and caregiver satisfaction with and frequency of use of the e-Pain Reporter and (2) describe patient pain characteristics and caregiver's barriers to painmanagement and self-efficacy in providing patient care in the home. One-group pre-post design was used. Patient-caregiver dyads were recruited from 1 hospice agency. Caregivers were asked to report all patient pain and pain management using the e-Pain Reporter. Feasibility of the e-Pain Reporter was assessed by the average number of times caregivers recorded breakthrough and daily pain and caregiver satisfaction with the app. The 27-item Barriers Questionnaire II and 21-itemCaregiver Self-efficacy Scale were administered at baseline. Fourteen dyads enrolled, 2 patients died, and 12 dyads completed the study. Mean number of pain reports over 9 days was 10.5. Caregivers reported high overall satisfaction with the e-Pain Reporter. Barriers scores were moderately high, suggesting erroneous beliefs and misconceptions about pain reporting and use of analgesics, but self-efficacy in managing pain was also high (93% confidence). Findings suggest that the e-Pain Reporter is a feasible method to report and monitor caregiver management of pain at home. Caregiver high barriers and high overconfidence suggest the need for an educational component to the e-Pain Reporter to address misconceptions about pain and pain management.

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Hispanic Dementia Family Caregiver's Knowledge, Experience, and Awareness of Self-Management: Foundations for Health Information Technology Interventions

Purpose: As a first step toward developing a web-based Family-Health Information Management System intervention, we explored Hispanic dementia family caregiver's knowledge, use, and awareness of self-management principles and skills to address health and health care needs for themselves and the person with dementia (PWD). Method: Twenty caregivers and 11 caregiver counselors attended an English or Spanish language focus group ranging from 4 to 6 participants. We conducted a directed content analysis informed by Lorig and Holman's conceptualization of self-management. Results: A complement of six skills (i.e., problem solving, decision making, resource utilization, patient–provider partnership, action planning, and self-tailoring) to achieve one of three tasks (i.e., emotional, medical, and role management) can fully represent Hispanic dementia family caregivers' ability to self-manage health and health care needs. While not prominent in our study, caregivers and caregiver counselors pointed out existing and potential uses of personal consumer technology to schedule reminders and search for resources. Discussion: A broad conceptualization of self-management may be necessary to understand Hispanic dementia family caregiver's ability and needs to address emotional, medical, and role challenges of caregiving. Conclusions: These findings and advances in the use of consumer health information technology support the development of self-management caregiver interventions.

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Patient and caregiver preferences for the potential benefits and risks of a seizure forecasting device: A best–worst scaling

Background: Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unpredictable seizures. The ability to forecast seizures is a significant unmet need and would have a transformative effect on the lives of people living with epilepsy. In an effort to address this need, the Epilepsy Foundation has committed effort and resources to promote the development of seizure forecasting devices (SFD). Objective: To promote user-centered design of future SFD, we sought to quantify patient and caregiver preferences for the potential benefits and risks of SFD. Methods: A community-centered approach was used to develop a survey incorporating a novel best–worst scaling (BWS) to assess preferences for SFD. A main-effect orthogonal array was used to design and generate 18 "prototypes" that systematically varied across six attributes: seizure forecasting probability, seizure forecasting range, inaccuracy of forecasting, amount of time required to use the device, how the device is worn, and cost. The dependent variable was the attributes that respondents selected the best and worst in each profile, and a choice model was estimated using conditional logistic regression, which was also stratified and compared across patients and caregivers. Respondents also indicated that they would accept each of the prototype SFDs if it were real. These acceptance data and net monetary benefits (relative to the least preferred SFD) were explored. Results: There were 633 eligible respondents; 493 (78%) completed at least one task. Responses indicated that 346 (68%) had epilepsy, and 147 (29%) were primary caregivers or family members of someone with epilepsy. The data show that short forecasting range is the most favored among experimental attributes, followed by mid forecasting range and notification of high chance of seizure. Having the device implanted is the least favorable attribute. Stated preferences differed between patients and caregivers (p < 0.001) for range of forecasting and inaccuracy of device. Caregivers preferred any range of forecasting, regardless of length, more than patients. Patients cared less about inaccuracy of the device compared to caregivers. The groups also differ in impact of fear of having seizures (versus actually having seizures) (p = 0.034) and on device acceptance. The acceptance of devices ranged from 42.3% to 95%, with caregivers being more likely to use a device (p < 0.05) for the majority of device profiles. Acceptance of devices varied with net monetary benefit of the best device being $717.44 more per month relative to the least preferred device. Conclusion: Our finding extends previous calls for seizure forecasting devices by demonstrating the value that they might provide to patients and caregivers affected by epilepsy and the feature that might be most and least desirable. In addition to guiding device development, the data can help inform regulatory decisions makers.

  • The epilepsy community desires a seizure forecasting device that can accurately gauge the likelihood of a seizure
  • It is crucial to incorporate the patient voice in the development of seizure forecasting devices.
  • Preferences for and willingness to use a forecasting device differ between patients and caregivers.
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Pilot Test of a Computer-Based System to Help Family Caregivers of Dementia Patients

Background: Family members absorb much of the care of dementia patients. The burden of care substantially impacts caregivers' health, further straining our healthcare system. By 2050, the incidence of Alzheimer's disease will more than double, increasing the numbers of family caregivers proportionally. Interventions that reduce their burden are needed to preserve their health as well as the viability of the healthcare system.; Objective: This paper reports on the development and feasibility testing of a computer-based system intended to improve the lives of caregivers. D-CHESS (Dementia-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System) allows users to obtain information, communicate with other caregivers, get help with care decisions, and share information with experts.; Method: Thirty-one caregivers were randomly assigned to an intervention group receiving D-CHESS for 6 months or to a control group receiving a caregiving book. Surveys at 0, 2, 4, and 6 months evaluated caregiver burden, family conflict, satisfaction with decisions, social support, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and coping competence.; Results: Survey findings suggest D-CHESS participants may perform better on measures of social support, anxiety, loneliness, and coping competence; the groups were equivalent on caregiver burden, decision satisfaction, and depression, and the control group reported less family conflict than the intervention. D-CHESS use data suggested enhancements to system design and content to increase awareness and use of various features.; Conclusion: This study suggests that D-CHESS has potential to positively impact family caregivers and that the system merits further development and investigation with a full-scale clinical trial.

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Factors influencing the adoption of Smart Health technologies for people with dementia and their informal caregivers: Scoping review and design framework

Background: Smart Health technologies (s-Health technologies) are being developed to support people with dementia (PwD) and their informal caregivers at home, to improve care and reduce the levels of burden and stress they experience. However, although s-Health technologies have the potential to facilitate this, the factors influencing a successful implementation in this population are still unknown. Objective: The aim of this study was to review existing literature to explore the factors influencing PwD and their informal caregivers’ adoption of s-Health technologies for home care. Methods: Following the Arksey and O’Malley methodology, this study is a scoping review providing a narrative description of the scientific literature on factors influencing s-Health technology adoption for PwD and their informal caregivers. A search was conducted using PubMed, the Cochrane library, the IEEE library, and Scopus. Publications screening was conducted by 2 researchers based on inclusion criteria, and full-text analysis was then conducted by 1 researcher. The included articles were thematically analyzed by 2 researchers to gain an insight into factors influencing adoption that PwD and their informal caregivers have to encounter when using s-Health technologies. Relevant information was identified and coded. Codes were later discussed between the researchers for developing and modifying them and for achieving a consensus, and the researchers organized the codes into broader themes. Results: Emerging themes were built in a way that said something specific and meaningful about the research question, creating a list of factors influencing the adoption of s-Health technologies for PwD and their informal caregivers, including attitudinal aspects, ethical issues, technology-related challenges, condition-related challenges, and identified gaps. A design framework was created as a guide for future research and innovation in the area of s-Health technologies for PwD and their informal caregivers: DemDesCon for s-Health Technologies. DemDesCon for s-Health Technologies addresses 4 domains to consider for the design and development of s-Health technologies for this population: cognitive decline domain, physical decline domain, social domain, and development domain. Conclusions: Although s-Health technologies have been used in health care scenarios, more work is needed for them to fully achieve their potential for use in dementia care. Researchers, businesses, and public governments need to collaborate to design and implement effective technology solutions for PwD and their informal caregivers, but the lack of clear design guidelines seems to be slowing the process. We believe that the DemDesCon framework will provide them with the guidance and assistance needed for creating meaningful devices for PwD home care and informal caregivers, filling a much-needed space in the present knowledge gap.

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Providing Support for Caregiver Communication Burden: Assessing the Plain Language Planner Resource As a Nursing Intervention

Objective: To elicit informal caregiver feedback about an mHealth resource and it's potential as a nurse-delivered intervention for caregiver communication support.; Data Sources: Four focus groups with current oncology caregivers that involved caregiver use of the resource and response to a video demonstrating the resource as a nursing intervention. A brief assessment of the resource was collected for triangulation of data.; Conclusion: Caregivers rated the resource as overwhelmingly positive and reported that use of the resource gave an increased sense of preparedness. Caregivers shared ideas for future expansion of the resource, highlighted the need for user-responsive design, and described the need for a caregiver-centered tool.; Implications For Nursing Practice: Communicating complex terminology relating to treatment, side effects, and symptoms requires resources to meet health literacy needs. A nursing protocol for using the resource is provided based on feedback collected from caregivers.

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State of Caring 2019: A snapshot of unpaid care in the UK

Carers UK carried out an online survey between March and May 2019. A total of 8,069 carers and former carers responded to the survey – we have only included responses from the 7,525 people who are currently providing care in this report. Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey were more likely to be female and caring for a high number of hours every week. Of respondents to the survey:

  • 73% live in England, 10% live in Scotland, 9% live in Northern Ireland, and 8% live in Wales.
  • 81% identify as female and 18% identify as male.
  • 24% consider themselves to have a disability.
  • 1% are aged 0–24, 4% are aged 25–34, 13% are aged 35–44, 30% are aged 45–54, 32% are aged 55– 64, 14% are aged 65–74, and 5% are aged 75 and over. 
  • 3% identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • 5% described their ethnicity as black or minority ethnic.
  • 20% also have childcare responsibilities for a non-disabled child under 18. 
  • 39% are in paid work. Of those, 47% work full-time and 53% part-time. 
  • 31% have been caring for 15 years or more, 15% for between 10–14 years, 24% for 5–9 years, 26% for 1–4 years, and just 4% have been caring for less than one year. 
  • 46% care for 90 or more hours every week, while 17% care for 50–89 hours, 23% care for 20–49 hours, and 13% care for 1–19 hours a week. 
  • Most (74%) care for one person, 20% care for two people, 5% for three people, and 2% care for four or more people. 

As not all respondents completed every questions in the survey, a number of the figures given in this report, including those presented in this Appendix, are based upon responses from fewer than 7,525 carers. This, together with the sample sizes of different groups, should be taken into consideration when reading the results.

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Innovative Tools to Support Family Caregivers of Persons with Cancer: The Role of Information Technology

Objectives: To describe the current evidence of studies examining the use of information technology for family caregivers of persons with cancer. We highlight emerging technologies and trends and discuss ethical and practical implications.; Data Sources: Review scientific studies and systematic reviews of technology use to support caregivers of persons with cancer.; Conclusion: The evidence base is growing; however, more studies are needed to test the effectiveness of technology.; Implications For Nursing Practice: Several tools have potential to provide support to family caregivers but the selection of such tools needs to address access, privacy, interoperability, and usability considerations.

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Process evaluation of a social support platform ‘Inlife’ for caregivers of people with dementia

Introduction Informal caregivers of persons with dementia have an increased risk of facing social isolation. Online social media interventions might offer a new opportunity to increase access to social support. An online social support platform, ‘Inlife’, was developed and launched in the Netherlands to enhance social support, positive interactions and information sharing in informal support networks. Objective A process evaluation was performed to evaluate the internal and external validity of the Inlife intervention. Methods Implementation, sampling and intervention quality were evaluated by both qualitative and quantitative methods. Analyses were performed using descriptive statistics and inductive content analysis. Analyses were conducted following participants' completion of the intervention after 16 weeks. Results The overall participation rate in the study was 27% (96/351). The Inlife intervention was generally well-received by the primary caregivers. Inlife facilitated empowerment, openness, involvement, and efficient care organization. Still, adherence was not optimal for all Inlife users. Determinants for Inlife use were identified on the level of the Inlife innovation, the users, and the socio-political context. Conclusions Inlife was evaluated as a useful instrument for efficient central care coordination and mutual involvement. This study emphasizes that the personal attitudes of the Inlife users to seek and provide support warrant attention, next to the characteristics of the actual Inlife innovation for optimal intervention uptake. Online and offline support might be integrated to raise awareness of caregiver social support needs and attitudes and provide insight into caregivers' available social capital. Trial registration Dutch trial register NTR6131, Registered on 20 October 2016.

  • Users found that Inlife increased empowerment, openness, involvement, and efficient care organization.
  • Lower adherence rates may have affected internal and external validity.
  • Determinants for Inlife use were found at the level of the innovation, the users, and the socio-political context.
  • Implementation strategies should focus on attitudes and barriers of Inlife’s users, as well as Inlife’s characteristics.
  • Offline guidance might be integrated to raise awareness of caregivers’ social capital, their support needs and barriers.
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Systematic review of patient and caregivers’ satisfaction with telehealth videoconferencing as a mode of service delivery in managing patients’ health

Telehealth is an alternative method of delivering health care to people required to travel long distances for routine health care. The aim of this systematic review was to examine whether patients and their caregivers living in rural and remote areas are satisfied with telehealth videoconferencing as a mode of service delivery in managing their health. A protocol was registered with PROSPERO international prospective register of systematic reviews (#CRD42017083597) and conducted in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. A systematic search of Ovid Medline, Embase, CINAHL, ProQuest Health Research Premium Collection, Joanna Briggs Institute and the Cochrane Library was conducted. Studies of people living in rural and remote areas who attended outpatient appointments for a health condition via videoconference were included if the studies measured patient and/or caregivers’ satisfaction with telehealth. Data on satisfaction was extracted and descriptively synthesised. Methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using a modified version of the McMaster Critical Review Forms for Quantitative or Qualitative Studies. Thirty-six studies of varying study design and quality met the inclusion criteria. The outcomes of satisfaction with telehealth were categorised into system experience, information sharing, consumer focus and overall satisfaction. There were high levels of satisfaction across all these dimensions. Despite these positive findings, the current evidence base lacks clarity in terms of how satisfaction is defined and measured. People living in rural and remote areas are generally satisfied with telehealth as a mode of service delivery as it may improve access to health care and avoid the inconvenience of travel.

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Towards sustainable family care: using goals to reframe the user-centred design of technologies to support carers

Technology has been identified as an important strategy in making caring sustainable. This article takes the design process for carer support technology as a lens on the divergent definitions that are in play when governments, technology developers and carers contemplate 'sustainability'. We argue that a central impediment to finding a productive point of overlap among the three perspectives is a predominant focus on carers' needs. We contrast this needs-based approach, and its focus on doing the tasks of care, with a goal-oriented approach focused on being in relationships. Reframing the conversation around goals is important to achieving truly sustainable caring.

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A forgotten Army: Coping as a carer

Unpaid carers are the backbone of our society who often go unrecognised for their dedication and compassion. They face a range of challenges as they attempt to juggle their work-life-care responsibilities. That’s why we decided to commission YouGov to conduct a UK-wide research project focused on identifying gaps in support and sought to understand the views of unpaid carers.

Key findings

The impacts of loneliness, poor mental and physical health, financial worries and a lack of flexibility to learn or train are placing unpaid carers under increasing strain.

  • Two thirds (64%) of carers were most likely to feel the effect of caring on their social life, causing loneliness, which most commonly manifested as a result of having less time to themselves (48%), socialising less (47%) and generally having less contact with others (41%).
  • The next most common impact was mental ill health (49%). This included increased stress (42%), anxiety (33%) and depression (27%).
  • Almost half (45%) mentioned impacts that caring had on their family life, most notably spending less time with family.
  • Two in five carers reported an impact of caring on their physical health, most often mentioning tiredness (35%), trouble in sleeping (28%) and reduced fitness (20%).
  • More than two in five (44%) unpaid carers noted the impact of caring on their financial situation. The qualitative phase of the research also revealed many hidden costs of caring, including paying for medical supplies and transport to and from appointments.
  • Three in ten unpaid carers aged 16-34 said that their education or training had been affected.

When carers were asked about their support needs, a sizable majority (74%) of carers felt that further support in some form would be useful to them, with a common desire for emotional support (33%). Carers also sought information and advice about the support available, respite care, and finances. Our report also found that there was a need for advice about maintaining good mental and emotional health, shining a light on the often unexpected levels of stress, isolation and despondency felt by unpaid carers.

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Caregiver Communication About Cancer: Development of a mhealth resource to support family caregiver communication burden

Objective: The aim of this study is to illustrate an evidence-based and theoretically informed mhealth resource (smartphone app) designed to provide communication support for informal cancer caregivers (friends or family members). Methods: An eight-step process was conducted: (a) review of existing print resources, (b) selection of theoretical framework for content development, (c) integration of stakeholder feedback and literacy assessment into an alpha print model, (d) review of existing mhealth resources, (e) development of prototype, (f) assessment of caregiver acceptability (n = 5), (g) assessment of quality and perceived impact by cancer providers (n = 26), and (h) acceptability testing with caregivers (n = 6). Results: Key stakeholders were integrated throughout development and user testing of this iOS smartphone app. The smartphone app consists of talking tips and resources for caregiver communication with the patient, family, far away family, and health care providers, as well as general information sharing features. Conclusions: This study demonstrates feasibility and development of an evidence-based and theory-driven mhealth resource to support caregiver communication about cancer. This is the first theory-driven mhealth application created to support the communication burden experienced by cancer caregivers. A larger study is needed to establish the efficacy of the app as an intervention for caregivers. 

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Feasibility and Acceptability of Distress Screening for Family Caregivers at a Cancer Surgery Center

OBJECTIVES: To determine the feasibility and acceptability of a validated electronic distress screening program for cancer caregivers. SAMPLE & SETTING: 17 informal caregivers presenting with a patient with cancer to an ambulatory cancer surgery center. METHODS & VARIABLES: Caregivers completed the CancerSupportSource®--Caregiver screening and a brief semistructured interview concerning the screening. RESULTS: Caregivers described the screening as straightforward and comprehensive. They endorsed concerns about their self-care needs but were most likely to request information or a referral for patient-focused concerns. Referrals generated from the program are likely viably addressed with existing supportive care resources. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Brief, caregiverfocused distress screening is perceived positively by caregivers. Caregivers indicated that they felt it validated the importance of their role and highlighted the hospital's efforts to continually improve care. This screening program may be particularly beneficial in ambulatory surgical centers to efficiently identify caregivers with concerns and provide a point of entry to remediate these concerns. 

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Using a six-step co-design model to develop and test a peer-led web-based resource (PLWR) to support informal carers of cancer patients

Objective: To co-design and test the acceptability of a peer-led web-based resource (PLWR) for cancer carers to provide practical and emotional advice on common issues. Methods: A six-step co-design model informed PLWR development. Content was developed through three cancer carer workshops and monthly meetings with an expert advisory team (n = 12). User-testing was conducted via web-based survey and telephone interview. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were utilised. Google analytics explored site visits, commonly used components, and time spent using the PLWR. Results: The PLWR was developed to deliver cancer carer information tailored to each stage of the illness trajectory regardless of cancer type, in the form of videoed personal experiences. From November to May 2018, there were 2789 unique visits to the PLWR with 743 returners. The majority of time was spent on the full unclipped peer stories (414 views), and diagnosis-specific information (159 views), with less time spent on bereavement, cancer treatment, or self-care (120 views each). Fifty-five individuals completed the resource evaluation, with 10 participating in telephone interviews. Fifty-four carers rated the resource as excellent, useful, and easy to use. The web-based videos were regarded as convenient as and less burdensome than written information. The resource provided relevant information, potentially reducing isolation and uncertainty. Conclusion: The content and design of the PLWR appear acceptable to cancer carers. The co-design model is an effective way to develop appropriate information for service users and could be utilised as a framework for development of other interventions in a variety of disease groups.

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Resources for the Family Caregiver: A Review of the Family Caregiver Alliance and the AARP Caregiving Resource Center

The rate of family caregiving is steadily increasing as baby boomers retire and their loved ones step into the role as family caregiver. Whether caregiving is a sudden or anticipated role, caregivers are often unsure of where to turn for information or aide, and face many challenges including stress, depression, anxiety, and financial burdens. Credible, easy, and useful online resources are abundant, and the Family Caregiver Alliance and the AARP Caregiving Resources Center are no exception. Each provide excellent starting points for caregivers new to the role, or seasoned caregivers seeking additional information. Other sources compliment these pivotal sites, but each can stand alone as a primary source for family caregiving information.

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Acceptance and treatment effects of an internet‐delivered cognitive‐behavioral intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia: A randomized‐controlled trial

Objectives: The study evaluated the efficacy of an internet‐delivered cognitive‐behavioral intervention for caregivers of people with dementia and examined acceptance of program characteristics. Method: Thirty‐nine caregivers (Mage = 62.11 ± 9.67, 78.4% female) were enrolled in a 2 × 3 randomized‐controlled trial (RCT) that compared an intervention and wait‐list control group. A cognitive‐behavioral intervention program was adapted for delivery via an internet platform. Participants exchanged eight weekly messages with a therapist. Results: Treatment satisfaction and acceptance of the program were high. Well‐being increased over the intervention duration and intervention group participants were better able to cope with the anticipated death of the care recipient and utilized more psychosocial resources after the intervention ended. Effects were not maintained until follow‐up and there were no treatment effects for depression and burden of care. Conclusions: Internet‐delivered cognitive‐behavioral interventions are suitable for caregivers. A larger RCT needs to investigate possible combinations of classic and internet‐delivered programs and confirm efficacy.

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Online Resources: What Family Carers Think

In 2018, a survey found that 82% of the Irish population, across all age groups, had used the internet in some way in the three months preceding the survey (Central Statistics Office, 2018). Ninety-seven percent of those aged between 16 and 29, and nearly half of those aged between 60 and 74, had done so. It is clear, then, that  increasingly the internet is becoming a tool that must be understood and utilised as a viable way to supplement supports for family carers.

In order to discover how family carers in Ireland are using – and could be using – online services and supports, Care Alliance Ireland (in consultation with the National Carers Week partner organisations) undertook a survey of Irish family carers in April 2019.

300 family carers responded online, and a summary of their responses are included here. The purpose of this report is to highlight how family carers are using the internet to connect with others, to get supports and information from not-for-profit and statutory agencies, and to manage their lives as family carers. It should be noted that this is not a representative sample of Irish family carers – the survey was administered online and disseminated via the National Carers Week Facebook page and other online channels.

Internet supports are not, of course, a substitute for significant one-to-one supports. There will always be a need for the timely and adequate provision of in-home respite, therapies and all the other supports which are necessary to create a positive environment for a family carer to provide the best possible care to a family member or friend. However, if used in conjunction with existing supports they can be a source of peer support and a way to tackle the social isolation and loneliness that many family carers experience – in particular in rural and geographically isolated locations.

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Longitudinal Outcomes Among Family Caregivers of Power Mobility Users

Objective: To examine the change over 1 year in the burden, wheelchair skills, social support, social participation, and mental health of family caregivers providing assistance to older adult powered wheelchair users.; Design: Longitudinal study.; Setting: Community.; Participants: Participants (N=35) included family caregivers (mean age ± SD=63.7±10.2y) who provided at least 2 hours of general care per week for a powered wheelchair user.; Intervention: Not applicable.; Main Outcome Measures: The Power Mobility Caregiver Assistive Technology Outcome Measure (frequency of care and subjective burden), the Wheelchair Skills Test Questionnaire for caregivers (wheelchair skills), the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List-6 (social support), the Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument (social participation), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (mental health). Measures were taken at baseline, 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and a linear mixed model was used to assess changes over time in the outcomes.; Results: The results showed that the caregivers helped on average with 3 powered wheelchair-related activities and 10 other caregiving activities. They also experienced moderate subjective burden and social participation and were within the normal range for depression and anxiety. Moreover, those outcomes remained stable over the 1-year study period. However, the wheelchair skills scores showed significant changes over time, as the scores improved during the first 6 months of the study.; Conclusion: Given that previous research indicated that subjective burden tends to decline over time among caregivers, the findings of stability in this study may reflect increasing needs among this population of caregivers, who may benefit from additional support and interventions. This would need further consideration.

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A Tablet App- and Sensor-Based Assistive Technology Intervention for Informal Caregivers to Manage the Challenging Behavior of People With Dementia (the insideDEM Study): Protocol for a Feasibility Study

Background: Despite the enormous number of assistive technologies (ATs) in dementia care, the management of challenging behavior (CB) of persons with dementia (PwD) by informal caregivers in home care is widely disregarded. The first-line strategy to manage CB is to support the understanding of the underlying causes of CB to formulate individualized nonpharmacological interventions. App- and sensor-based approaches combining multimodal sensors (actimetry and other modalities) and caregiver information are innovative ways to support the understanding of CB for family caregivers.; Objective: The main aim of this study is to describe the design of a feasibility study consisting of an outcome and a process evaluation of a newly developed app- and sensor-based intervention to manage CB of PwD for family caregivers at home.; Methods: In this feasibility study, we perform an outcome and a process evaluation with a pre-post descriptive design over an 8-week intervention period. The Medical Research Council framework guides the design of this feasibility study. The data on 20 dyads (primary caregiver and PwD) are gathered through standardized questionnaires, protocols, and log files as well as semistructured qualitative interviews. The outcome measures (neuropsychiatric inventory and Cohen-Mansfield agitation inventory) are analyzed by using descriptive statistics and statistical tests relevant to the individual assessments (eg, chi-square test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test). For the analysis of the process data, the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology is used. Log files are analyzed by using descriptive statistics, protocols are analyzed by using documentary analysis, and semistructured interviews are analyzed deductively using content analysis.; Results: The newly developed app- and sensor-based AT has been developed and was evaluated until July in 2018. The recruitment of dyads started in September 2017 and was concluded in March 2018. The data collection was completed at the end of July 2018.; Conclusions: This study presents the protocol of the first feasibility study to encompass an outcome and process evaluation to assess a complex app- and sensor-based AT combining multimodal actimetry sensors for informal caregivers to manage CB. The feasibility study will provide in-depth information about the study procedure and on how to optimize the design of the intervention and its delivery.; International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11630.

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Caring by telecare? A hermeneutic study of experiences among older adults and their family caregivers

Aims and Objectives: To obtain a deeper understanding of the persistent use of telecare for older adults and their family caregivers.; Background: Telecare is seen as part of the solution in home care services for ageing in place. Previous studies have shown that telecare is a complex intervention, and there is still a poor understanding of older adults' and their family caregivers' experience with the use of telecare.; Design: This study used a qualitative hermeneutic research approach.; Method: Interviews were conducted with 18 older adults and follow-up interviews were conducted with 15 participants after 5-6 months of use. In addition, interviews were conducted with seven close family caregivers. The COREQ checklist was used.; Results: The older adults expressed increased safety, security and independence. Although some of them experienced challenges, they continued to use the services. Furthermore, the findings revealed needs that telecare could not cover. Family caregivers reported that telecare eased their concern for a time. However, they felt increased responsibility which led to ambivalent feelings between wanting to comply with the older adults' desire to live at home and the stress and concern this caused.; Conclusion: Telecare does improve care offered by home care services. However, it must be considered in the context of assistance and other measures and be provided in response to each individual's specific needs. Family caregivers may benefit from telecare, but telecare may also add to their care burden.; Relevance To Clinical Practice: There is a need for increased knowledge and information about telecare and for follow-up from home care services. Family caregivers are important for promoting sustainable use, but a support system and better cooperation with home care services is needed.

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Caring for the person with cancer and the role of digital technology in supporting carers

Purpose: Informal carers may experience a range of unmet needs during the caring period and, at times, lack support to adequately manage care of the person with cancer and balance personal family and work commitments. The aim of this study was to understand the needs of informal carers of people with cancer and how digital technology may be used to address carers' needs.; Methods: Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 45 carers. Carers discussed supports and services they used to address their needs, barriers to accessing support, and how digital technology could assist in meeting their needs.; Results: Carers used informal support such as friends and family and formal support including respite and community groups during the caring period. Barriers to accessing support included reluctance to seek external help, sensitivities associated with prioritising carers' needs over patients' needs, and the adequacy of information received. Technology was reported to have the potential to allow carers' privacy to seek support; however, carers' attitudes towards technology differed.; Conclusions: Carers require support during the caring period to help balance their own needs with the needs of the person receiving cancer treatment. Digital technology may provide an opportunity to deliver support to carers; however, further research is needed to assess the appropriateness of these interventions to inform improved health outcomes for this vulnerable group.

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Efficacy of Internet-Delivered Mindfulness for Improving Depression in Caregivers of People With Spinal Cord Injuries and Chronic Neuropathic Pain: A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial

Objectives: To explore the feasibility and efficacy of web-based mindfulness training for carers of people with spinal cord injury (SCI).; Design: Randomized controlled feasibility study with 3-month follow-up.; Setting: Community setting.; Participants: Spouses or family caregivers (N=55) of people with SCI and chronic neuropathic pain were recruited via the direct care team and advertisements. Participants were older than 18 years (no upper age limit), with Internet access for the duration of the study. Participants were randomly allocated to an 8-week online mindfulness training intervention (n=28), or to receive 8 weeks of psychoeducational materials on SCI and chronic pain (n=27).; Interventions: An established web-based, mindfulness training course was delivered over 8 weeks. Participants completed 10 minutes of mindfulness practices, twice per day, 6 days per week, totaling 960 minutes. The control group received a weekly e-mail with psychoeducational materials (based on the established elements) on SCI and pain for 8 weeks.; Main Outcome Measure: Depression severity.; Results: Mindfulness reduced depression severity more than psychoeducation at T2 (mean difference= -.891; 95% confidence interval,-1.48 to -.30) and T3 (mean difference=-1.96; 95% confidence interval, -2.94 to -.97). Mindfulness training also reduced anxiety at T2 (mean difference=-.888; 95% confidence interval, -1.40 to -.38) and T3 (mean difference=-2.44; 95% confidence interval, -3.20 to -1.69).; Conclusions: Results indicate that Internet-delivered mindfulness training offers unique benefits and is viable for caregivers of people with SCI and chronic neuropathic pain. Further work should explore the feasibility of combined education and mindfulness training incorporating both patient and caregiver, for optimum benefit.

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Six-Month Effectiveness of Remote Activity Monitoring for Persons Living With Dementia and Their Family Caregivers: An Experimental Mixed Methods Study

Background and Objectives This study aimed to evaluate if and how remote activity monitoring (RAM) improves caregiver outcomes for family members providing care for persons living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia (ADRD). Research Design and Methods We conducted an embedded experimental mixed methods study of 132 persons living with ADRD and their family caregivers (n = 64 randomly assigned to RAM treatment condition). In addition to baseline and 6-month quantitative survey data on context of care, primary objective stressors, resources, self-efficacy/competence, and distress collected from caregivers, 6-month RAM review checklists contained open-ended, qualitative information on perceived acceptability of the technology. Results The RAM system did not exert statistically significant effects on caregiving outcomes over a 6-month period. However, qualitative analyses identified several potential moderators of RAM technology effectiveness that were subsequently tested in post-hoc repeated measures analyses of variance. Caregivers who utilized RAM technology and cared for relatives with: (a) less severe cognitive impairment; and (b) difficulty navigating around the home were more likely to indicate statistically significant increases in competence and self-efficacy, respectively. Discussion and Implications We found that the early months spent calibrating and modifying RAM are potentially challenging for families, which may prevent this technology from improving caregiving outcomes during initial months of use. Remote activity monitoring may work optimally for caregivers of persons living with ADRD in specific situations (e.g. earlier stages of dementia; wandering risk), which suggests the need for appropriate needs assessments that can better target such innovations.

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Telephone interventions, delivered by healthcare professionals, for providing education and psychosocial support for informal caregivers of adults with diagnosed illnesses

Plain language summary

Background Caregivers providing care to a family member, friend, or neighbour experience the role in differing ways. Some caregivers may find themselves in a caring role for which they are ill prepared and professional support is essential. This review examined whether telephone support interventions delivered by healthcare professionals had positive benefits on a range of outcomes including quality of life, burden (the experience of strain or load), skill acquisition (e.g. problem‐solving), psychological health (e.g. depression), knowledge, physical health, family functioning, satisfaction, or cost, for unpaid caregivers in the community. A telephone support intervention is one that is delivered via the telephone and designed to provide knowledge, advice, or help to caregivers to enable them to manage their own well‐being or that of the person they care for. It is an easily accessible method of providing support irrespective of geographical location. Studies that compared telephone support to usual care or to non‐telephone‐based professional support interventions were included.

Study characteristics We included 21 studies involving 1,690 caregivers caring for persons with a range of diagnosed conditions. Caregiver ages ranged from 19 years to 87 years. Most were female and caring for a family member. The majority were spouses, in particular wives, except for one study that mainly focused on adult children. Most caregivers had greater than secondary school education. Eighteen studies reported funding from reputable sources.

Key results Nineteen studies (18 studies contributing data) compared telephone support interventions and usual care. Telephone support interventions probably have little or no effect on caregiver quality of life (4 studies, 364 caregivers) and may have little effect on burden (9 studies, 788 caregivers) compared to usual care on completion of the intervention. Although anxiety may be slightly reduced and preparedness to care slightly improved following the intervention, we are uncertain about the effects on depression and overall, telephone interventions may have little or no effect on the outcomes assessed by this review. High satisfaction with the intervention was reported in six studies that measured this outcome, but no comparative data from usual care groups was reported. Two studies compared telephone and non‐telephone‐based support interventions. There may be little or no evidence of an effect of telephone support when compared non‐telephone‐based support interventions for any reported outcome. No adverse events were measured or reported in any of the included studies.

Quality of evidence The quality of the evidence was assessed as very low to moderate across outcomes, thus reducing confidence in the findings. Many of the results were based on data from single studies with few participants. Larger well‐designed studies are required to determine the effects of telephone support interventions.

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Informal caregiving experiences in posttraumatic stress disorder: A content analysis of an online community

This study explored the experiences of individuals who self‐identify as providing support to a friend, family member, or significant other with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We analyzed and coded a total of 345 posts from an online support forum, with reference to 13 categories (finances, life interference, venting/emotional expression, maltreatment, sexual behavior, distress, prevented expression, physical health, communication, no personal space, isolation, and compassion fatigue). Categories for coding were established a priori and based on previous literature about caregiving and supporting. Results suggested that informal PTSD caregivers experience concerns involving interpersonal relations, emotional turmoil, and barriers to care for themselves and the individual they are caring for. This study provides a preliminary examination of the experiences and concerns of PTSD caregivers. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed. 

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Evaluation of Technology-Based Interventions for Informal Caregivers of Patients With Dementia-A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the efficacy of technology-based interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia (PWD). Methods: PubMed, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library databases were searched in August 2018, with no restrictions in language or publication date. Two independent reviewers identified 33 eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducting a technology-based intervention for informal carers of PWD. Meta-analyses for the outcome measures caregiver depression and caregiver burden were conducted with subgroup analyses according to mode of delivery (telephone, computer/web-based, combined interventions). To assess methodologic quality, the Cochrane risk-of-bias assessment was rated. Results: Meta-analyses revealed a small but significant postintervention effect of technology-based interventions for caregiver depression and caregiver burden. Combined interventions showed the strongest effects. Conclusion: Technology-based interventions have the potential to support informal caregivers of PWD. Because of advantages such as high flexibility and availability, technology-based interventions provide a promising alternative compared with "traditional services," e.g., those for people living in rural areas. More high-quality RCTs for specific caregiver groups are needed.

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Telephone-based aftercare groups for family carers of people with dementia: study protocol of the Talking Time - REHAB project

Background: More than one million people in Germany live with dementia. Most of these people are cared for at home in the family setting. Supporting and caring for people with dementia is time-consuming, and family carers often have high stress levels and are at an increased risk of becoming physically and mentally ill. Medical rehabilitation (rehab) helps to relieve family carers and provide them with strategies to cope with stress. The aim of this study is to improve the sustainability of a multimodal rehab program for family carers of people with dementia.; Research Question: can the effects of this rehab be maintained through telephone-based aftercare groups following the rehab program?; Methods: A prospective randomized controlled longitudinal trial is performed. The intervention group (IG) participates in telephone-based aftercare groups; the control group (CG) receives treatment as usual. For evaluation, a mixed-methods approach is used. The effects of the intervention are quantitatively evaluated by written questionnaires at four measuring points (pre- and post-rehab, as well as 6 and 12 months after the end of rehab).; Primary Outcome: participation (IMET).; Secondary Outcomes: Depressive Mood State CES-D, General Complaints SCL-90-R, Subjective Quality of Life WHOQUOL-BREF, Social Support F-SozU, performance in different areas of life, single scales, and support offers (single items). The intervention process is evaluated through qualitative interviews and focus groups with regard to the acceptance of and satisfaction with the aftercare offered; in addition, a health economic evaluation is performed using the EQ-5D questionnaire. Rehabilitants are included in the study (N = 103 each in the IG and CG) who, accompanied by their family members with dementia, participate in the rehab measure in Ratzeburg. The IG participates monthly in 6 telephone aftercare groups over a period of 6 months. Typical stress situations are discussed and worked on.; Discussion: Upon successful evaluation, the offer to participate in telephone-based aftercare groups can be firmly established in the participating rehab clinic. Through minor adjustments, the offer would also be suitable for carers of physically ill people and for non-nursing-specific rehabilitation indications.; Trial Registration: German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00013736 , May 14, 2018.

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Brief telephone counselling is effective for caregivers who do not experience any major life events - caregiver-related outcomes of the German day-care study

Background: To date, there has been a dearth of scientifically tested, established intervention concepts focussed on supporting informal caregivers and embedded in routine health care structures. The aim of this study was to assess effects of a brief telephone intervention for caregivers of persons with cognitive impairment (PCIs) on caregivers' depressiveness and subjective burden.; Methods: A two-arm cluster-randomised controlled intervention study was carried out at 32 German day-care centres. During the six-month intervention period, informal caregivers in the intervention group (n = 205) received counselling in three phone calls focussed on stress reduction, development of self-management strategies, and how to deal with challenging behaviours. Both the control group (n = 154) and the intervention group were free to take part in any support programmes offered by the German Health Care System (TAU). Caregivers' subjective burden and depressiveness were measured with the Burden Scale for Family Caregivers - short version (BSFC-s) and the WHO-5 Well-Being Index (WHO-5). Outcomes were assessed by means of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATIs) at baseline and at the end of the six-month intervention phase. Multiple regression analyses were used to show the influence of group allocation.; Results: After the intervention phase, group allocation was not found to significantly predict caregivers' subjective burden or depressiveness. The baseline scores (p < 0.001) were the only significant predictors of change in both outcomes. However, sensitivity analyses for caregivers who did not experience any events that they felt were major (in a negative or positive sense) during the six months (n = 271) showed that group allocation (p < 0.05) was a significant predictor of positive change in both outcomes (BSFC-s: Δ-1.3, [- 2.4, - 0.3], Cohen's d = 0.27; WHO-5: Δ1.5, [0.4, 2.7], Cohen's d = 0.26). Effect sizes were highest in the subgroup of caregivers of people with mild dementia (BSFC-s: Cohen's d = 0.43; WHO-5: Cohen's d = 0.42).; Conclusions: A "low-dose" psychoeducative telephone intervention designed to empower caregivers is effective, especially in an early stage, if the overlap between the effect of the intervention and the effect of events that are experienced as major events in the caregiver's life is considered.; Trial Registration: Identifier: ISRCTN16412551 (Registration date: 30 July 2014, registered retrospectively).

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Psychological outcomes of eCare technologies use for informal carers: A scoping study

Background The use of eCare technologies could address some of the challenges related to demographic changes and decreased care potential. However, little is known about eCare technologies' potential in relation to the psychological outcomes for informal carers. Research aim This study aims to provide an overview of the psychological outcomes of eCare technologies use for informal carers. Methodology A scoping study was done, where peer reviewed papers, written in English, investigating the use of eCare technologies in informal care and their psychological outcomes on informal carers, were included. Non-scientific studies, and studies which focused on psychological counselling or training through the Internet or phone, were excluded. The data search was conducted in Academic search complete, Scopus, ProQuest and Science Direct databases, from 12 October 2017 to 17 October 2017 and included 16 studies published since 2013. Results Six psychological outcomes were identified (peace of mind, reassurance, anxiety, depression, stress and burden). Out of those psychological outcomes, positive outcomes of eCare technologies use for informal carers were counted 37 times and negative outcomes only eight, suggesting a positive prevalent pattern of eCare technologies use for informal carers. Conclusion The outlined interplay between the positive and negative psychological outcomes suggest that the use of eCare technologies in informal care warrants further research, for instance whether the eCare technologies actually fulfil older people and informal carers' needs. 

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An economic evaluation of a telephone outcall intervention for informal carers of cancer patients in Australia: An assessment of costs and quality-adjusted-life-years

Objective: Carers of people with cancer provide uncompensated care that is often physically, emotionally, and financially demanding, which results in neglect of their own health. This study's objective was to conduct an economic evaluation following a randomised control trial (RCT) involving a proactive telephone outcall intervention aimed at improving health outcomes among carers of cancer patients. Methods: The trial was a single-blind, multicentre, RCT conducted across four Australian health services, comprising three outcalls from trained Cancer Council 131120 (Cancer Council telephone and information support services) nurses compared with three phone call reminders of the availability of 131120 services (control group). Outcalls consisted of telephone contacts to the caregivers initiated by the Cancer Council nurses. The primary trial outcome was reduced carer burden. Health care resource use was measured using a resource use questionnaire (RUQ), and costs were presented in 2013 $(AUS). Quality-adjusted-life-years (QALYs) were also used as health outcomes. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated, with bootstrapping used to quantify sampling variability. A $50 000 per QALY-gained willingness-to-pay threshold was used. Sensitivity analyses were conducted. Results: Results showed that the total mean QALYs-gained were higher (0.02 QALYs, P = 0.01) in the control group, and total mean costs were lower in the control group ($477, P < 0.001) over the trial duration. The intervention group was dominated by the control group. Results were robust to sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: Results suggest policy makers should not adopt this intervention into routine health care in its current form. Further research into the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of telephone-based interventions for carers is required. 

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Development of an mHealth application for family carers of people with dementia: A study protocol

Background: The progressive and complex nature of dementia demands carers have specific knowledge and training. However, often carers do not have adequate knowledge and skills, particularly for functional disability care. Aim: This study aims to develop and test the feasibility of an educational and supportive mHealth/smartphone application that addresses the needs of family carers of people with dementia related to functional disability of care recipients. Methods: This mixed method study consists of three phases. In phase one, an online survey and individual interviews with carers will be conducted to assess their needs related to management of functional disability and the development of an mHealth application. Additionally, experts will be consulted to identify their opinions on application development. In phase two, using information from phase one, an mHealth application will be designed and developed. In phase three, a feasibility study will be conducted with carers to identify usability, user adherence, acceptance and experiences with the application. Discussion: This study will generate new knowledge about the needs of carers related to the management of functional disability of people with dementia and the use of smartphones for health-seeking behaviours, and will develop an mHealth application for carers to address the needs related to functional disability care. Conclusion: A mixed method study was designed to develop a user-centred educational and supportive mHealth app for family carers to address needs related to the functional disability of people with dementia consisting of three phases: needs assessment, the designing of the app and a feasibility study.

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Chronic Grief Management: A Live-Streaming Video, Group-Based Intervention for Family Caregivers of Individuals With Dementia in Long-Term Care

Family caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) experience long-term mental health effects. Although caregivers who place relatives in long-term care (LTC) experience increased depression, anxiety, and chronic grief post-placement, interventions to improve caregivers' mental health have focused mainly on in-home care. Current researchers previously tested a group-based Chronic Grief Management Intervention (CGMI) with ADRD caregivers of individuals in LTC, with significant effects on caregiver mental health outcomes. In the current study, researchers adapted the CGMI for synchronous online video using Adobe® ConnectTM and iPads® (Chronic Grief Management—A Live-Streaming, Online Intervention [CGMI-V]). Specific aims were to test feasibility of digital delivery of the CGMI-V and explore caregivers' online group experience. Researchers assessed participants at baseline for sociodemographic information and at the end of the program with a four-item satisfaction survey and focus group. Digital delivery of the CGMI-V was feasible and caregiver satisfaction was high.

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Lifeworld in co-designing with informal carers

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to reflect on carers’ experiences of being involved in the development of a web-based support programme for carers of people with heart failure (CPwHF), and discuss the challenges related to their involvement in the development process. The focus was on the different phases in the project as well as the methodological challenges and opportunities that occurred in the user group sessions conducted. Design/methodology/approach: This research adopt an explorative design studying a co-design process to develop an information and communication technology based support programme for and with CPwHF. Habermas’ concepts of lifeworld and system are used as a theoretical framework to analyse the co-design process employed in the study. Findings: Reflecting on the co-design approach adopted, the findings highlight the methodological challenges that arise with carer involvement and the possible tensions that occur between researchers’ ambitions to include users in the design process, and the goal of developing a product or service, in the different phases of the design process. Originality/value: Findings highlight that there is a tension between the system and lifeworld in the co-design process which are not totally compatible. The paper highlights that there is a need to develop flexible and reflexive human-centred design methodologies, able to meet carers’ needs and ideas, and at the same time balance this with proposed research outcomes. 

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Delivering problem‐solving therapy to family caregivers of people with cancer: A feasibility study in outpatient palliative care

Objective In response to the well‐documented need for evidence‐based cancer caregiver support, we examined the feasibility of problem‐solving therapy for family caregivers of cancer patients receiving outpatient palliative care and investigated the impact of problem‐solving therapy on family caregivers' anxiety, depression, and quality of life. Methods We conducted a feasibility study of a structured problem‐solving therapy intervention delivered to family caregivers of cancer patients receiving outpatient palliative care from an academic health center in the Midwestern United States. Participants (N = 83) were randomly assigned to receive usual care or usual care plus a problem‐solving therapy intervention, which was delivered over three sessions via web‐based videoconferencing or telephone. Descriptive statistics were used to determine feasibility relative to recruitment, retention, and fidelity to core intervention components. Outcome data were analyzed using ordinary least squares multiple regression. Results Problem‐solving therapy for family caregivers of patients with cancer was found to be highly feasible in the outpatient palliative care setting. Caregivers who received problem‐solving therapy reported less anxiety than those who received only usual care (P = 0.03). No statistically significant differences were observed for caregiver depression (P = 0.07) or quality of life (P = 0.06). Conclusions Problem‐solving therapy is a feasible and promising approach to reducing cancer family caregivers' anxiety in the outpatient palliative care setting. Further testing in multiple sites is recommended.

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266User-Centered Design of a Mindfulness Application to Support Older Informal Carers

Background: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have grown in popularity in recent years and have been shown to reduce stress and increase quality of life among older informal carers. A digital application delivering MBIs has been iteratively designed based on user-centered designed principles and aims to support older informal carers to manage stress and sleep. We describe a qualitative study with older informal carers and the resulting digital application. Methods: A qualitative study with 20 older adults took place over a 2-year period. Requirements gathering consisted of focus groups, interviews, and usability testing with older adults and informal carers. A high-fidelity mock-up of an application was designed and user-testing sessions held with five participants to gauge usability and effectiveness. Results: Focus group participants felt stress reduction is a significant issue which affects overall wellbeing, with a consensus that stress can have an adverse effect on sleep. An overarching theme throughout the informal carer interviews was carer burden and the sense of being overwhelmed. The sense of constant worry was a theme that also emerged, which could be addressed by the present moment focus of mindfulness (Helmes & Ward 2015 https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1111862, Visser et al. 2015 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0311-5). Usability testing sessions revealed previously overlooked user experience and interface issues, including icons and data visualizations. Analyses of these user interactions and qualitative feedback allowed for further iterations in the design cycle, meeting guidelines for best practice in a user-centred design approach. Conclusion: Insights from the requirements gathering and testing sessions provided an understanding of parameters of health important to older adults, feelings towards selfmonitoring, preferences for data visualizations, and attitudes to MBIs. The resulting application has been designed for older informal carers to manage stress through MBIs as well as monitor activity and sleep through tracking, data visualizations and educational advice.

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Experiences of patients with stroke and their caregivers with caregiver-mediated exercises during the CARE4STROKE trial

Purpose: Caregiver-mediated exercises are a novel way of delivering augmented exercise therapy for patients with stroke, in which patients do additional therapeutic exercises together with a caregiver. This explorative qualitative study is part of the CARE4STROKE trial and focused on how participants manage these exercises together. The research questions were: (1) how do the patient-caregiver couples exercise together? and (2) what does exercising together bring about, besides more hours of practice?; Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients and caregivers who participated in the CARE4STROKE intervention. Inductive thematic data analysis was applied.; Results: Seven patients and seven caregivers were interviewed. Three different role-dynamics were found during caregiver-mediated exercises: (1) patient in control, (2) in concert, and (3) the caregiver as informal carer. In addition, three themes were identified about what exercising together brings about: (a) tailor-made exercises through active involvement, (b) preparation for the home situation, and (c) opportunity to be involved.; Conclusion: Different role-dynamics are at play in caregiver-mediated exercises, and it is important for participating staff to be aware of their possible effects on the strain of patient or caregiver. Caregiver-mediated exercises were found to enhance individualization of the treatment plan and preparation for home discharge. Implications for rehabilitation Caregiver-mediated exercises, in which a caregiver does exercises with a patient, are currently under investigation as a new form of augmented exercise delivery after stroke Doing exercises together seems to make patient and caregivers actively involved in rehabilitation, which they appreciate, and which seems to help them prepare for the home situation Caregiver selection and monitoring role-dynamics during exercising is an important task of the rehabilitation team.

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Why the caregivers of bipolar patients need to be in constant touch with a physician: A qualitative study of text messages from patient caregivers to a physician

Background: The variety of caregiver's needs of bipolar patients signifies the importance of performing dedicated interventions to help this group of caregivers based on the cultural conditions of the country in which they live; the present study therefore seeks to address this issue through a different method. Methods: The families of 28 patients with bipolar disorder type 1 who were treated for at least two months by a single psychiatrist gradually entered the study over a six-month period. They received the phone number of the psychiatrist in attendance as soon as the patient was in remission according to the same psychiatrist's interview. A total of 1908 texts were sent and received and each family sent an average of 68.14 text messages during the three years, with the minimum being 40 and the maximum 83. All the text messages were transcribed verbatim and were evaluated by three faculty members through the qualitative content analysis method. Results: In this study we found three themes and there were some codes in each theme. 1. The first theme was "Training" which the caregivers requested advice about symptoms and tests, the course of the disease, assurance, medication side-effects and their management, how to stop smoking, how to control high-risk behaviors and double checking appointments with the physician, making for a total of 1079 text messages received. 2. The second theme was "Reporting" which contained a description of emergency symptoms and requesting advice, reporting response or no response to the medications, reporting medication adherence and dosage taken. 3. The third theme: "The expression of feelings" including the expression of gratitude, saying congratulations on national and other celebrations and expressing anger and hatred. Conclusion: Overall, the caregivers of patients with bipolar disorder have many needs; meeting these needs affects the patients' outcome and the caregivers, but requires a greater attention by the healthcare team and it is necessary for these needs to be evaluated in the context of each distinct country.

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Feasibility of implementing an electronic social support and resource visualization tool for caregivers in a neuro-oncology clinic

Purpose: The goals of this study were to assess the feasibility of a web-based application-electronic Social Network Assessment Program (eSNAP)-to automate the capture and visualization of family caregiver social network data of neuro-oncology patients. Methods: Caregivers were recruited from a neuro-oncology clinic at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. Participants completed baseline questionnaires on a laptop in clinic assessing demographic characteristics. After baseline, participants were randomly assigned to either create a social network visualization using eSNAP (intervention) or to usual care (control) condition. Those who used eSNAP provided likeability/usability data. All participants were asked to complete follow-up questionnaires at 3 and 6 weeks after baseline to determine feasibility of longitudinal study. Results: We recruited 40 caregivers of patients with primary malignant brain tumor to participate in this study. Participants rated eSNAP usability and likeability highly, indicating that eSNAP would help them consider their available social support. At 3 weeks, 90% of participants completed questionnaires and 82.5% completed questionnaires at 6 weeks. Conclusions: There is a need to encourage family caregivers of patients with primary malignant brain tumor to engage their existing social network resources to help alleviate caregiver burden. Our findings suggest that our web-based application to address this issue is feasible to implement with high usability and likeability. This pilot study identified minor changes to the intervention to improve effectiveness and has implications for future research in this understudied population.Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov, protocol number NCT03026699.

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Outcomes of an electronic social network intervention with neuro-oncology patient family caregivers

Introduction: Informal family caregivers (FCG) are an integral and crucial human component in the cancer care continuum. However, research and interventions to help alleviate documented anxiety and burden on this group is lacking. To address the absence of effective interventions, we developed the electronic Support Network Assessment Program (eSNAP) which aims to automate the capture and visualization of social support, an important target for overall FCG support. This study seeks to describe the preliminary efficacy and outcomes of the eSNAP intervention.; Methods: Forty FCGs were enrolled into a longitudinal, two-group randomized design to compare the eSNAP intervention in caregivers of patients with primary brain tumors against controls who did not receive the intervention. Participants were followed for six weeks with questionnaires to assess demographics, caregiver burden, anxiety, depression, and social support. Questionnaires given at baseline (T1) and then 3-weeks (T2), and 6-weeks (T3) post baseline questionnaire.; Results: FCGs reported high caregiver burden and distress at baseline, with burden remaining stable over the course of the study. The intervention group was significantly less depressed, but anxiety remained stable across groups.; Conclusions: With the lessons learned and feedback obtained from FCGs, this study is the first step to developing an effective social support intervention to support FCGs and healthcare providers in improving cancer care.;

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Moving family interventions into the real world: What matters to oncology stakeholders?

Background: Family interventions targeting patients and/or informal caregivers are beneficial, but few have been integrated in oncology clinical care. Understanding diverse stakeholder perspectives may inform implementation and dissemination efforts.; Methods: We are currently conducting a randomized controlled trial of CareSTEPS, a telephone-based intervention for caregivers of advanced lung cancer patients. CareSTEPS seeks to improve caregiver and patient self-care behaviors, quality of life, and satisfaction with care. With an eye toward integrating CareSTEPS into clinical care, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 experts in integrated care [practice thought leaders] and 26 individuals representing different oncology stakeholder groups (i.e., potential end users of CareSTEPS including counselors, social workers, nurse specialists, and psychologists) [N = 13], decision-makers, including physicians and administrators [N = 6], and key dissemination partners, including representatives from cancer and caregiving advocacy groups [N = 7]). Questions focused on existing caregiver support services, barriers to integrating care for caregivers in routine patient care, and possible models for clinical uptake and dissemination. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using directed content analysis.; Results: Stakeholders noted a mismatch between caregiver needs and services offered, and expressed interest in broader service offerings. Barriers for integrating caregiver support into clinical care included inadequate funding, lack of interdisciplinary training among providers, and concern that research-based interventions are often not flexible enough to roll out into clinical practice. To secure buy-in, stakeholders noted the importance of evaluating intervention cost, cost savings, and revenue generation. Possible avenues for dissemination, through bottom-up and top-down (e.g., policy change) approaches, were also discussed.; Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of evaluating outcomes important to diverse oncology stakeholder groups to speed translation of research into practice. They also suggest that pragmatic trials are needed that allow for flexibility in the delivery of family interventions and that consider the resource limitations of clinical care.

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Information sharing across generations and environments (InfoSAGE): study design and methodology protocol

Background: Longevity creates increasing care needs for healthcare providers and family caregivers. Increasingly, the burden of care falls to one primary caregiver, increasing stress and reducing health outcomes. Additionally, little has been published on adults', over the age of 75, preferences in the development of health information sharing with family members using online platforms. This study aims to assess a novel, Internet based, family-centric communication and collaboration platform created to address the information needs of elders and their informal caregivers in a community setting.; Methods: This study is an internet-based, open prospective cohort study, enrolling dyad pairs of one adult over the age of 75 with one informal caregiver. Dyads will be offered to use the InfoSAGE online platform without prospective assignment. Participants will consent using an online process that enables participation from any location and shares important study and privacy details. The platform will enable the capture of search queries and tracking of functions such as tasks and discussions. Surveys every six months assess health status, health and social needs, and caregiver burden using validated instruments over a two-year period. We will use a mixed methods approach, utilizing qualitative survey data along with website usage analytic data.; Discussion: Analysis of the longitudinal usage and survey data will help to examine the patterns of family communication and health information seeking as the central older adult ages. We will use the study data to inform design recommendations relevant to a complex mixture of users, with special consideration to the needs of older adult users and potential physical limitations.

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Digital Technology for Caregivers of People With Psychosis: Systematic Review

Background: Psychotic disorders are severe mental health conditions that adversely affect the quality of life and life expectancy. Schizophrenia, the most common and severe form of psychosis affects 21 million people globally. Informal caregivers (families) are known to play an important role in facilitating patient recovery outcomes, although their own health and well-being could be adversely affected by the illness. The application of novel digital interventions in mental health care for patient groups is rapidly expanding; interestingly, however, far less is known about their role with family caregivers.; Objective: This study aimed to systematically identify the application of digital interventions that focus on informal caregivers of people with psychosis and describe their outcomes.; Methods: We completed a search for relevant papers in four electronic databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Web of Science). The search also included the Cochrane database and manual search of reference lists of relevant papers. The search was undertaken in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses reporting guidelines.; Results: The search identified 9 studies derived from 8 unique datasets. Most studies were assessments of feasibility and were undertaken in the United States. Interventions were predominately Web-based, with a focus on improving the caregivers' knowledge and understanding about psychosis.; Conclusions: This study offers preliminary support for the feasibility and acceptability of digital interventions for psychosis in informal caregiver populations. However, the findings underpin a clear need for greater development in the range of caregiver-focused digital approaches on offer and robust evaluation of their outcomes. The use of digital approaches with caregiver populations seemingly lags someway behind the significant developments observed in patient groups.

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The effects of information and communication technologies on informal caregivers of persons living with dementia: A systematic review

Introduction: Information and communication technology (ICT) has emerged as promising to support health care consumers, including informal caregivers. This systematic review seeks to evaluate the state of the science of ICT interventions on the health of informal dementia caregivers.; Methods: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PsycINFO using concepts associated with ICT, dementia, and caregiver. Studies were assessed using the Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies.; Results: We identified 657 full-text publications. After removal of duplicates and title, abstract, and full-text screening, the quality of 12 studies was assessed. Studies varied in technology, implementation, results, and intervention evaluation.; Discussion: The methodological quality of the ICT intervention studies among dementia family caregivers was moderate to strong, yet outcome measurement was not uniform. The evidence is strongest for various forms of telephone-based interventions. However, there is a need for research that includes heterogeneous participants based on gender, race, and ethnicity.;

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Utilizing Internet-based recruitment and data collection to access different age groups of former family caregivers

As Internet accessibility grows among adults in the United States, researchers' utilization of Internet-based surveys and recruitment strategies has increased, but there is a paucity of knowledge about their use in different age groups of former dementia caregivers. The purpose of this secondary analysis is to describe 1) the use of Internet-based recruitment in obtaining a sample inclusive of young and middle aged (age 18–64), young-old (age 65–74), and older-old (age 75 and older) former dementia caregivers and 2) the feasibility of collecting data using an online survey in young and middle aged, young-old, and older-old former dementia caregivers. Utilizing convenience sampling, a four-step recruitment strategy encompassing a combination of Internet-based and non-Internet-based recruitment strategies was employed. Participants (N = 171) completed an online survey. Older-old, young-old, and young and middle-aged participants comprised 9%, 30%, and 61% of the sample respectively. All age cohorts provided minimal missing data using an online survey, but older-old participants required 15 additional minutes to complete the survey than young-old participants. Both cohorts of older adults were directed to the survey less frequently through online referral sources than young and middle-aged participants, and no older-old participants were referred via Facebook. All three age cohorts consisted of mostly white women. Internet-based surveys and recruitment were feasible among the age groups but may present challenges for the older-old and minorities. Further research on Internet-based data collection and recruitment is indicated in minority and older-old caregivers, focusing on trust, educational and financial disparities, and technological proficiency as potential barriers. Highlights • Caregivers of all ages provided minimal missing data using an online survey, but the oldest experienced more survey fatigue. • Internet-based referral sources are more commonly used by young and middle-aged caregivers than older caregivers. • Facebook may not be useful in recruiting older-old former dementia caregivers. • Across all age groups, Internet-based recruitment may not be sufficient to access a sample diverse in race and ethnicity.

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Implications of the use of migrant care work and web-based services on family caregivers' health

This article illustrates the implications of two recent trends on family carers' health: the employment of home-based migrant care workers; and the provision of web-based supports. The main factors traditionally associated with carers' health are used to analyse the results of a six-country study via a multilevel linear regression. Attention will be dedicated to the role of migrant care workers, who are often hired by private households to provide eldercare. Finally, web-based services for carers will be investigated by considering InformCare, a recently implemented European platform tested on a sample of carers from three countries (Germany, Italy and Sweden).

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InformCare: the European information hub on family care

An increasing amount of research in Europe – and beyond – has focused on the development of innovative solutions for providing support services to family carers of frail older people. This is especially the case in terms of web-based programmes. [...] There is clearly a role for well-designed and robustly supported web-based support platforms like InformCare in helping to sustain carers, deliver policy aims and ensure carer access to information, advice and support.

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Acceptability to patients, carers and clinicians of an mHealth platform for the management of Parkinson's disease (PD_Manager): study protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial

Background: Parkinson's disease is a degenerative neurological condition causing multiple motor and non-motor symptoms that have a serious adverse effect on quality of life. Management is problematic due to the variable and fluctuating nature of symptoms, often hourly and daily. The PD_Manager mHealth platform aims to provide a continuous feed of data on symptoms to improve clinical understanding of the status of any individual patient and inform care planning. The objectives of this trial are to (1) assess patient (and family carer) perspectives of PD_Manager regarding comfort, acceptability and ease of use; (2) assess clinician views about the utility of the data generated by PD_Manager for clinical decision making and the acceptability of the system in clinical practice.; Methods/design: This trial is an unblinded, parallel, two-group, randomised controlled pilot study. A total of 200 persons with Parkinson's disease (Hoehn and Yahr stage 3, experiencing motor fluctuations at least 2 h per day), with primary family carers, in three countries (110 Rome, 50 Venice, Italy; 20 each in Ioannina, Greece and Surrey, England) will be recruited. Following informed consent, baseline information will be gathered, including the following: age, gender, education, attitudes to technology (patient and carer); time since Parkinson's diagnosis, symptom status and comorbidities (patient only). Randomisation will assign participants (1:1 in each country), to PD_Manager vs control, stratifying by age (1 ≤ 70 : 1 > 70) and gender (60% M: 40% F). The PD_Manager system captures continuous data on motor symptoms, sleep, activity, speech quality and emotional state using wearable devices (wristband, insoles) and a smartphone (with apps) for storing and transmitting the information. Control group participants will be asked to keep a symptom diary covering the same elements as PD_Manager records. After a minimum of two weeks, each participant will attend a consultation with a specialist doctor for review of the data gathered (by either means), and changes to management will be initiated as indicated. Patients, carers and clinicians will be asked for feedback on the acceptability and utility of the data collection methods. The PD_Manager intervention, compared to a symptom diary, will be evaluated in a cost-consequences framework.; Discussion: Information gathered will inform further development of the PD_Manager system and a larger effectiveness trial.; Trial Registration: ISRCTN Registry, ISRCTN17396879 . Registered on 15 March 2017.;

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Fulfilling the psychological and information need of the family members of critically ill patients using interactive mobile technology: A randomised controlled trial

Background Intensive care nurses may have an important role in empowering families by providing psychological support and fulfilling the family's pivotal need for information. Aim To determine whether ‘education of families by tab’ about the patient’s condition was more associated with improved anxiety, stress, and depression levels than the ‘education of families by routine’. Research design A randomized control trial of 74 main family caregivers (intervention: 39; control: 35). Setting An adult intensive care unit. Main outcome measures Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and Communication and Physical Comfort Scale. Results Although information need satisfaction was not significantly different between intervention and control groups, the former reported significantly better depression score on Depression Anxiety Stress Scale comparing to the control group (p<0.01;η2=0.09) with a medium effect size. Reduction of anxiety in the intervention group were clinically significant. Conclusion The results suggest that use of ‘education of family by tab’ is promising for intensive care nurses to provide psychological support for family members. More studies are needed to investigate this aspect of family care for better psychological support and information need satisfaction that contributes to the evidence-based practice of intensive care nursing.

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Using telepresence for social connection: views of older people with dementia, families, and health professionals from a mixed methods pilot study

Objectives: To explore the acceptability of telepresence robots in dementia care from the perspectives of people with dementia, family carers, and health professionals/trainees, and investigate the utility of a social presence assessment tool, the Modified-Temple Presence Inventory (Modified-TPI), for people with dementia. Method: A mixed-methods pilot study conducted in a social robotics laboratory. Three participant groups (n = 22)–dyads of people with dementia and their carers (n = 5 respectively), and health professionals/trainees (n = 12)–participated in individual one-off intervention sessions with the telepresence robot, Giraff, with follow-up interviews. Sessions covered how to use Giraff, followed by interactive practice in making a video-call involving conversation and manoeuvring of Giraff. Participants with dementia experienced receiving a call made by their carer; healthcare professionals/trainees experienced making and receiving a call. Outcomes of interest were sense of presence [Modified-TPI], affective response (International Positive and Negative Affect Schedule [I-PANAS-S]; Observable Displays of Affect Scale [ODAS]), and attitudes and reactions to Giraff (semi-structured interviews). Results: Participants reported a sense of authenticity and social connection through the experience. They indicated positive social presence through Giraff, and significantly higher positive (mean score 18.77; ±4.00) than negative affect (mean score 8.05; ±1.76) on the I-PANAS-SF, and on the facial display subscale of the ODAS (positive–mean score 15.50; ±3.51 versus negative–mean score 4.00; ±0.00). Conclusion: Telepresence has potential use in situations where people with dementia require social connection. Studies with larger sample sizes, varied characteristics, and cost-effectiveness analysis are needed to inform the application of telepresence in healthcare practice.

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Effects of a caregiver-inclusive assistive technology intervention: a randomized controlled trial

BACKGROUND: The principal aim of this study was to investigate whether a caregiver-inclusive assistive technology intervention improved older care recipients' functional autonomy and decreased the perceived burden of their family caregivers compared to customary care. METHODS: The study was a single-blind, mixed-methods, randomized controlled trial with baseline data collection and follow-ups at six, 22-, and 58-weeks after baseline evaluation, which was prospectively registered (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01640470. Registered 11/21/2011). Dyads comprising a care recipient and family caregiver were randomly assigned to either a caregiver-inclusive experimental group (N=44) or a customary-care comparison group (N=46). Eligible care recipients were aged >=55 years and had one or more limitations with mobility or daily activities, and family caregivers provided at least four hours per week of assistance. Outcome measures were administered to both groups at baseline and at the three follow-up time points. The data collectors were blinded regarding participants' intervention group. The primary outcome measures were the Functional Autonomy Measurement System to assess care recipients' functional performance, and the Caregiver Assistive Technology Outcome Measure to assess caregivers' burden. Qualitative interviews examined participants' perceptions of the caregiver-inclusive and customary care interventions. RESULTS: The experimental intervention addressed significantly more dyad-identified problematic activities, but caregiver involvement was evident in both groups and outcomes were not significantly different over time. In both groups, care recipients' functional autonomy declined significantly (P<.01), and caregivers' activity-specific and overall burden decreased significantly (P<.01). CONCLUSIONS: Given the unintended congruence between the caregiver-inclusive and customary care interventions, the overall findings lend support for the provision of assistive technology to reduce caregiver burden. 

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Digital support platform: a qualitative research study investigating the feasibility of an internet-based, postdiagnostic support platform for families living with dementia

OBJECTIVES: To establish the feasibility of the Digital Support Platform (DSP), an internet-based, postdiagnostic tool designed for families living with a diagnosis of dementia. DESIGN: Qualitative methods using normalisation process theory as an analysis framework for semistructured interview transcriptions. SETTING: A community care setting in the South-East Scotland. PARTICIPANTS: We interviewed ten dyads of people with Alzheimer's, vascular or mixed dementia (PWD), and their family carers, who had been given and had used the DSP for at least twomonths. RESULTS: Our analysis revealed that the DSP was predominantly understood and used by the carers rather than PWD, and was used alongside tools and methods they already used to care for their relative. The DSP was interpreted as a tool that may be of benefit to those experiencing later stages of dementia or with physical care needs. Carers stated that the DSP may be of benefit in the future, reflecting a disinclination to prepare for or anticipate for future needs, rather than focus on those needs present at the time of distribution. PWD spoke positively about an interest in learning to use technology more effectively and enjoyed having their own tablet devices. CONCLUSIONS: The DSP was not wholly appropriate for families living with dementia in its early stages. The views of carers confirmed that postdiagnostic support was valued, but emphasised the importance of tailoring this support to the exact needs and current arrangements of families. There may be a benefit to introducing, encouraging, providing and teaching internet-enabled technology to those PWD who do not currently have access. Training should be provided when introducing new technology to PWD. 

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A “separation of worlds”: The support and social networks of family carers of people with dementia at the end of life, and the possible role of the internet

Caring for someone with dementia is one of the most challenging caring roles; however, the demands of the role towards the end of life often mean carers are unable to maintain face-to-face support. The aim of this study was to: (a) Explore the experiences of older (over 65 years) family carers of people with dementia of support towards the end of life; (b) Explore with family carers the role of the internet as a support for them at the end of life. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, with purposive sampling from general practice and research networks to recruit 20 current and former family carers aged 65 and over in England (2016–2017). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis. An overarching theme of the “separation of worlds” (the internal caring world and the outside world of society) was identified, with four sub themes: (a) the support role of relationships and social networks; (b) loss as a consequence of caring; (c) reconstruction of life as a carer; and finally; (d) life within and beyond the computer screen. This study demonstrates the complexity of social support at the end of life for family carers depicted in a model of two worlds. The internet can be seen as a viable approach to help carers maintain existing networks, reconstruct networks they have lost or developing new networks to meet their new needs and circumstances as a carer. Future support interventions should focus on a mixed model of technology and human interaction. 

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The Roles of Telehealth Tools in Supporting Family Caregivers: Current Evidence, Opportunities, and Limitations

Family caregivers need more information and training on caregiving as well as supportive tools to facilitate stress management and enhance their coping skills. In addition, family caregivers need social support and practical assistance. Telehealth tools, broadly defined as technology-based tools that bridge geographic distance, can be a promising method to deliver interventions designed for family caregivers and enhance access to resources and support. Telehealth technologies are especially important for caregivers living in rural areas or providing remote caregiving.

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CareACT - internet-based intervention for enhancing the psychological well-being of elderly caregivers – a study protocol of a controlled trial

Background: The rapid increase in the number of elderly family caregivers underlines the need for new support systems. Internet-delivered psychological interventions are a potential approach, as they are easy to access for family caregivers who are often homebound with their care recipient. This study examines the relative effectiveness of an internet-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) intervention or a standardized institutional rehabilitation program, first, in reducing depressive symptoms, and second, in improving the well-being and quality of life of elderly family caregivers compared to a control group receiving support from voluntary family caregiver associations. Methods: 156 family caregivers aged 60 or more are studied in a quasi-experimental study design that compares three groups of family caregivers (Group 1; n = 65: a guided 12-week web-based intervention; Group 2, n = 52: a standardized institutional rehabilitation program in a rehabilitation center; Group 3, n = 39: support provided by voluntary caregiver associations). Data collection is performed at three time-points: pre-measurement and at 4 months and 10 months thereafter. Caregivers’ depressive symptoms as a primary outcome, and perceived burden, anxiety, quality of life, sense of coherence, psychological flexibility, thought suppression, and personality as secondary outcomes are measured using validated self-report questionnaires. Physical performance and user experiences are also investigated. Between-group differences in the effects of the interventions are examined using multiple-group modeling techniques, and effect-size calculations. Discussion: The study will compare the effectiveness of a novel web-based program in reducing depressive symptoms and improving the psychological well-being of elderly family caregivers, or a standardized institutional rehabilitation program representing usual care and a control group receiving support offered by voluntary caregiver associations. The results will expand the knowledge base of clinicians and provide evidence on effective strategies to improve the mental health and overall quality of life of elderly family caregivers. Trial registration: The study was retrospectively registered in www.clinicaltrials.gov (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03391596 on January 4, 2018.

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Effectiveness and usability of a web-based mindfulness intervention for caregivers of people with mental or somatic illness. A randomized controlled trial

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Approximately 42.1 million family caregivers provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any given point in time in the US in 2009 (Feinberg et al., 2011).  ... Tailored online interventions that incorporate behavior change techniques such as stress management can have positive effects on caregivers' psychological well-being (Guay et al., 2017). Web-based mindfulness interventions (MBI)2 show promising results with beneficial health effects for healthy and clinical samples (de Vibe et al., 2012). A feasibility study and randomized controlled trial of the current online MBI showed positive significant results for families living with MI with enhanced levels of mindfulness and self-compassion, and decreased levels of caregiver burden and perceived stress (Stjernswärd and Hansson, 2016a; Stjernswärd and Hansson, 2017), combined with good usability and subjective value when using the program (Stjernswärd and Hansson, 2016b). Usability refers to the extent to which a specific user can use a specific product to reach specific goals, with purposefulness, effectiveness, and satisfaction, in a given context (ISO, 1998). Ease of access and flexibility of use were strong motivators for use (Stjernswärd and Hansson, 2016b). More studies are called for to verify the intervention's effectiveness for extended groups of caregivers. ...The current effectiveness study was designed as a randomized controlled trial with an experimental group and a wait-list control group (WLC), with measurements at baseline (T1), post intervention (T2) and at a 3-month follow-up (T3) on primary and secondary outcomes, and usability, in order to explore the effectiveness of the web-based mindfulness program in supporting caregivers to cope with their situation. 

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Internet-based interventions aimed at supporting family caregivers of people with dementia: systematic review

Background: Caring for someone with dementia is one of the most challenging caring roles. The need for support for family caregivers has been recognized for some time but is often still lacking. With an aging population, demand on health and social care services is growing, and the population is increasingly looking to the internet for information and support. Objective: In this review, we aimed to (1) identify the key components of existing internet-based interventions designed to support family caregivers of people with dementia, (2) develop an understanding of which components are most valued by caregivers, and (3) consider the evidence of effectiveness of internet-based interventions designed to support family caregivers of people with dementia. Methods: We conducted a systematic search of online databases in April 2018. We searched reference lists and tracked citations. All study designs were included. We adopted a narrative synthesis approach with thematic analysis and tabulation as tools. Results: We identified 2325 studies, of which we included 40. The interventions varied in the number and types of components, duration and dose, and outcomes used to measure effectiveness. The interventions focused on (1) contact with health or social care providers, (2) peer interaction, (3) provision of information, (4) decision support, and (5) psychological support. The overall quality of the studies was low, making interpretation and generalizability of the effectiveness findings difficult. However, most studies suggested that interventions may be beneficial to family caregiver well-being, including positive impacts on depression, anxiety, and burden. Particular benefit came from psychological support provided online, where several small randomized controlled trials suggested improvements in caregiver mental health. Provision of information online was most beneficial when tailored specifically for the individual and used as part of a multicomponent intervention. Peer support provided in online groups was appreciated by most participants and showed positive effects on stress. Finally, online contact with a professional was appreciated by caregivers, who valued easy access to personalized practical advice and emotional support, leading to a reduction in burden and strain. Conclusions: Although mixed, the results indicate a positive response for the use of internet-based interventions by caregivers. More high-quality studies are required to identify the effectiveness of internet interventions aimed at supporting family caregivers, with particular focus on meeting the needs of caregivers during the different stages of dementia.

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The carers' covenant

Based on the findings from research, this report makes recommendations provide better support for carers. The 12 policy recommendations cover five key themes of financial assistance, employment, identification and support, support networks and technology. Together, the policies together form a covenant for carers. The research looked at who informal carers are and the amount of care they provide, explored the experience of informal carers through two focus groups, and looked at the support available for carers internationally. The research found that the number of informal carers and the amount of care they provide has increased in recent years; that carers are often extremely stretched and overworked as a result of their responsibilities; and that the UK lags behind eight other countries examined for their support for carers - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Japan. It makes recommendations which aim to deliver greater financial security for informal carers, give them a better work/life balance, help ensure that carers are better identified, improve carers' access to peer support, and ensure that better use is made of the potential of technology to support carers. The recommendations include the introduction of a new Universal Carer’s Income for all carers providing more than 35 hours a week.

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Acceptance of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology among dementia clients and family caregivers

The purpose of this study was to examine the acceptance of Global Positioning System (GPS) used to help people with dementia, who are at risk for wandering in their communities. The authors used a mixed methods research approach that included use logs, pre and post paper-based questionnaires, and focus groups. Forty-five client-caregiver pairs (dyads) were included to use one of the GPS devices for an average of 5.8 months over a 1-year period. GPS acceptance was high; dyads were likely to continue using the GPS. According to the participants, the GPS provided caregivers peace of mind and reduced anxiety in dyads when clients got lost.

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Information and communication technology-mediated support for working carers of older family members: an integrative literature review

How best to support working carers is being paid increased attention across Europe and internationally. This article examines a largely unexplored area within the empirical literature, namely, information and communication technology-mediated support for working carers of older people. Using an integrative review methodology to draw on both quantitative and qualitative data, 14 studies were identified. Themes included making work–life balance easier, reducing the burden of caregiving and promoting well-being. Factors to consider in the design, implementation and evaluation of innovative support solutions for working carers are put forward. However, a lack of longitudinal studies and biased samples warrants further investigation.

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Impact of Internet-Based Interventions on Caregiver Mental Health: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Background: The health of informal caregivers of adults with chronic conditions is increasingly vital since caregivers comprise a large proportion of supportive care to family members living in the community. Due to efficiency and reach, internet-based interventions for informal caregivers have the potential to mitigate the negative mental health outcomes associated with caregiving. Objective: The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to examine the impact of internet-based interventions on caregiver mental health outcomes and the impact of different types of internet-based intervention programs. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane, and AgeLine databases were searched for randomized controlled trials or controlled clinical trials published from January 1995 to April 2017 that compared internet-based intervention programs with no or minimal internet-based interventions for caregivers of adults with at least 1 chronic condition. The inclusion criteria were studies that included (1) adult informal caregivers (aged 18 years or older) of adults living in the community with a chronic condition; (2) an internet-based intervention program to deliver education, support, or monitoring to informal caregivers; and (3) outcomes of mental health. Title and abstract and full-text screening were completed in duplicate. Data were extracted by a single reviewer and verified by a second reviewer, and risk of bias assessments were completed accordingly. Where possible, data for mental health outcomes were meta-analyzed. Results: The search yielded 7923 unique citations of which 290 studies were screened at full-text. Of those, 13 studies met the inclusion criteria; 11 were randomized controlled trials, 1 study was a controlled clinical trial, and 1 study comprised both study designs. Beneficial effects of any internet-based intervention program resulted in a mean decrease of 0.48 points (95% CI –0.75 to –0.22) for stress and distress and a mean decrease of 0.40 points (95% CI –0.58 to –0.22) for anxiety among caregivers. For studies that examined internet-based information and education plus professional psychosocial support, the meta-analysis results showed small to medium beneficial effect sizes of the intervention for the mental health outcomes of depression (–0.34; 95% CI –0.63 to –0.05) and anxiety (–0.36; 95% CI –0.66 to –0.07). Some suggestion of a beneficial effect on overall health for the use of information and education plus combined peer and professional support was also shown (1.25; 95% CI 0.24 to 2.25). Overall, many studies were of poor quality and were rated at high risk of bias. Conclusions: The review found evidence for the benefit of internet-based intervention programs on mental health for caregivers of adults living with a chronic condition, particularly for the outcomes of caregiver depression, stress and distress, and anxiety. The types of interventions that predominated as efficacious included information and education with or without professional psychological support, and, to a lesser extent, with combined peer and psychological support. Further high-quality research is needed to inform the effectiveness of interactive, dynamic, and multicomponent internet-based interventions. Trial Registration: PROSPERO CRD42017075436; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=75436 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/709M3tDvn)

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‘There is still so much inside’: The impact of personalised reminiscence, facilitated by a tablet device, on people living with mild to moderate dementia and their family carers

The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the impact of a home-based, personalised reminiscence programme facilitated through an iPad app on people living with dementia and their family carers. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 15 people living with dementia and 17 family carers from a region of the United Kingdom. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. Six key themes emerged related to usability (‘It’s part of my life now’); revisiting the past (‘Memories that are important to me’); home use (‘It was homely’); impact on the person living with dementia (‘It helped me find myself again’); gains and abilities (‘There is still so much inside’) and impact on relationships (‘It’s become very close’). These themes highlighted the impact of the reminiscence experience at an individual and relationship level for people living with dementia and their carers. The reminiscence experience also appeared to facilitate the development of new insights among participants that emphasised abilities and gains rather than disabilities and losses. The significance of personal memories was a core theme although this was not without its challenges, particularly if memories were distressing. The reminiscence experience was differentiated by individual roles. Carers tended to become more relationship-focused, whereas people living with dementia highlighted the significance of learning new skills. The study concluded that individual specific reminiscence supported by an iPad app can have a positive impact on people living with dementia and their carers at an individual and relationship level.

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Managing medications for individuals living with a dementia: Evaluating a web‐based information resource for informal carers

Aims The purpose of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of the “Managing Medicines for People with Dementia” (www.dementiameds.com) website for informal carers. Background The management of medications for individuals living with a dementia by informal carers is a neglected area of care. We know that informal carers find it difficult accessing reliable and comprehensive information about medications. We also know that the Internet is a contemporary and growing medium through which consumers access health information. This study was unique in that it brought these two elements together through an interdisciplinary study about the usefulness of a new website providing information on medication management. Methods Data collection consisted of focus groups with informal carers of individuals living with a dementia. Data were analysed through content analysis. Findings Four themes were generated from the data to explain the evaluation of the website by informal carers: (1) Suitability of the website (2) Presentation of the website (3) Unexpected benefits of the website content (4) Future enhancements for website. Participants overwhelmingly agreed the content of the website filled a gap in information needs about medication management for individuals living with a dementia. Implications for practice This qualitative evaluation demonstrated the value of the website as a resource for informal carers of individuals living with a dementia. The resource could also be used by community nurses and other healthcare practitioners to help informal carers better manage the medication regimes of individuals living with a dementia. The resource has the potential to reduce complications associated with mismanagement of medications and contribute to new policies for implementing safe medication practices.

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Benefits and burdens: family caregivers' experiences of assistive technology (AT) in everyday life with persons with young-onset dementia (YOD)

Background: People with dementia and their family caregivers may benefit from assistive technology (AT), but knowledge is scarce about family carers’ (FC) experiences and involvement in the use of AT in everyday life. Aim: To examine the FC roles and experiences with AT as means of supporting people with young onset-dementia (YOD). Method: Qualitative interview study with follow-up design. Repeated semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 FC of people with YOD, participating in an ongoing intervention study investigating the families’ use and experiences of AT in everyday life. Results: Six main themes emerged: (1) timely information about AT; (2) waiting times; (3) AT incorporated into everyday living; (4) AT experienced as a relief and burden; (5) appraisal of AT qualities and (6) the committed caregiver. Conclusions: The study found benefits for the FC, especially with simply designed AT, but also several barriers for successful use. A committed caregiver is vital throughout the process. Users will need professional advice and support, and occupational therapists may have a significant role in the process. Interventions implementing AT must be based on analysis of the needs of the person with YOD and the carers: their capabilities, preferences, embodied habits, and coping strategies.

Implications for Rehabilitation

  • Committed family carers (FC) play an important, often decisive, role in providing support for the person with young-onset dementia (YOD, onset <65 years) to use and benefit from the AT.
  • The simpler the AT, the better. The AT should be introduced at “the right time”, before the cognitive and adaptive reduction is too great. The “window” for implementation may be short.
  • AT has potential to ease caregiving and give relief for FC. However, many barriers, difficulties and problems must be attended to.
  • A system for individualized support over time is necessary for implementing AT for this group.
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Feasibility, useability and acceptability of technology-based interventions for informal cancer carers: a systematic review

Background: Carers looking after someone with cancer often experience negative impacts on their own health. M-health interventions have been designed to provide information and support to patients and their carers. However, the effectiveness of technology-based interventions for carers is less well understood. The objectives were to assess the feasibility, useability and acceptability of technology-based interventions among carers of people living with cancer. Methods: A systematic search of the CINAHL, MEDLINE and PSYCINFO databases was performed using terms related to web-based interventions and smartphone applications, carers and cancer. Studies were included if a randomised controlled trial or pilot study was conducted, focused on adult carers looking after another adult with cancer and were published between January 2007-June 2017. Articles were excluded if they reported qualitative results only or were evaluating existing websites and applications. Feasibility was measured by attrition, recruitment rates and frequency of intervention use; useability was measured by the ease of intervention use and the role of features to minimise errors in use. Acceptability was measured by carers’ perception of the appropriateness of the content and their ability to incorporate the intervention into their daily routines. Results: Of the 729 articles, six articles met the inclusion criteria. Attrition ranged from 14% - 77%, recruitment rates from 20% - 66% and intervention useability varied across studies. Half of the studies implemented measures to improve useability. Overall, carers rated the content of the interventions as appropriate and reported improved knowledge and communication. Acceptability was further demonstrated as carers preferred the flexibility available with web-based interventions. Conclusions: Technology-based interventions are suitable for use among carers of people with cancer. Further research is required to fully assess the impact of technology as an information and support mechanism for carers.

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Mobile apps for caregivers of older adults: Quantitative content analysis

Background: Informal caregivers of older adults provide critical support for their loved ones but are subject to negative health outcomes because of burden and stress. Interventions to provide information and resources as well as social and emotional support reduce burden. Mobile apps featuring access to information, assistance with scheduling, and other features can automate support functions inexpensively and conveniently and reach a greater proportion of caregivers than otherwise possible. Objective: The aim of this study was to identify mobile apps geared towards caregivers of older adults, catalog features, and suggest best practices for adoption based on empirical findings of beneficial interventions in the caregiving literature. Methods: Search for apps focused on ones catered for caregivers of older adults in Google Play and iTunes, compiling their features, and identifying features reflecting categories of support identified in successful intervention studies to negative caregiver outcomes. Intervention research indicates that provision of information and resources, assistance in practical problem solving, coordinating care among multiple caregivers, and emotional support reduce caregiver burden. Results: Despite approximately over 200,000 mobile health–related apps, the availability of mobile apps for caregivers is relatively sparse (n=44 apps) as of October 2017. Apps generally addressed specific categories of support, including information and resources, family communication, and caregiver-recipient interactions. Few apps were comprehensive. Only 8 out of 44 (18%) had features that addressed three or more categories. Few apps provided specific stress reduction exercises for caregivers, which is important for reducing burden. Conclusions: Mobile apps have the potential to provide resources, just­-in­-time information for problem-solving, and stress reduction strategies for caregivers. Many apps offer functions that have been shown to reduce burden and improve health outcomes in caregivers, but few provide emotional support. Using an evidence­-based practice approach, mobile apps for caregivers can provide multiple beneficial support functions. Apps can serve a much larger proportion of this highly underserved population in their mobile form than more traditional means, improving their health and quality of life.

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Exploring factors that impact the decision to use assistive telecare: perspectives of family care-givers of older people in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom (UK), an ageing population met with the reduction of social care funding has led to reduced support for older people marked with an increased demand on family care-givers. Assistive telecare (AT) devices are viewed as an innovative and effective way to support older people. However, there is limited research which has explored adoption of AT from the perspectives of family care-givers. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 family care-givers of patients who used the Assistive Telehealth and Telecare service in Cambridgeshire, UK. Family care-givers were either the spouse (N = 8) or child of the patient (N = 6). The patients' age ranged from 75 to 98, and either received a telecare standalone device or connected service. Framework analysis was used to analyse the transcripts. This study revealed that family care-givers play a crucial role in supporting the patient's decision to adopt and engage with AT devices. Knowledge and awareness, perceived responsibility, usefulness and usability, alongside functionality of the equipment, were influential factors in the decision-making process. AT devices were viewed positively, considered easy to use, useful and functional, with reassurance of the patient's safety being a core reason for adoption. Efforts to increase adoption and engagement should adapt recruitment strategies and service pathways to support both the patient and their care-giver.

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Exploring the cancer caregiver's journey through web‐based Meaning‐Centered Psychotherapy

Objective Psychosocial interventions are historically underutilized by cancer caregivers, but support programs delivered flexibly over the Internet address multiple barriers to care. We adapted Meaning‐Centered Psychotherapy for cancer caregivers, an in‐person psychotherapeutic intervention intended to augment caregivers' sense of meaning and purpose and ameliorate burden, for delivery in a self‐administered web‐based program, the Care for the Cancer Caregiver (CCC) Workshop. The present study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of this program. Methods Eighty‐four caregivers were randomized to the CCC Workshop or waitlist control arm. Quantitative assessments of meaning, burden, anxiety, depression, benefit finding, and spiritual well‐being were conducted preintervention (T1), within 2‐weeks postintervention (T2), and 2‐ to 3‐month follow‐up (T3). In‐depth semistructured interviews were conducted with a subset of participants. Results Forty‐two caregivers were randomized to the CCC Workshop. Attrition was moderate at T2 and T3, with caregiver burden and bereavement as key causes of drop‐out. At T2 and T3, some observed mean change scores and effect sizes were consistent with hypothesized trends (eg, meaning in caregiving, benefit finding, and depressive symptomatology), though no pre‐post significant differences emerged between groups. However, a longitudinal mixed‐effects model found significant differential increases in benefit finding in favor of the CCC arm. Conclusions The CCC Workshop was feasible and acceptable. Based on effect sizes reported here, a larger study will likely establish the efficacy of the CCC Workshop, which has the potential to address unmet needs of caregivers who underutilize in‐person supportive care services.

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Developing a carer identity and negotiating everyday life through social networking sites: an explorative study on identity constructions in an online Swedish carer community

An overarching reason why carers do not utilise support services is that many people who perform care-giving do not necessarily self-identify as a carer. Understanding the development of carer identities is therefore crucial for the utilisation of different carer-focused health services. This study arose from the European Union-funded INNOVAGE project and aimed to describe how older carers conceptualise and understand their identity as carers on a Swedish online social forum. Theoretically the study adopts a constructionist approach and the method of netnography was applied. The findings reveal that a change in self-perception occurs in the process through which a carer role is acquired. The presence or absence of recognition for the older carers’ capacity, knowledge and life situation is seen as filtered through the needs of the care recipient, making the carer identity into an invisible self. This is not least the case when the identity is constructed in alliance with conceptual and moral obligations found within a marital discourse. Nevertheless, the opportunity for online communication may help to create a virtual space of social recognition through which different experiences attached to caring can be discussed. The significance of online communication is here understood as the possibility it presents for carers to be recognised by other carers. It is a process through which an invisible self can become visible.

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Achieving positive outcomes in complex cases: The Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline (Innovative Practice)

Carer distress is an all too common factor in caring for someone with dementia, whether living with the person with dementia, or trying to maintain their independence when they are living alone. Providing support for families on many day-to-day issues with immediacy as and when they arise can be very difficult to achieve for services on the ground as carer need can be difficult to anticipate as well as the changing status of the person with dementia. This paper discusses the innovative role of managing complexity on a dementia telephone helpline manned by Admiral Nurses, specialist dementia nurses, in expertly supporting a family over a weekend where there were health concerns of a family member with dementia and a high level of carer distress.

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The experiences of working carers of older people regarding access to a web-based family care support network offered by a municipality

Policy makers in Sweden and other European Member States pay increasing attention as to how best support working carers carers juggling providing unpaid family care for older family members while performing paid work. Exploring perceived benefits and challenges with web-based information and communication technologies as a means of supporting working carers' in their caregiving role, this paper draws on findings from a qualitative study. The study aimed to describe working carers' experiences of having access to the web-based family care support network 'A good place' (AGP) provided by the municipality to support those caring for an older family member. Content analysis of interviews with nine working carers revealed three themes: A support hub, connections to peers, personnel and knowledge Experiencing ICT support as relevant in changing life circumstances and Upholding one's personal firewall. Findings indicate that the web-based family care support network AGP is an accessible, complementary means of support. Utilising support while balancing caregiving, work obligations and responsibilities was made easier with access to AGP enabling working carers to access information, psychosocial support and learning opportunities. In particular, it provided channels for carers to share experiences with others, to be informed, and to gain insights into medical and care issues. This reinforced working carers' sense of competence, helping them meet caregiving demands and see positive aspects in their situation. Carers' low levels of digital skills and anxieties about using computer-based support were barriers to utilising web-based support and could lead to deprioritising of this support. However, to help carers overcome these barriers and to better match web-based support to working carers' preferences and situations, web-based support must be introduced in a timely manner and must more accurately meet each working carer's unique caregiving needs.

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Changing Moods: How Manual Tracking by Family Caregivers Improves Caring and Family Communication

Previous research on healthcare technologies has shown how health tracking promotes desired behavior changes and effective health management. However, little is known about how the family caregivers' use of tracking technologies impacts the patient-caregiver relationship in the home. In this paper, we explore how health-tracking technologies could be designed to support family caregivers cope better with a depressed family member. Based on an interview study, we designed a simple tracking tool called Family Mood and Care Tracker (FMCT) and deployed it for six weeks in the homes of 14 family caregivers who were caring for a depressed family member. FMCT is a tracking tool designed specifically for family caregivers to record their caregiving activities and patient's conditions. Our findings demonstrate how caregivers used it to better understand the illness and cope with depressed family members. We also show how our tool improves family communication, despite the initial concerns about patient-caregiver conflicts.

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Web-based health interventions for family caregivers of elderly individuals: A Scoping Review

Background: For the growing proportion of elders globally, aging-related illnesses are primary causes of morbidity causing reliance on family members for support in the community. Family caregivers experience poorer physical and mental health than their non-caregiving counterparts. Web-based interventions can provide accessible support to family caregivers to offset declines in their health and well-being. Existing reviews focused on web-based interventions for caregivers have been limited to single illness populations and have mostly focused on the efficacy of the interventions. We therefore have limited insight into how web-based interventions for family caregiver have been developed, implemented and evaluated across aging-related illness. Objectives: To describe: a) theoretical underpinnings of the literature; b) development, content and delivery of web-based interventions; c) caregiver usage of web-based interventions; d) caregiver experience with web-based interventions and e) impact of web-based interventions on caregivers’ health outcomes. Methods: We followed Arksey and O’Malley’s methodological framework for conducting scoping reviews which entails setting research questions, selecting relevant studies, charting the data and synthesizing the results in a report. Results: Fifty-three publications representing 32 unique web-based interventions were included. Over half of the interventions were targeted at dementia caregivers, with the rest targeting caregivers to the stroke, cancer, diabetes and general frailty populations. Studies used theory across the intervention trajectory. Interventions aimed to improve a range of health outcomes for caregivers through static and interactive delivery methods Caregivers were satisfied with the usability and accessibility of the websites but usage was generally low and declined over time. Depression and caregiver burden were the most common outcomes evaluated. The interventions ranged in their impact on health and social outcomes but reductions in perception of caregiver burden were consistently observed. Conclusions: Caregivers value interactive interventions that are tailored to their unique needs and the illness context. However, usage of the interventions was sporadic and declined over time, indicating that future interventions should address stage-specific needs across the caregiving trajectory. A systematic review has the potential to be conducted given the consistency in caregiver burden and depression as outcomes.

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Computer and telephone delivered interventions to support caregivers of people with dementia: a systematic review of research output and quality

Background: To assess the scope, volume and quality of research on the acceptability, utilisation and effectiveness of telephone- and computer-delivered interventions for caregivers of people living with dementia. Methods: Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL and Cochrane databases were searched (Jan 1990 – Dec 2016). Eligible papers were classified as data-based descriptive, measurement or intervention studies. Intervention studies were first categorised according to mode of delivery (e.g. telephone, computer); then assessed against the Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) methodological criteria for research design. Impact on health-related outcomes; and the acceptability, feasibility and utilisation of interventions were also assessed. Results: The number of publications increased by 13% each year (p < 0.001). Half were descriptive studies (n = 92, 50%) describing caregiver views on acceptability, access or utilization of technology. The remainder (n = 89, 48%) reported on interventions designed to improve caregiver outcomes. Only 34 met EPOC design criteria. Interventions were delivered via computer (n = 10), multiple modalities (n = 9) or telephone (n = 15). Interventions that incorporated various elements of psycho-education, peer support, skills training and health assessments led to improvements in caregiver wellbeing. While largely acceptable, utilisation of computer-based interventions was variable, with use often decreasing over time. Conclusion: Interventions delivered via telephone and computer have the potential to augment existing dementia care. High-quality trials are required to make clear recommendations about the types of interventions that are most effective. Those that provide caregivers with: access to practical strategies to manage care of the person with dementia and their own wellbeing, advice and support from peers and/or clinicians; and that target the dyad should be explored.

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Addressing the Challenges of Aging: How Elders and Their Care Partners Seek Information

Purpose: Elders in retirement communities face many challenges concerning information and communication. We know little about whether or how online technologies help meet their medical and social needs. The objective of this study was to gain insights into how these elders and their families manage health information and communication. Design and Methods: Qualitative analysis of 10 focus groups with elders and family members. Participants were 30 elders at least 75 years of age residing in 5 senior living communities in and near Boston, MA, and 23 family members. Results: Elders and families turned first to their personal networks when they needed information or help. They stayed informed about elders’ health primarily by talking directly with providers. They used online resources infrequently, including portal access to medical records. They wanted online access to medication lists and visit notes, up-to-date information about local services and social activities, and a way to avoid the overwhelming nature of Internet searches. Implications: Elders in senior living communities and their families piece together information primarily from word of mouth communication. In the future, electronic social and collaborative technologies may make information gathering easier.

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Would mobile health be a solution to rehospitalization?

It has been well‐established that social environmental factors can increase the risk of rehospitalization for people receiving home healthcare services. For caregivers who might be challenged to keep up with sometimes unfamiliar health monitoring tasks or to know when to seek help, mobile health technology offers the potential to enhance the skills of informal caregivers and to improve the communication between home and clinical care. This paper described our recent work to determine the usability, functionality, and style of interaction that would be needed to provide an effective and well‐accepted tool. Caregivers would likely adopt new mobile health tools, as long as care is taken to eliminate potential barriers, for example, by providing adequate training, and to include design aspects that enhance one's motivation to use a tool, such as by supporting autonomy and engagement.

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The TECH@HOME study, a technological intervention to reduce caregiver burden for informal caregivers of people with dementia: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Background: It is estimated that global dementia rates will more than triple by 2050 and result in a staggering economic burden on families and societies. Dementia carries significant physical, psychological and social challenges for individuals and caregivers. Informal caregiving is common and increasing as more people with dementia are being cared for at home instead of in nursing homes. Caregiver burden is associated with lower perceived health, lower social coherence, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. The aim of this trial is to evaluate the effects of information and communication technology (ICT) on caregiver burden among informal caregivers of people with dementia by reducing the need for supervision.

Methods/design: This randomized controlled trial aims to recruit 320 dyads composed of people with dementia living in community settings and their primary informal caregivers. In the intervention group, people with dementia will have a home monitoring kit installed in their home while dyads in the control group will receive usual care. The ICT kit includes home-leaving sensors, smoke and water leak sensors, bed sensors, and automatic lights that monitor the individual’s behavior. Alerts (text message and/or phone call) will be sent to the caregiver if anything unusual occurs. All study dyads will receive three home visits by project administrators who have received project-specific training in order to harmonize data collection. Home visits will take place at enrollment and 3 and 12 months following installation of the ICT kit. At every home visit, a standardized questionnaire will be administered to all dyads to assess their health, quality of life and resource utilization. The primary outcome of this trial is the amount of informal care support provided by primary informal caregivers to people with dementia.

Discussion: This is the first randomized controlled trial exploring the implementation of ICT for people with dementia in a large sample in Sweden and one of the first at the international level. Results hold the potential to inform regional and national policy-makers in Sweden and beyond about the cost-effectiveness of ICT and its impact on caregiver burden.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02733939. Registered on 10 March 2016.

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Components and Outcomes of Internet-Based Interventions for Caregivers of Older Adults: Systematic Review

Background: When trying to access interventions to improve their well-being and quality of life, family caregivers face many challenges. Internet-based interventions provide new and accessible opportunities to remotely support them and can contribute to reducing their burden. However, little is known about the link existing between the components, the use of behavior change techniques, and the outcomes of these Internet-based interventions.

Objective: This study aimed to provide an update on the best available evidence about the efficacy of Internet-based interventions for caregivers of older adults. Specifically, the components and the use of behavior change techniques and how they impact on the efficacy of the intervention were sought.

Methods: A systematic review searched primary source studies published between 2000 and 2015. Included studies were scored with a high level of evidence by independent raters using the GRADE criteria and reported caregiver-specific outcomes about interventions delivered through the Internet for caregivers of people aged 50 years and older. A narrative synthesis identified intervention components (eg, content, multimedia use, interactive online activities, and provision of support), behavior change techniques, and caregiver outcomes (eg, effects on stressors, mediators, and psychological health). The risk of bias within the included studies was assessed.

Results: A total of 2338 articles were screened and 12 studies describing 10 Internet-based interventions were identified. Seven of these interventions led to statistically significant improvements in caregiver outcomes (eg, reducing depression or anxiety, n=4). These efficacious interventions used interactive components, such as online exercises and homework (n=4) or questionnaires on health status (n=2) and five of them incorporated remote human support, either by professionals or peers. The most frequently used behavior change techniques included in efficacious interventions were provision of social support (n=6) and combinations of instructions to guide behavior change and barrier identification (n=5). The design and aim of the included studies did not permit determining exactly which component and/or behavior change technique was more efficacious in producing positive outcomes in caregivers. The risk for selection bias was low for all the studies, and low to high for performance, detection, and attrition biases.

Conclusions: In sum, Internet-based interventions that incorporate professional and social support, and provide instructions to change behavior and problem solve in an interactive manner appear to lead to positive outcomes in caregivers. Studies isolating the specific effect of components are needed to improve our understanding of the underlying mechanism of action.

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Effectiveness of an online social support intervention for caregivers of people with dementia: the study protocol of a randomised controlled trial

Caregivers of people with dementia (PwD) face burden, feelings of loneliness, and social isolation. Previous studies have shown promising effects of online e-health interventions. Using social media may facilitate support for dementia caregiver networks. In an iterative step-wise approach, a social support tool entitled "Inlife" was developed. This paper describes the design of a study evaluating the effects of Inlife and its process characteristics. Methods: A mixed-method, randomised controlled trial with 122 caregivers of PwD will be conducted. Participants will be assigned to either the Inlife social support intervention or a waiting-list control group. After 16 weeks, the control group will obtain access to the Inlife environment. Data will be collected at baseline (T0) and at 8-week (T1), 16-week (T2) and 42-week follow up (T3). The 16-week follow-up assessment (T2) is the primary endpoint to evaluate the results on the primary and secondary outcomes, measured by self-reported questionnaires. The primary outcomes include feelings of caregiver competence and perceived social support. The secondary outcomes include received support, feelings of loneliness, psychological complaints (e.g., anxiety, stress), and quality of life. A process evaluation, including semi-structured interviews, will be conducted to examine the internal and external validity of the intervention. Discussion: Using a mixed-method design, our study will provide valuable insights into the usability, effectiveness, and factors related to implementation of the Inlife intervention. Our study results will indicate whether Inlife could be a valuable social support resource in future routine dementia care. Trial registration: Dutch trial register, NTR6131. Registered on 20 October 2016.

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What is Important in E-health Interventions for Stroke Rehabilitation? A Survey Study among Patients, Informal Caregivers and Health Professionals

Incorporating user requirements in the design of e-rehabilitation interventions facilitates their implementation. However, insight into requirements for e-rehabilitation after stroke is lacking. This study investigated which user requirements for stroke e-rehabilitation are important to stroke patients, informal caregivers, and health professionals. The methodology consisted of a survey study amongst stroke patients, informal caregivers, and health professionals (physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists). The survey consisted of statements about requirements regarding accessibility, usability and content of a comprehensive stroke e-health intervention (4-point Likert scale, 1=unimportant/4=important). The mean with standard deviation was the metric used to determine the importance of requirements. Patients (N=125), informal caregivers (N=43), and health professionals (N=105) completed the survey. The mean score of user requirements regarding accessibility, usability and content for stroke e-rehabilitation was 3.1 for patients, 3.4 for informal caregivers and 3.4 for health professionals. Data showed that a large number of user requirements are important and should be incorporated into the design of stroke e-rehabilitation to facilitate their implementation.

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Informal Caregivers' Experiences and Perceptions of a Web-Based Peer Support Network: Mixed-Methods Study

Background: Web-based peer support interventions have shown promise in reducing social isolation and social support deficits among informal caregivers, but little research has examined how caregivers use and perceive these interventions.; Objective: In this study, we examined utilization and perceptions of a Web-based social support intervention for informal caregivers of wounded, ill, and injured United States military service members and veterans.; Methods: This was a mixed-methods study that used quantitative survey data and qualitative data from focus groups and interviews with informal caregivers enrolled in a Web-based peer support intervention to explore their use and perceptions of the intervention. The intervention was delivered via a website that featured interest groups organized around specific topics, webinars, webchats, and messaging functionality and was moderated by professionally trained peers. This study occurred in the context of a quasi-experimental outcome evaluation of the intervention, where intervention participants were compared with a group of military caregivers who were not enrolled in the intervention.; Results: Survey findings indicated that caregivers used the website infrequently, with 60.7% (128/211) visiting the website once a month or less, and passively, with a minority (32/144, 22.2%) of users (ie, those who had visited the website at least once during the past 3 months, N=144) posting comments or links to the network. Nonetheless, most users (121/144, 84.0%) endorsed moderate or greater satisfaction with the website on the survey, and focus group and interview participants reported benefiting sufficiently from passive use of the website (eg, reading posts). Quantitative and qualitative findings suggested that users viewed the website primarily as a source of informational support. Among 63.2% (91/144) of users who completed the survey, the most commonly reported network-related activity was obtaining information from the network's resource library, and focus group and interview participants viewed the network primarily as an informational resource. Focus group and interview participants expressed an unmet need for emotional support and the desire for a more personal touch in the forms of more active engagement with other caregivers in the network and the creation of local, in-person support groups for caregivers.; Conclusions: These findings suggest that Web-based peer support interventions may lend themselves better to the provision of informational (vs emotional) support and may need to be supplemented by in-person peer support groups to better meet caregivers' needs for emotional support.

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Novel technology as platform for interventions for caregivers and individuals with severe mental health illnesses: A systematic review

Background: Severe mental illnesses (SMIs) have been found to be associated with both increases in morbidity-mortality, need for treatment care in patients themselves, and burden for relatives as caregivers. A growing number of web-based and mobile software applications have appeared that aim to address various barriers with respect to access to care. Our objective was to review and summarize recent advancements in such interventions for caregivers of individuals with a SMI.; Methods: We conducted a systematic search for papers evaluating interactive mobile or web-based software (using no or only minimal support from a professional) specifically aimed at supporting informal caregivers. We also searched for those supporting patients with SMI so as to not to miss any which might include relatives.; Results: Out of a total of 1673 initial hits, we identified 11 articles reporting on 9 different mobile or web-based software programs. The main result is that none of those studies focused on caregivers, and the ones we identified using mobile or web-based applications were just for patients and not their relatives.; Limitations: Differentiating between online and offline available software might not always have been totally reliable, and we might have therefore missed some studies.; Conclusions: In summary, the studies provided evidence that remotely accessible interventions for patients with SMI are feasible and acceptable to patients. No such empirically evaluated program was available for informal caregivers such as relatives. Keeping in mind the influential role of those informal caregivers in the process of treatment and self-management, this is highly relevant for public health. Supporting informal caregivers can improve well-being of both caregivers and patients.

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Testing Tele-Savvy: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Many informal caregivers of persons with dementia suffer adverse health consequences. Although established psychoeducation programs are known to benefit caregivers, attending in-person programs is challenging for them. To address this challenge, the Savvy Caregiver Program, an evidence-based psychoeducation program with demonstrated effectiveness for caregiving and disease-related outcomes, was transformed into an on-line program, Tele-Savvy. This article describes the rationale for and design of a prospective longitudinal randomized controlled trial (targeted N = 215), currently underway. The trial aims to establish Tele-Savvy's efficacy in (i) reducing the negative effects of caregiving on caregivers; (ii) promoting care recipients' quality of life; (iii) improving caregiver mastery; and to explore (iv) Tele-Savvy's efficacy among caregivers of different races/ethnicities. The mediating role of mastery will be assessed. Participants are randomized to the active condition (immediate Tele-Savvy participation), attention control, or usual care. Participants in the two latter conditions will complete Tele-Savvy 6 months post-baseline. Multilevel mixed effects models will be used to examine changes in outcomes and to model group by time (months since baseline) interactions. The exploratory aim will be addressed using analysis of covariance and qualitative analysis. This trial's results may be used by healthcare and community organizations to implement Tele-Savvy in dementia care, increasing caregivers' access to this evidence-based intervention.

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Caring for the person with cancer: Information and support needs and the role of technology

Objective: Informal carers experience a variety of information and support needs when providing care to someone with cancer. It is unclear when carers seek information and what resources they access to support themselves throughout the cancer trajectory.; Methods: A sample of 45 carers and 15 oncology nurses were recruited to participate in either focus groups or phone interviews.; Results: Carers in the study were more likely to be women (60%), caring for a spouse or partner (64.4%), living with the patient (86.7%), and hold a university degree (46.7%). The majority of oncology nurses were females (66.6%). Findings showed that carers had limited access to adequate information as needs arose. Supports used to address information needs included information booklets, the Internet, and communication with healthcare professionals or with other carers. Barriers in communication between nurses and carers impacted on the adequacy of information received. Participants reported that technology, such as smartphone applications, might be appropriate for improving information and support needs.; Conclusions: Caring for someone with cancer is multifaceted. Carers need access to timely information to help them effectively manage patients' needs. Future studies should assess the role of contemporary approaches, such as digital technology, as a solution to the delivery of information and support for carers of people with cancer.

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Distance education methods are useful for delivering education to palliative caregivers: A single-arm trial of an education package (PalliativE Caregivers Education Package)

Background: Face-to-face/group education for palliative caregivers is successful, but relies on caregivers travelling, being absent from the patient, and rigid timings. This presents inequities for those in rural locations. Aim: To design and test an innovative distance-learning educational package (PrECEPt: PalliativE Caregivers Education Package). Design: Single-arm mixed-method feasibility proof-of-concept trial (ACTRN12616000601437). The primary outcome was carer self-efficacy, with secondary outcomes focused on caregiver preparedness and carer tasks/needs. Analysis focused on three outcome measures (taken at baseline and 6 weeks) and feasibility/acceptability qualitative data. Setting and participants: A single specialist palliative care service. Eligible informal caregivers were those of patients registered with the outpatient or community service, where the patient had a prognosis of ≥12 weeks, supporting someone with nutrition/hydration and/or pain management needs, proficient in English and no major mental health diagnosis. Results: Two modules were developed and tested (nutrition/hydration and pain management) with 18 caregivers. The materials did not have a statistically significant impact on carer self-efficacy. However, statistically significant improvements were observed on the two subsidiary measures of (1) caregiving tasks, consequences and needs (p = 0.03, confidence interval: 0.72, 9.4) and (2) caregiver preparedness (p = 0.001, confidence interval: -1.22, -0.46). The study determined that distance learning is acceptable and feasible for both caregivers and healthcare professionals. Conclusion: Distance education improves caregiver preparedness and is a feasible and acceptable approach. A two-arm trial would determine whether the materials benefitted caregivers and patients compared to a control group not receiving the materials. Additional modules could be fruitfully developed and offered. 

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Internet Use and Technology-Related Attitudes of Veterans and Informal Caregivers of Veterans

Background: Healthcare systems are interested in technology-enhanced interventions to improve patient access and outcomes. However, there is uncertainty about feasibility and acceptability for groups who may benefit but are at risk for disparities in technology use. Thus, we sought to describe characteristics of Internet use and technology-related attitudes for two such groups: (1) Veterans with multi-morbidity and high acute care utilization and (2) informal caregivers of Veterans with substantial care needs at home.; Materials and Methods: We used survey data from two ongoing trials, for 423 Veteran and 169 caregiver participants, respectively. Questions examined Internet use in the past year, willingness to communicate via videoconferencing, and comfort with new technology devices.; Results: Most participants used Internet in the past year (81% of Veterans, 82% of caregivers); the majority of users (83% of Veterans, 92% of caregivers) accessed Internet at least a few times a week, and used a private laptop or computer (81% of Veterans, 89% of caregivers). Most were willing to use videoconferencing via private devices (77-83%). A majority of participants were comfortable attempting to use new devices with in-person assistance (80% of Veterans, 85% of caregivers), whereas lower proportions were comfortable "on your own" (58-59% for Veterans and caregivers). Internet use was associated with comfort with new technology devices (odds ratio 2.76, 95% confidence interval 1.70-4.53).; Conclusions: Findings suggest that technology-enhanced healthcare interventions are feasible and acceptable for Veterans with multi-morbidity and high healthcare utilization, and informal caregivers of Veterans. In-person assistance may be important for those with no recent Internet use.

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A systematic review on the implementation of eHealth interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia

Objectives: The objectives were to (1) systematically review the literature on the implementation of eHealth interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia, and (2) identify determinants of successful implementation.; Methods: Online databases were searched for articles about eHealth interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia, providing information on their implementation. Articles were independently screened and inductively analyzed using qualitative analysis. The analysis was mapped onto the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR; Damschroder et al., 2009).; Findings: 46 articles containing 204 statements on implementation were included. The statements on implementation were grouped into four categories: Determinants associated with the eHealth application, informal caregiver, implementing organization, or wider context. Mapping of the determinants on the CFIR revealed that studies have focused mostly on characteristics of the intervention and informal caregiver. Limited attention has been paid to organizational determinants and the wider context.; Conclusions: Despite prolific effectiveness and efficacy research on eHealth interventions for caregivers of people with dementia, there is a critical dearth of implementation research. Furthermore, there is a mismatch between eHealth intervention research and implementation frameworks, especially concerning organizational factors and wider context. This review underscores the importance of future implementation research in bridging the gap between research and practice.

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An integrative review of information and communication technology based support interventions for carers of home dwelling older people

Background: A growing number of studies of informal carers of older people reveal positive results concerning support via Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Systematic examination of factors that have a potential impact on carer outcomes are needed to inform future research.; Objective: To explore studies concerning ICT support of adult carers of older people and to identify study characteristics that have a potential impact on carer outcomes.; Methods: This integrative review includes 123 studies published since 2005. Fundamental questions for designing sensitive support interventions; 'who, what, and how' were applied to a synthesis of the results.; Results: Identified characteristics from the studies responding to the who question included variables of the carers, such as their relationship with the care recipient or their ethnicity. Characteristics related to the what question related to the types of interventions, and the how question concerned the different services or programs offered, the idiosyncratic needs of the carers, and the types of technologies used.; Conclusion: Results are discussed according to micro, meso and macro levels of analysis. This extensive review can inform future studies and highlight the evidence in the area for decision makers, practitioners and/or NGOs working with innovative forms of support for carers of older people.

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A multi-perspective evaluation of a service robot for seniors: the voice of different stakeholders

Purpose: The potential of service robots for seniors is given increasing attention as the ageing population in Western countries will continue to grow as well as the demand for home care. In order to capture the experience of living with a robot at home, a multi-perspective evaluation was conducted.; Methods: Older adults (n = 10) were invited to execute an actual interaction scenario with the Care-O-bot® robot in a home-like environment and were questioned about their experiences. Additionally, interviews were conducted with the elderly participants, informal carers (n = 7) and professional caregivers (n = 11).; Results: Seniors showed to be more keen to accept the robot than their caregivers and relatives. However, the robot in its current form was found to be too limited and participants wished the robot could perform more complex tasks. In order to be acceptable a future robot should execute these complex tasks based on the personal preferences of the user which would require the robot to be flexible and extremely smart, comparable to the care that is delivered by a human carer.; Conclusions: Developing the functional features to perform activities is not the only challenge in robot development that deserves the attention of robot developers. The development of social behaviour and skills should be addressed as well. This is possible adopting a person-centred design approach, which relies on validation activities with actual users in realistic environments, similar to those described in this paper. Implications for rehabilitation Attitude of older adults towards service robots Potential of service robotsfor older adults.

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Usage and Usability of a Web-based Program for Family Caregivers of Older People in Three European Countries: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation

InformCare is a European Web platform that supports informal caregivers of older people by providing access to online information and professional and peer support. The aim of this study was to assess the usage and usability of a psychosocial Web-based program carried out in three European countries (Italy, Sweden, and Germany). A mixed-methods sequential explanatory design was adopted, comprising baseline and postintervention assessments, as well as combined thematic content analysis of results and focus group findings. A convenience sample of 118 caregivers was enrolled, of whom 94 used the services offered by the program at least once. The subsamples in the three countries used the platform in different ways, with a predominance of passive strategies (eg, seeking information and reading other people's comments) for Italian caregivers, and more active usage by Swedish and German caregivers. The usability assessment showed that the platform was perceived well by Italian and German caregivers, whereas technical problems affected the Swedish sample's experiences. Focus group data highlighted user satisfaction with the online support and reliability of the environment. Recommendations for practitioners are to ensure digital training for caregivers who have lower confidence in use of the Internet, to involve different healthcare professionals in the provision of professional support, and to adequately manage online community building.

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Touchscreen interventions and the well-being of people with dementia and caregivers: a systematic review

Background: Dementia can have significant detrimental impacts on the well-being of those with the disease and their carers. A range of computer-based interventions, including touchscreen-based interventions have been researched for use with this population in the hope that they might improve psychological well-being. This article reviews touchscreen-based interventions designed to be used by people with dementia (PWD), with a specific focus in assessing their impact on well-being.; Method: The data bases, PsycInfo, ASSIA, Medline, CINAHL, and Cochrane Reviews were searched for touchscreen-based interventions designed to be used by PWD with reported psychological well-being outcomes. Methodological quality was assessed using Pluye and Hong's (2014) Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) checklist.; Results: Sixteen papers were eligible. They covered 14 methodologically diverse interventions. Interventions were reported to be beneficial in relation to mental health, social interaction, and sense of mastery. Touchscreen interventions also reportedly benefit informal carers in relation to their perceived burden and the quality of their relationships with the people they care for. Key aspects included the user interface, provision of support, learning style, tailored content, appropriate challenge, ergonomics, and users' dementia progression.; Conclusions: Whilst much of the existing research is relatively small-scale, the findings tentatively suggest that touchscreen-based interventions can improve the psychological well-being of PWD, and possibilities for more rigorous future research are suggested.

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Web-Based Interventions to Improve Mental Health, General Caregiving Outcomes, and General Health for Informal Caregivers of Adults With Chronic Conditions Living in the Community: Rapid Evidence Review

Background: Most adults with chronic conditions live at home and rely on informal caregivers to provide support. Caregiving can result in negative impacts such as poor mental and physical health. eHealth interventions may offer effective and accessible ways to provide education and support to informal caregivers. However, we know little about the impact of Web-based interventions for informal caregivers of community-dwelling adults with chronic conditions.; Objective: The purpose of this rapid evidence review was to assess the impact of Web-based interventions on mental health, general caregiving outcomes, and general health for informal caregivers of persons with chronic conditions living in the community.; Methods: A rapid evidence review of the current literature was employed to address the study purpose. EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsychInfo, CINAHL, Cochrane, and Ageline were searched covering all studies published from January 1995 to July 2016. Papers were included if they (1) included a Web-based modality to deliver an intervention; (2) included informal, unpaid adult caregivers of community-living adults with a chronic condition; (3) were either a randomized controlled trial (RCT) or controlled clinical trial (CCT); and (4) reported on any caregiver outcome as a result of use or exposure to the intervention.; Results: A total of 20 papers (17 studies) were included in this review. Study findings were mixed with both statistically significant and nonsignificant findings on various caregiver outcomes. Of the 17 included studies, 10 had at least one significant outcome. The most commonly assessed outcome was mental health, which included depressive symptoms, stress or distress, and anxiety. Twelve papers examined the impact of interventions on the outcome of depressive symptoms; 4 found a significant decrease in depressive symptoms. Eight studies examined the outcome of stress or distress; 4 of these found a significant reduction in stress or distress as a result of the intervention. Three studies examined the outcome of anxiety; 2 of these found significant reductions in anxiety. Other significant results of the interventions were seen in the outcomes of caregiver gain (ie, positive aspects of caregiving), knowledge, bonding, reduction of anger-hostility, and negative mood. Based on this review, it is not possible to determine which interventions were most effective since studies differed in their design, sample, and intervention. Study results suggest that Web-based interventions may result in reduced depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress or distress among informal caregivers of adults with chronic conditions in the community.; Conclusions: This is the first review assessing the impact of Web-based technologies on mental health, general caregiving outcomes, and general health for caregivers of adults with chronic conditions living in the community. Further rigorous research is needed that includes adequately powered studies examining the critical components of the intervention and the dosage needed to have an effect.

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Older Adults and Management of Medical Devices in the Home: Five Requirements for Appropriate Use

Medical devices, or instruments or tools to manage disease, are increasingly used in the home, yet there have been limited evaluations of how older adults and caregivers safely use these devices. This study concerns a qualitative evaluation of (1) barriers and facilitators of appropriate use, and (2) outcomes of inappropriate use, among older adults at the transition from hospital to home with skilled home health care (SHHC). Guided by a human factors engineering work system model, the authors (1) conducted direct observations with contextual inquiry of the start-of-care or resumption-of-care SHHC provider visit, and (2) semi-structured interviews with 24 older adults and their informal caregivers, and 39 SHHC providers and administrators. Five requirements for the appropriate use of home medical devices were identified. A systems approach integrating the hospital with the SHHC agency is needed to make the use of home medical devices safer.

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An assessesment of telephone assistance systems for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease

Introduction: Telephone assistance is a common practice in neurology, although there are only a few studies about this type of healthcare. We have evaluated a Telephone Assistance System (TAS) for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) from 2 points of view: financially and according to the level of satisfaction of the caregiver.; Patients and Methods: 97 patients with a diagnosis of AD according to NINCDS-ADRDA criteria and their 97 informal caregivers were selected. We studied cost differences between on-site assistance and telephone assistance (TAS) for 12 months. We used a self-administered questionnaire to assess the level of satisfaction of caregivers at the end of the study period.; Results: TAS savings amounted to 80.05 ± 27.07 euros per user. 73.6% of the caregivers consider TAS a better or much better system than on-site assistance, while only 2.6% of the caregivers considered TAS a worse or much worse system than on-site assistance.; Conclusions: Telephone assistance systems are an efficient healthcare resource for monitoring patients with AD in neurology departments. Furthermore, the level of user satisfaction was high. We therefore consider that telephone assistance service should be offered by healthcare services.

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Individualized support for informal caregivers of people with dementia - effectiveness of the German adaptation of REACH II

Background: Individualized, outreach and structured multicomponent interventions are a promising intervention approach to relieve the burden of informal caregivers of people with dementia. In this study, we adapted and evaluated a multicomponent intervention (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health II, REACH II), which was developed in the USA, to the German health-care system. Therefore the project is called the German adaptation of REACH II (in German: Deutsche Adaptation der REACH II, DE-REACH).; Methods: The effectiveness of DE-REACH was examined in a randomized, controlled trial on 92 informal caregivers of people with dementia. The intervention comprised 12 individual two-weekly sessions (9 at home with the informal caregiver and 3 via telephone) and combined five modules. The reduction of the burden of the informal caregivers was chosen as the primary outcome.; Results: The results showed a great stabilizing effect of the intervention on caregiver burden (effect size d = 0.91), that is, comparing pre- and post-measurements the burden decreased very slightly in the intervention group whereas it increased very strongly in the control group. After a three-month follow-up period this effect decreased from a great to a moderate effect. There were also improvements as a result of the intervention in somatization, health-related psychological quality of life and the reaction of the informal caregivers in response to challenging behaviors of the relative with dementia. Moreover, the frequency of challenging behaviors of the affected person itself was reduced in favor of the intervention.; Conclusion: The findings of this study provide further evidence for the impact of multicomponent support interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia.; Clinical Trial Registration: NCT01690117 . Registered September 17, 2012.

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Feasibility and effectiveness of a telephone-based social support intervention for informal caregivers of people with dementia: Study protocol of the TALKING TIME project

Background: Caring for people with dementia at home requires a significant amount of time, organization, and commitment. Therefore, informal caregivers, mainly relatives, of people with dementia often feel a high burden. Although on-site support groups are known to have positive effects on the subjective well-being (SWB) and perceived social support of informal caregivers, there are cases in which relatives have either no time or no opportunity to leave the person alone or in which there are no support groups nearby. The TALKING TIME project aims to close this supply gap by providing structured telephone-based support groups in Germany for the first time. International studies have shown benefits for informal caregivers.; Methods: The TALKING TIME study is a randomized controlled trial. The effects of the 3-month TALKING TIME intervention will be compared with those of a control group without intervention at two time points (baseline = T0, after 3 months = T1). The control group will receive the TALKING TIME intervention after T1. With a planned sample size of 88 participants, the study is powered to detect an estimated effect size of 0.70 for psychological quality of life, considering an α of 0.05 (two-sided), a power of 80%. Caregivers are informal caregivers who are eligible if they are 18 years of age or older and have cared for a person with diagnosed dementia for at least four hours, four days per week, in the past six months. The exclusion criteria are psychiatric disorders of the informal caregiver. The primary outcome is the mental component summary of the SF-12 rated by informal caregivers. The secondary outcomes for informal caregivers are the physical component summary of the SF-12, the Perceived Social Support Caregiver Scale (SSCS) score, and the Caregiver Reaction Scale (CRS) score. The secondary outcome for care recipients is the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI-Q). For the process evaluation, different quantitative and qualitative data sources will be collected to address reach, fidelity, dosage and context.; Discussion: The results will provide further information on the effectiveness and optimization of telephone-based support groups for informal caregivers of people with dementia, which can help guide the further development of effective telephone-based social support group interventions.; Trial Registration: Clinical Trials: NCT02806583 , June 9, 2016.;

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The Tele.TAnDem Intervention: Telephone-based CBT for Family Caregivers of People With Dementia

Background and Objectives: This study evaluated the effectiveness of a telephone-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for family caregivers of people with dementia in existing health care provision structures. Research Design and Methods: Two hundred seventy-three family caregivers of people with dementia were randomly assigned to receive the intervention or usual care. Usual care included unrestricted access to community resources. Intervention group participants received twelve 50-min sessions of individual cognitive-behavioral therapy by trained psychotherapists within 6 months. Symptoms of depression, emotional well-being, physical health symptoms, burden of care, coping with the care situation and challenging behavior were assessed after the intervention ended and at a 6-month follow-up. Intention-to-treat analyses using latent change models were applied. Results: Intention-to-treat analyses showed improved emotional well-being (γ = 9.59, p = .001), fewer symptoms of depression (γ = -0.23, p = .043), fewer physical health symptoms (γ = -0.25, p = .019), improved coping with the care situation (γ = 0.25, p = .005) and the behavior of the care recipient (γ = 0.23, p = .034) compared with usual care. Effects for coping (γ = 0.28, p = .006 and γ = 0.39, p < .001, respectively) and emotional well-being (γ = 7.61, p = .007) were also found at follow-up. Discussion and Implications: The CBT-based telephone intervention increased mental and physical health as well as coping abilities of family caregivers of people with dementia. The intervention can be delivered by qualified CBT therapists after an 8-h training session in existing health care provision structures.

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Outcome of a web-based mindfulness intervention for families living with mental illness - A feasibility study

Background: Families living with a person with mental illness can experience distress requiring therapeutic interventions. Web-based mindfulness interventions have shown beneficial health outcomes for both clinical and healthy populations, and may help families cope and overcome barriers that can otherwise hinder a help-seeking process.; Aims: To develop and assess outcomes of a web-based mindfulness intervention for families living with a person with mental illness.; Methods: A pilot study investigating an 8-week web-based mindfulness intervention with a pre-post design and follow-up after 3 months, with mindfulness as the primary outcome and perceived stress, caregiver burden and self-compassion as secondary outcomes. The study included a sample of 97 persons approached by advertisement in newspapers, newsletters, and online.; Results: The study showed significant improvements in levels of mindfulness post-intervention and at follow-up as well as significant improvements in levels of perceived stress, caregiver burden, and self-compassion both post-intervention and at follow-up.; Discussion: Acceptability and feasibility of the intervention were high, outcomes were relevant, and the intervention showed positive and significant results supporting the hypothesis that the intervention may help families cope with a stressful situation.; Conclusion: Further randomized controlled studies of the intervention are needed to investigate the intervention's effectiveness, including dose-effect studies.;

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Like an extended family: Relationships that emerge when older caregivers use written messages to communicate in an ICT-based healthcare service

Objective: To explore the relationships that emerge amongst caregivers of persons with dementia and stroke when caregivers use written messages as their communication tool in a closed information and communication technology (ICT)-based support group. Methods: An explorative design with a qualitative approach was used that applied systematic text condensation (STC) to analyse 173 written messages extracted from a web forum.Results: Empathetic, empowering and familiar relationships emerged amongst peers of older caregivers when the caregivers used written messages as their communication tool. The empathetic relationship was characterised by sincerity and openness when the caregivers shared emotions related to caregiving. The empowering relationship reflected a fellowship based on solidarity influenced by a sense of optimism and a willingness to share knowledge to support one another in overcoming challenges. In the familiar relationship, the caregivers were thoughtful and good-humoured with one another and displayed an attitude of consideration towards one another, as in an extended family. Practice Implication: The use of computer-mediated communication in health care service will change the context of establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships. Therefore, greater knowledge regarding how the peers of caregivers interact with one another is vital so nurses may better support and educate ICT-based support groups. 

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eHealth interventions for family carers of people with long term illness: A promising approach?

Family carers of people who have long term illness often experience physical and mental health morbidities, and burden. While there is good evidence to suggest that carers benefit from psychosocial interventions, these have primarily been delivered via face-to-face individual or group-formats. eHealth interventions offer a novel, accessible and self-paced approach to care delivery. Whether these are effective for carers' wellbeing has been little explored. This paper reports the first comprehensive systematic review in this area. A total of 78 studies, describing 62 discrete interventions, were identified. Interventions commonly aimed to promote carers' knowledge, self-efficacy, caregiving appraisal, and reduce global health morbidities. Interventions were offered to carers of people with a wide range of long term illness; dementia has been the most researched area, as reported in 40% of studies. Clinical and methodological heterogeneity in interventions precluded meta-analyses, and so data were analysed narratively. The most popular approach has comprised psychoeducational interventions delivered via an enriched online environment with supplementary modes of communication, such as network support with professionals and peers. Overall, carers appreciate the flexibility and self-paced nature of eHealth interventions, with high rates of satisfaction and acceptability. More studies using robust designs are needed to extend the evidence base.

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Adapting an Early Palliative Care Intervention to Family Caregivers of Persons With Advanced Cancer in the Rural Deep South: A Qualitative Formative Evaluation

Context: There is a scarcity of early palliative care interventions to support family caregivers of persons with advanced cancer living in the rural Southern U.S. Objective: The objective of this study was to adapt the content, format, and delivery of a six session, palliative care, telehealth intervention with monthly follow-up for rural family caregivers to enhance their own self-care and caregiving skills. Methods: Qualitative formative evaluation consisting of one-on-one, semistructured interviews with rural-dwelling persons with metastatic cancer (n = 18), their primary family caregiver (n = 20), and lay patient navigators (n = 26) were conducted to elicit feedback on a family caregiver intervention outline based on published evidence-based interventions. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using a thematic analysis approach. Coinvestigators reviewed and refined preliminary themes. Results: Participants recommended that intervention topical content be flexible and has an adaptable format based on continuous needs assessment. Sessions should be 20 minutes long at minimum, and additional sessions should be offered if requested. Faith and spirituality is essential to address but should not be an overarching intervention theme. Content needs to be communicated in simple language. Intervention delivery via telephone is acceptable, but face-to-face contact is desired to establish relationships. Other Internet-based technologies (e.g., video-conferencing) could be helpful, but many rural dwellers may not be technology savvy or have Internet access. Most lay navigators believed they could lead the intervention with additional training, protocols for professional referral, and supervision by specialty-trained palliative care clinicians. Conclusions: A potentially scalable palliative care intervention is being adapted for family caregivers of rural-dwelling persons with advanced cancer and will undergo piloting in a small-scale randomized controlled trial. 

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The ELMI online course - an important tool for caregivers in management of Alzheimer's disease patient in Romania

Alzheimer's disease burdens not only the patient, but also the older person's informal (family) caregiver. This burden has been linked to negative health effects for caregivers. The online course could be an important tool for caregivers in management of Alzheimer's disease Patients in Romania. The study evaluate the impact of burden in caregiving and the improvement of quality of life for caregiver after ELMI course. ELMI online course is the first online course in Romania designed to decrease the impact of informal (family) caregiver burden and to improve the quality of life for caregivers and also the care of persons with AD patients through the educational program especially designed to face the social, psychological and economic pressures. 

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The use of advanced medical technologies at home: a systematic review of the literature

Background: The number of medical technologies used in home settings has increased substantially over the last 10-15 years. In order to manage their use and to guarantee quality and safety, data on usage trends and practical experiences are important. This paper presents a literature review on types, trends and experiences with the use of advanced medical technologies at home.; Methods: The study focused on advanced medical technologies that are part of the technical nursing process and 'hands on' processes by nurses, excluding information technology such as domotica. The systematic review of literature was performed by searching the databases MEDLINE, Scopus and Cinahl. We included papers from 2000 to 2015 and selected articles containing empirical material.; Results: The review identified 87 relevant articles, 62% was published in the period 2011-2015. Of the included studies, 45% considered devices for respiratory support, 39% devices for dialysis and 29% devices for oxygen therapy. Most research has been conducted on the topic 'user experiences' (36%), mainly regarding patients or informal caregivers. Results show that nurses have a key role in supporting patients and family caregivers in the process of homecare with advanced medical technologies and in providing information for, and as a member of multi-disciplinary teams. However, relatively low numbers of articles were found studying nurses perspective.; Conclusions: Research on medical technologies used at home has increased considerably until 2015. Much is already known on topics, such as user experiences; safety, risks, incidents and complications; and design and technological development. We also identified a lack of research exploring the views of nurses with regard to medical technologies for homecare, such as user experiences of nurses with different technologies, training, instruction and education of nurses and human factors by nurses in risk management and patient safety.

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Caring for Carers of People with Dementia: A Protocol for Harnessing Innovation Through Deploying Leading Edge Technologies to Enable Virtual Support Groups and Services

In rural Australia, knowledge and utilisation of support by informal carers is lacking. During the caregiving period, socioemotional support from family and friends plays an important role in sustaining caregiving activities. Post-care, these social networks facilitate adjustment to role change and dealing with grief. Developing and improving access to peer support to enable carers to effectively cope with the challenges of caring may positively influence their caring experience. The primary objective of this project is to examine the response of isolated rural carers for older people with dementia to a videoconference (VC) based peer support and information program. Will participation in the program improve self-efficacy, quality of life, and mental health? Secondary objectives are to develop a VC based peer support program for isolated rural carers for older people with dementia, using a co-design approach; and to assess the feasibility of VC technology for enhancing social support to family caregivers in their homes. This project will collaboratively co-design and evaluate a facilitated VC peer support and information program to carers of people with dementia within rural areas. Carers will be recruited through community health and care providers. Program development will use an information sharing approach to facilitate social interaction. A focus of the project is to use off-the-shelf technology which will be more accessible than specialised bespoke solutions that are currently popular in this area of research. A mixed methods repeated measures randomized wait list design will be used to evaluate the project. The primary outcomes are self-efficacy, quality of life, and mental health. Secondary outcomes are perceived social support and user satisfaction with the technology, and intention to continue VC interaction.

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Reducing Symptom Distress in Patients With Advanced Cancer Using an e-Alert System for Caregivers: Pooled Analysis of Two Randomized Clinical Trials

Background: Symptom distress in patients toward the end of life can change rapidly. Family caregivers have the potential to help patients manage those symptoms, as well as their own stress, if they are equipped with the proper resources. Electronic health (eHealth) systems may be able to provide those resources. Very sick patients may not be able to use such systems themselves to report their symptoms but family caregivers could.; Objective: The aim of this paper was to assess the effects on cancer patient symptom distress of an eHealth system that alerts clinicians to significant changes in the patient's symptoms, as reported by a family caregiver.; Methods: A pooled analysis from two randomized clinical trials (NCT00214162 and NCT00365963) compared outcomes at 12 months for two unblinded groups: a control group (Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System [CHESS]-Only) that gave caregivers access to CHESS, an online support system, and an experimental group (CHESS+CR [Clinician Report]), which also had CHESS but with a CR that automatically alerted clinicians if symptoms exceeded a predetermined threshold of severity. Participants were dyads (n=235) of patients with advanced lung, breast, or prostate cancer and their respective family caregivers from 5 oncology clinics in the United States of America. The proportion of improved patient threshold symptoms was compared between groups using area-under-the-curve analysis and binomial proportion tests. The proportion of threshold symptoms out of all reported symptoms was also examined.; Results: When severe caregiver-reported symptoms were shared with clinicians, the symptoms were more likely to be subsequently reported as improved than when the symptoms were not shared with clinicians (P<.001). Fewer symptom reports were completed in the group of caregivers whose reports went to clinicians than in the CHESS-Only group (P<.001), perhaps because caregivers, knowing their reports might be sent to a doctor, feared they might be bothering the clinician.; Conclusions: This study suggests that an eHealth system designed for caregivers that alerts clinicians to worrisome changes in patient health status may lead to reduced patient distress.; Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00214162; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00214162 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6nmgdGfuD) and Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00365963; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00365963 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6nmh0U8VP).; ©David H Gustafson, Lori L DuBenske, Amy K Atwood, Ming-Yuan Chih, Roberta A Johnson, Fiona McTavish, Andrew Quanbeck, Roger L Brown, James F Cleary, Dhavan Shah. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 14.11.2017.

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A randomized trial of a web-based platform to help families manage dementia-related behavioral symptoms: The WeCareAdvisor™

Dementia-related behavioral symptoms are challenging clinical features occurring across etiologies and disease progression. They are associated with increased healthcare utilization, nursing home placement, family upset and burden. Families typically manage behavioral symptoms without requisite knowledge, skills and guidance. We designed WeCareAdvisor™ as an easy-to-use, evidence-informed web-based platform. It provides families knowledge about dementia, daily tips, and a systematic approach to describe behaviors, investigate modifiable contributors, create treatment plans (WeCareAdvisor™ Prescription) consisting of management tips tailored to symptom presentation, and evaluate effectiveness. WeCareAdvisor™ is being tested in a randomized trial to assess acceptability, usability and immediate impact on caregiver confidence managing and upset with behavioral symptoms, and secondarily, frequency of behavioral occurrences. Fifty-seven caregivers will be enrolled from communities and medical clinics at two sites (University of Michigan; Johns Hopkins University). Families reporting behavioral symptoms in a telephone screen are consented and interviewed at home. Following the interview, an envelope is opened by interviewers to reveal group assignment (immediate vs one-month delayed treatment group). Those receiving WeCareAdvisor™ immediately are provided an iPad and instruction in its use; those in the delayed treatment group are informed of next study steps. All caregivers are reassessed at home one month from baseline. The delayed treatment group then receives iPad instructions and are re-interviewed one month thereafter. During treatment phase, participants receive 3 weekly check-in calls to encourage tool use and troubleshoot. Key outcomes include number of times using WeCareAdvisor™ and for which behaviors, self-efficacy and upset managing behavioral symptoms, and frequency of behavioral occurrences. Clinical trial registration #: NCT02420535.; Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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"Anonymous Meltdown": Content Themes Emerging in a Nonfacilitated, Peer-only, Unstructured, Asynchronous Online Support Group for Family Caregivers

By providing care for loved ones in the home, family caregivers save millions of dollars for our overtaxed healthcare system. Support groups can lighten the psychological burden of caregiving. Nonprofessionally facilitated (or peer) online caregiver support groups can help meet a critical need in healthcare as a low-cost resource for caregivers. Online caregiver peer support groups can promote the health and well-being of family caregivers and, by extension, the patients themselves, resulting in cost-savings for society. A better understanding of these types of groups is of critical importance, given the unrelenting pace of demographic shift in the United States. The purpose of this study was to examine content themes emerging from an unstructured, asynchronous online peer support group for family caregivers of people with chronic illness. Qualitative content analysis was used, yielding six themes: "experiencing the emotional toll," "need for catharsis/venting," "finding the silver linings," "seeking specific advice/problem solving," "realizing home is no longer a haven," and "adapting to the caregiver role." The themes reflect what emerged organically in an online support group that was not professionally facilitated or structured in any way. Heterogeneity in the relationship between caregivers and care recipients may negatively affect outcomes and requires further study.

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State of Caring 2018

A total of 7,397 carers and former carers responded to Carers UK’s annual State of Caring survey between March and May 2018. 

Only responses from the 6,828 people currently providing care who completed the survey are included in this report as it is designed to provide a snapshot of caring in 2018. However, Carers UK will be using the responses of former carers in other pieces of work throughout the year. 

Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey were more likely to be female and caring for a high number of hours every week. 

Of respondents to the State of Caring Survey 2018 who are currently caring:

  • 75% live in England, 8% live in Northern Ireland, 9% live in Scotland, and 8% live in Wales.
  • 78% identify as female and 20% identify as male.
  • 24% consider themselves to have a disability.
  • 1% are aged 0-24, 4% are aged 25-34, 12% are aged 35-44, 30% are aged 45-54, 33% are aged 55-64, 15% are aged 65-74 and 5% are aged 75 and over. As fewer 1% of carers currently providing care who are under 18 took part in the survey, we have not explored results specifically for this group in the report. 
  • 3% are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • 12% also have childcare responsibilities for a non-disabled child under 18.
  • 38% are in paid work (49% full-time and 51% part-time).
  • 33% have been caring 15 years or more, 15% for between 10-14 years, 24% for 5-9 years, 25% for 1-4 years and just 3% have been caring for less than one year. 
  • 47% care for 90 or more hours every week, while 16% care for 50-89 hours, 24% for 20-49 hours and 5% care for 1-19 hours a week.
  • Most (75%) care for one person, 19% care for two people, 4% for three people and 2% care for four or more people.
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Implementation of the Blended Care Self-Management Program for Caregivers of People With Early-Stage Dementia (Partner in Balance): Process Evaluation of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Background: Caring for a family member with dementia puts caregivers at risk of overburdening. Electronic health (eHealth) support for caregivers offers an opportunity for accessible tailored interventions. The blended care self-management program "Partner in Balance" (PiB) for early-stage dementia caregivers was executed in Dutch dementia care organizations. The program combines face-to-face coaching with tailored Web-based modules. Next to an evaluation of program effectiveness, an evaluation of sampling and intervention quality is essential for the generalizability and interpretation of results.; Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the process evaluation from the perspective of both family caregivers (participants) and professionals delivering the intervention (coaches) to determine internal and external validity before the effect analysis and aid future implementation.; Methods: Implementation, sampling, and intervention quality were evaluated with quantitative and qualitative data from logistical research data, coach questionnaires (n=13), and interviews with coaches (n=10) and participants (n=49). Goal attainment scaling was used to measure treatment-induced change. Analyses were performed with descriptive statistics and deductive content analysis.; Results: The participation rate of eligible caregivers was 51.9% (80/154). Recruitment barriers were lack of computer and lack of need for support. Young age and employment were considered recruitment facilitators. All coaches attended training and supervision in blended care self-management. Deviations from the structured protocol were reported on intervention time, structure, and feedback. Coaches described an intensified relationship with the caregiver post intervention. Caregivers appreciated the tailored content and positive feedback. The blended structure increased their openness. The discussion forum was appreciated less. Overall, personal goals were attained after the program (T>50). Implementation barriers included lack of financing, time, and deviating target population.; Conclusions: Participants and coaches were satisfied with the intervention, but adapting the content to specific subgroups, for example, younger caregivers, was recommended. Implementation of the program requires more awareness of the benefits of blended care self-management programs and training in tailored self-management skills.; Trial Registration: Dutch Trial Register (NTR): NTR4748; http://www.trialregister.nl (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6vSb2t9Mg).; ©Lizzy MM Boots, Marjolein E de Vugt, Claudia MJ Smeets, Gertrudis IJM Kempen, Frans RJ Verhey. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 19.12.2017.

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Self-assessment of independence in older people: First results from an open-access website for senior citizens and caregivers in France

Background: E-health initiatives on the Internet can be used to provide support to people with chronic diseases and to their caregivers. In 2014/2015, we created a free website called jesuisautonome.fr where older people, or their carers on their behalf, can assess their independence in daily living by filling out a simple questionnaire. Objectives: To evaluate the interest of the public in websites of this kind, by analysing home care plans obtained via the self-assessment questionnaire. We also describe patterns of use and visitor behaviour. Method: Over a period of 6 months, we analysed data from the website in terms of the basic characteristics of the user; the number of questionnaires completed; the main types of needs in terms of home support; and data from Google Analytics about the number of visitors, user behaviour and behaviour flow. Results: During the 6-month study period, 439 visitors to the site either viewed, part-completed or fully completed the questionnaire. A total of 190 users completed the questionnaire. Seventy-one per cent of the completed questionnaires were from family caregivers, and 29% were from senior citizens. The mean age of those receiving care was 78 ± 10.46 years. Their main needs were for domiciliary care (29.3%). Data from Google Analytics showed about 420 visits per month. Approximately 7.5% completed a questionnaire, approximately 5.3% downloaded a home care plan and there was a bounce rate of about 62%. Conclusion: First results from this website tend to endorse its use as a means of making practical solutions available to caregivers and older people.

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Tactile care, mechanical Hugs: Japanese caregivers and robotic lifting devices

This article explores the attempted introduction of a lifting robot called “Hug” into an elderly care home in Japan. As demand for institutional elderly care in Japan escalates due to population aging and a move away from familial care, the shortage of professional care staff is also intensifying. Attributing this shortage partly to carers’ endemic back pain, the Japanese government and corporations have poured resources into developing high-tech robotic lifting devices. Yet contrary to their expectation, many Japanese caregivers seem reluctant or even hostile to the idea of using such devices. I use fieldwork data to explore why this is the case, and find that lifting is situated within a practice of tactile, joking care aimed at ensuringanshin(安心; “peace of mind”) for both care staff and residents. Mechanical replacement of this tactile connection was strongly resisted as “disrespectful” by care staff. 

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A randomized controlled trial of a hospital at home service for the terminally ill

This study evaluated the impact of a Cambridge hospital at home service (CHAH) on patients' quality of care, likelihood of remaining at home in their final 2 weeks of life and general practitioner (GP) visits. The design was a randomized controlled trial, comparing CHAH with standard care. The patient's district nurse, GP and informal carer were surveyed within 6 weeks of patient's death, and 225 district nurses, 194 GPs and 144 informal carers of 229 patients responded. There was no clear evidence that CHAH increased likelihood of remaining at home during the final 2 weeks of life. However, the service was associated with fewer GP out of hours visits. All respondent groups rated CHAH favourably compared to standard care but emphasized different aspects. District nurses rated CHAH as better than standard care in terms of adequacy of night care and support for the carer, GPs in terms of anxiety and depression, and informal carers in terms of control of pain and nausea. Thus whilst CHAH was not found to increase the likelihood of remaining at home, it appeared to be associated with better quality home care.

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A Knowledge-Based Multimedia Telecare System to Improve the Provision of Formal and Informal Care for the Elderly and Disabled

We have developed a knowledge-based multimedia telecare system, based on a multimedia PC connected by ISDN at 128 kbit/s. The user display is a television. Multimedia material is accessed through a browser-based interface. A remote-control handset is used as the main means of interaction, to ensure ease of use and overcome any initial reservations resulting from ‘technophobia’ on the part of the informal carer. The system was used in 13 family homes and four professional sites in Northern Ireland. The evaluations produced positive comments from the informal carers. There are plans to expand the use of the system.

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Experiences with using information and communication technology to build a multi-municipal support network for informal carers

This multi-municipal intervention study explored whether informal carers of frail older people and disabled children living at home made use of information and communication technology (ICT) to gain knowledge about caring and to form informal support networks, thereby improving their health. Seventy-nine informal carers accessed web-based information about caring and an e-based discussion forum via their personal computers. They were able to maintain contact with each other using a web camera and via normal group meetings. After the first 12 months, 17 informal carers participated in focus group interviews and completed a short questionnaire. Four staff members were also interviewed. Participant carers who had prior experiences with a similar ICT-based support network reported greater satisfaction and more extensive use of the network than did participants with no such prior experience. It seems that infrequent usage of the service may be explained by too few other carers to identify with and inappropriate recruitment procedures. Nevertheless, carers of disabled children reported that the intervention had resulted in improved services across the participant municipalities. To achieve optimal effects of an ICT-based support network due attention must be given to recruitment processes and social environment building for which care practitioners require training and support.

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Which outcomes should we measure in adult epilepsy trials? The views of people with epilepsy and informal carers

Objective: So that informed treatment decisions can be made, clinical trials need to evaluate treatments against domains that are important to people with epilepsy (PWE), their carers, and clinicians. Health professionals have identified domains of importance to them via the International League Against Epilepsy's Commission on Outcome Measurement (COME). However, patients and carers have not been systematically asked.

Methods: Via the membership of the British Epilepsy Association, we recruited and surveyed 352 PWE and 263 of their informal carers. They were presented with 10 outcome domains (including the 5 identified by COME) and asked to rate their importance using a 9-point Likert scale. They were also asked to identify any additional domains of importance.

Results: The patients' mean age was 49 years, the median number of years since diagnosis was 20, and 65% had experienced seizures in the prior 12 months. Most carers were the spouse or parent. Patients' and carers' mean ratings indicated that their outcome priorities were similar, as were those of patients who had and had not experienced recent seizures. There was consensus among patients that 6 domains were of critical importance. These included the 5 identified by COME (namely, and in order of importance, the effects of the treatment on “Seizure severity”, “Seizure frequency”, “Quality of life”, “Cognitive function”, and “Adverse events”), as well as one additional domain (“Independence/need for support”). There was consensus among carers that the 5 COME domains were also critically important. They, however, identified 3 further domains as critically important. These were the effects of the treatment on patient “Depression”, “Anxiety”, and “Independence/need for support”.

Conclusions: Our study found some overlap between the priorities of PWE, carers, and health professionals. They, however, highlight additional areas of importance to patients and carers. Our results could inform a core outcome set for epilepsy that represents the domains that should be reported as a minimum by all trials. This could promote trials which produce meaningful results and consistency in measurement and reporting.

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User acceptance of a multi-media software application to increase preparedness for caring problems

This paper presents verification data for a multimedia software application intended to enhance carers' ability to respond to everyday difficulties and emergency situations. The program provides educational information about first aid, how to deal with everyday problems and a number of emergency situations such as bleeding, falling and choking. An evaluation plan was developed, including instruments for measuring and assessing usability. These included a questionnaire, scenarios and a pro-forma for user trials; a questionnaire for evaluation of the program; log diaries, field notes and technical diaries. User trials were carried out with both healthcare professionals and family carers. Casual users were encouraged to test the programs at the professional sites. Users' views on usability were utilized for the development of further prototype of the software application. 

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A practical guide for disabled people or carers: where to find information, services and equipment

Guide giving information about services for disabled people available from government departments and agencies, the NHS, local government, and voluntary organisations. Covers every need, including housing, money, opportunities for holidays and leisure, and many more. Includes phone numbers, publications and a list of organisations.

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The initial evaluation of the Scottish Telecare Development Program

In 2006 the Scottish Government provided just over £8 million to help 32 health and social care partnerships to develop telecare services. This paper presents a summary of the 2007-2008 evaluation of the Scottish Telecare Development. This evaluation focused on measuring overall program progress toward eight predefined Scottish Telecare Development objectives. Results indicate that the initial investment has resulted in significant savings to the health and social care sectors. Additionally, telecare provides opportunities to promote independence and improve the quality of life of service users and their informal carers. However, some caution needs to be taken in interpreting the findings as results are based on self-reported performance from partnerships, and many of the reported monetary ''savings'' are actually efficiency savings and are unlikely, in practice, to be cash-releasing.

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A systematic review of networked technologies supporting carers of people with dementia

We conducted a systematic review of the effectiveness of networked ICT interventions in supporting carers of people with dementia. Five bibliographic databases were searched and a total of 1,456 abstracts were identified as potentially relevant. From these we identified 15 papers describing five interventions: ComputerLink, AlzOnline, Caring for Others and two studies from the REACH project (TLC and CTIS). The interventions reviewed were multifaceted with elements of networked peer support. Outcomes were inconsistent but suggested that the interventions had moderate effects on improving carer stress and depression. Treatment effects were found to vary with care-giver characteristics such as ethnic groups, formal support and baseline burden. Further evaluation is needed in robust trials with good follow-up. 

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The ethical evaluation of assistive technology for practitioners: a checklist arising from a participatory study with people with dementia, family and professionals

Purpose – Uncertainty over ethical impact may hinder uptake of assistive technology (AT) in dementia. This study aims to examine whether AT contributes to person‐centred care, whether users can participate in research and to explore ethical dilemmas with users, family and professional carers.

Design/methodology/approach – People with dementia, at home or in residential care, and carers were allocated equipment and consulted about ethics. In a small, qualitative study, data were collected using semi‐structured interviews and vignettes and content‐analysed to establish themes.

Findings – AT in person‐centred dementia care requires meticulous assessment, reliability and availability in rapidly evolving situations. Users displayed insight, logic and empathy in ethical evaluation. They disliked remote monitoring and surveillance, whereas carers were pragmatic, prioritising safety.

Research limitations/implications – This research provides further evidence that users with dementia can be included in research. It demonstrates a significant potential role for AT in dementia care, with an ethical checklist to help professionals evaluate ethical dilemmas.

Originality/value – AT potentially increases wellbeing, enabling users to remain longer at home, delaying or avoiding moves to or between homes.

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In-patient psychiatric care for individuals with intellectual disabilities: the service users' and carers' perspectives

Background: Little is known about the experiences of individuals with intellectual disabilities and additional mental health problems who are admitted for inpatient psychiatric care. In the UK such care is delivered in both generic psychiatric and specialised treatment settings.

Aims: The present study explored service users' and carers' views on in-patient psychiatric treatment received across these two settings.

Method: Thirty service users and wherever possible their main carers were interviewed about their views on the psychiatric admission, treatment and discharge process. Data was gathered during semi-structured, one-to-one interviews.

Results: Both service users and carers identified positive and negative aspects of the psychiatric admission. For service users lack of control and information, support from staff, or conversely its absence emerged as key themes. For carers concerns about service users' vulnerability, negative staff attitudes and opportunities for involvement emerged as key themes. The accounts of both groups regarding generic psychiatric settings were predominantly negative. In contrast, specialized settings were frequently described as providing a pleasant environment, supportive and caring staff, good information sharing and satisfactory discharge arrangements.

Conclusions: Important areas for service improvements are highlighted. Implications in particular for generic settings are considered.

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Informal care and home-based palliative care: the health-related quality of life of carers

Health is an important factor in the capacity of family and friends (informal carers) to continue providing care for palliative care patients at home. This study investigates associations between the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of current informal carers and characteristics of the carers and their caregiving situation, in a sample of Australian carers of palliative care patients. The cross-sectional study used the Short Form-36 Health Survey to measure HRQOL. It found carers to have better physical health and worse mental health than the general population. Of 178 carers, 35% reported their health to be worse than it was one year ago. Multiple regression analyses found that the HRQOL of carers whose health had deteriorated in the previous year was associated with the patient's care needs but not the carer's time input, unlike the carers reporting stable health. Clinicians caring for palliative care patients should be alert to the potential health impairments of informal carers and ensure that they are adequately supported in their caregiving role and have access to appropriate treatment and preventive health care.

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New networked technologies and carers of people with dementia: an interview study

Dementia is one of the greatest contemporary health and social care challenges, and novel approaches to the care of its sufferers are needed. New information and communication technologies (ICT) have the potential to assist those caring for people with dementia, through access to networked information and support, tracking and surveillance. This article reports the views about such new technologies of 34 carers of people with dementia. We also held a group discussion with nine carers for respondent validation. The carers' actual use of new ICT was limited, although they thought a gradual increase in the use of networked technology in dementia care was inevitable but would bypass some carers who saw themselves as too old. Carers expressed a general enthusiasm for the benefits of ICT, but usually not for themselves, and they identified several key challenges including: establishing an appropriate balance between, on the one hand, privacy and autonomy and, on the other: maximising safety; establishing responsibility for and ownership of the equipment and who bears the costs; the possibility that technological help would mean a loss of valued personal contact; and the possibility that technology would substitute for existing services rather than be complementary. For carers and dementia sufferers to be supported, the expanding use of these technologies should be accompanied by intensive debate of the associated issues.

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Development of an integrated telehealth system to facilitate self management of long term conditions

Objective. This paper describes the user-centred specification, development and evaluation of a prototype telehealth system, capable of enhancing self management for people with congestive heart failure (CHF). The overall aim is to produce a system to enable people with a range of long term conditions to self manage. CHF is one of three exemplar conditions under investigation in the SMART2 (Self Management supported by Assistive, Rehabilitative and Telecare Technologies) project.

Main content. User requirements were established by conducting focus groups and semi structured interviews with health care professionals, users and their informal carers. From these, a list of features for a Personalised Self Management System was determined and prioritised based on long term conditions policy and guidance in England and Wales, existing clinical guidance and expertise held within the project Consortium. A technology appraisal mapped these features with relevant existing technologies and a system structure was produced. This was validated by semi structured interviews with users and carers and data informed the development of a working prototype. An iterative cycle of feedback and evaluation is ongoing.

Results. Health care professionals discussed the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their working practice and how ICTs could support their patients to self manage. Users and carers discussed their views of everyday technologies and how they lived with and managed their condition. The resulting system structure comprised the following elements: Setting personal goals. Personalised self management sessions to improve condition specific knowledge and physical fitness (a cross cutting theme in all three conditions). Assessment of progress and appropriate feedback. Links to the healthcare team and external sources of support. Users welcomed the idea of such a system and emphasis was placed on the importance of personalisation and flexibility. The physical prototype comprises a touch screen home hub and mobile device and further evaluation and iteration is ongoing.

Conclusion. This system is both feasible and acceptable to health care professionals, users and carers. It is responsive to the current direction of UK policy and offers a unique opportunity for telehealth to fulfil a much wider remit than it currently provides

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Reducing caregiver stress with internet-based interventions: a systematic review of open-label and randomized controlled trials

Objective The high level of stress associated with caring for others with medical conditions has been recognized for some time. Reducing caregiver stress can improve caregiver quality of life as well as improve the care they provide to loved ones. This systematic review assesses the effectiveness of internet-based interventions to decrease caregiver stress.

Materials and methods A comprehensive literature search of Ovid MEDLINE (1946–2013), Embase (1988–2013), PsycINFO (1987–2013), and CINAHL was conducted using terms related to caregiver and internet-based interventions. Internet-based interventions involving informal caregivers in an open-label or randomized controlled trial setting were included. A pair of raters independently reviewed all published abstracts. Data regarding participants, interventions, and outcomes were extracted and, for randomized trials, methodology quality was also reviewed.

Results Eight open-label trials met the review criteria: three showed positive benefit in reducing caregiver stress, four were partially positive (some outcomes positive, others negative), and one was a negative study. Sixteen randomized trials met the review criteria: six showed positive benefit, five were partially positive, and five were negative. There were no clear patterns as to the variables (such as study duration and complexity of intervention) associated with better outcomes, although earlier studies typically had more negative outcomes.

Discussion Internet-based interventions were mostly effective in reducing aspects of caregiver stress and improving their well-being. Further studies to assess outcomes for caregivers and their recipients’ health, different technology delivery methods, and the cost of such interventions are needed.

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Commentary

The article reports on the results of a study showing that cholinesterase inhibitors provide little benefits for informal carers of community dwelling people with Alzheimer's disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors increase synaptic levels of acetylcholine and produce modest improvements in symptoms in clinical trials.

Studying intersection points - An analysis of information needs for shared homecare of elderly patients

Objectives: Elderly patients are increasingly receiving care in their own homes but this process is not well supported by existing systems which suffer from limited integration of health and social care services. The result is fragmentation of care, lack of coordination between services, duplication of services, and limited participation of patients and informal carers in the care process. In this study we attempt to identify the key intersection points, i.e. where different actors involved in the homecare of elderly patients interact, and to analyse their individual information requirements. How these requirements can be met using information and communication technology (ICT) is discussed. Methods: The study involved 13 participants representing professional health and social care workers, patients and relatives. Their interactions and information needs were obtained using a variety of methods including multi-disciplinary thematic seminars, participatory observations, interviews, inventory of current information systems, scenarios, sketching and prototyping. Results: The key intersection points where information exchange between different actors is needed are (i) Initiation of patient specific changes in homecare provision, (ii) Consultations, (iii) Delegation of duties, (iv) Referrals, (v) Important health events and general care (vi) Coordination of planned activities. Shared information objects which would be beneficial include (i) Contact information of all parties, (ii) Patient care plan, (iii) Patient’s medication list, (iv) Risk factors, (v) Updates to medical records, (vi) Patient medical summaries, (vii) Patient centred calendar (viii) Assessment of their homecare needs. An ICT solution implemented to meet these requirements must be integrated with existing systems to minimise any additional work that staff will have to do and also address major issues such as security, design of mobile applications (including both interface design and synchronisation issues), interoperability and ethical and legal aspects. Conclusion: This study has identified the information that needs to be shared at key intersection points between different actors involved in providing homecare for the elderly. It has also indicated how this information can be made available through ICT and highlighted the challenges that will have to be overcome in order to support patient centred care.

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Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Invariance Testing of the Young Carer of Parents Inventory (YCOPI)

Objective: Research into youth caregiving in families where a parent experiences a significant medical condition has been hampered by a lack of contextually sensitive measures of the nature and breadth of young caregiving experiences. This study examined the factor structure and measurement invariance of such a measure called the Young Carer of Parents Inventory (YCOPI; Pakenham et al., 2006) using confirmatory factor analysis across 3 groups of youth. The YCOPI has 2 parts: YCOPI-A with 5 factors assessing caregiving experiences that are applicable to all caregiving contexts; YCOPI-B with 4 factors that tap dimensions related to youth caregiving in the context of parent illness. Design: Two samples (ages 9–20 years) were recruited: a community sample of 2,429 youth from which 2 groups were derived (“healthy” family [HF], n = 1760; parental illness [PI], n = 446), and a sample of 130 youth of a parent with multiple sclerosis). Results: With some modification, the YCOPI-A demonstrated a replicable factor structure across 3 groups, and exhibited only partial measurement invariance across the HF and PI groups. The impact of assuming full measurement invariance on latent mean differences appeared small, supporting use of the measure in research and applied settings when estimated using latent factors and controlling for measurement invariance. PI youth reported significantly higher scores than did HF youth on all YCOPI-A subscales. The YCOPI-B requires some modifications, and further development work is recommended. Conclusion: The factor structure that emerged and the addition of new items constitutes the YCOPI-Revised. Findings support the use of the YCOPI-Revised in research and applied settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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ICT for independent living services

In order to maximise the potential of Independent Living Services (ILS) for active ageing, it is expected that innovative organizational models will be needed to support their implementation. For example, closer co-ordination between all service providers and stakeholders of independent living services is essential, such as health and social services providers' coordination for early detection of risks and preventive interventions. ICT have a central role to play in new models of healthcare, since they allow the networking and sharing of citizen information among all stakeholders that underpin a more integrated care provision. New models also allow continuity of care, avoiding unnecessary hospitalization or intrusive surgery, minimizing the disruptive effect of healthcare interventions on patients' daily lives. Specific research to better understand how ICT can contribute to enabling independent living through new models of care would be needed. Current models and solutions for care provision need to take better account of user-contexts. There is a need for research into methods on how to integrate users into the research and development process generally, i.e. not only the older citizens but also all the other actors in the ILS area, including formal and informal carers. Awareness about ILS its opportunities is limited among potential users professional organisations and policy makers alike. Outreach strategies that familiarize all stakeholders with technological options already available and under development are required.

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Good practice in European integration: Lessons from the AIDA Project

Introduction: Interest in the integration of health and social care services has grown in recent years amongst all Governments in Europe in light of the increasing numbers of older people and those affected by chronic illnesses. This poster offers a review of the “Album of 10 Good Practices of integration at European level” carried out within the Advancing Integration for a Dignified Ageing (AIDA)- Project (www.projectaida.eu/). This was funded by EU Progress Program with the purpose of highlighting common aspects of effectiveness. Methods: The AIDA Project Consortium developed a criteria for selection of good practices on the basis of most relevant conceptual frameworks on integrated health and social care for older people. 28 initiatives were selected by an Advisory Board (AB) composed by five international experts in the field. The provider/ coordinator of each selected initiative (or a lead academic with an interest in the project) has provided an overview of the project, the legal and social context in which it was set, enablers and barriers, and evaluation of impact. The case-studies were then analysed to highlight success factors and impact on users, service providers and overall health and social care systems. Results:description of the case-studies

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In-hospital informal caregivers' needs as perceived by themselves and by the nursing staff in Northern Greece: A descriptive study

Background: Informal care is common in many countries, especially in Greece, where families provide care in hospitals. Health education and informational needs are important factors for family members which are often underestimated by nursing staff. The aim of this study was to compare the perceptions of the nurses and the in-hospital informal caregivers about the in-hospital informal caregivers' knowledge and informational needs, as well as the factors that influence these perceptions.

Methods: This was a non-experimental descriptive study conducted in three general hospitals in Greece. The sample consisted of 320 nurses and 370 in-hospital informal caregivers who completed questionnaires. Descriptive statistics were analyzed using t-tests; group comparisons were conducted using ANOVA.

Results: The score of the questionnaire for health education and informational needs was significantly greater for informal caregivers (57.1 ± 6.9 and 26.6 ± 2.8) than for nurses (53.4 ± 5.7 and 22.4 ± 3.1) (p < 0.001). For the nursing staff, the factors that influence the informational needs of patients' caregivers were level of education and working experience, while for the caregivers the level of education was independently associated with the score for the health education needs. Finally, age, marital status, and level of education of informal caregivers' were independently associated with informational needs.

Conclusions: The in-hospital informal caregivers perceived that they have more educational and informational needs than the nurses did. The findings of this study also show that the nursing staff has to identify the needs of in-hospital informal caregivers in order to be able to meet these needs.

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Unintended consequences: caregivers may be a barrier to the aging becoming tech savvy

"Caregivers are so overwhelmed by the demands of managing basic needs that they tend to only think of technology as tools to save time or provide safety," said Bill Novelli, founder of the Global Social Enterprise Initiative and Georgetown McDonough distinguished professor of the practice. "We need to eliminate the disconnect between the caregivers' ability to incorporate enriching technology into their care routines and their role in providing basic care for their loved ones." In addition to time constraints placed on the caregiver, the caregiver's perception of what defines successful aging focuses on the health of the adult for which they are caring. As a result, caregivers are viewing technology for aging well too narrowly and products aimed at caregivers primarily fall into the category of health and safety monitoring - which give caregivers comfort and peace of mind. 

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Liverpool Telecare Pilot: telecare as an information tool

The role of telecare systems is normally seen as identifying, and drawing attention to, situations of concern in the homes of service users. While this may currently be the primary reason for deploying such systems, the scope of telecare should not be limited to such an alarm generation role. The role of telecare in enhancing community-based care provision may be broadened by using similar, or identical, technology for providing relevant information to the carers of service users. In this paper we present a technical overview and discussion of an information provision approach to telecare which was trialled as one aspect of a pilot service in Liverpool, UK. The service used data collected by the telecare system to produce visual daily behavioural profiles and presented these to carers. The recipients for these profiles included social workers, occupational therapists and relatives of the service users. In this paper we discuss the visual profiles together with the benefits offered by such an information provision approach, including the perspective of a occupational therapist based in Liverpool.

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Activity monitoring to support independent living in Dutch homecare support

Objective: Detecting changes in activity performance by persons living at home may provide to be a powerful tool to support them to live independently. To this end a new care arrangement had to be developed in which commercial available technology is used by a homecare organization and informal carers. The objective of this study is a) to organize the conditions needed to deliver care support to people living independently and b) to investigate the effectiveness thereof.

Main Content of paper: A commercial available technology was identified by which activities of seniors performed in their own home can be monitored. A combination ofInfra Red motion sensors is installed in the house by which data are collected. Data analysis results in information to healthcare professionals as an urgent alert (by voicemail) or as a non-urgent alert( through a web-interface). The communication infrastructure was organized on a 2417 basis. Careworkers of a homecare organization identified clients that could benefit of this supporting service. A care arrangement was agreed between the client and the care organization. In this the actual use of the infrastructure was specified. The conditions are first piloted on a small scale project; thereafter an implementation study is started. During this implementation study an increasing number of clients are supported by this arrangement. Also the number of formal and informal careworkers increased.

Results: During the project the conditions needed to implement this arrangement as a regular service to support independent living elderly are investigated. These comprised of establishing standard operation protocols at the technology and at the service level, protocols to introduce new clients and (informal) careworkers in using the infrastructure, protocols for data management as well as the financial conditions involved. Based on the effects obtained during the project the conditions needed to organize continuation of this service as part of routine procedures of a home-care organization are analyzed as well. A societal business case was developed. In this the following elements are described 1) the business model consisting of: a) indentification of the preferred user groups ( frail elderly living independently; informal carers, professional carers) b) the technical and organizational conditions c) the costs and revenues of service delivery, and 2) the societal case consisting of a) revenues at the care level, b) revenues at the wellbeing level. Taken together the societal business case was used as a negotiating paper used to organize the conditions required for the continuation of this service. At time of completion of this paper the negotiations are closed. It is concluded that the care organization is enabled to continue this service until the end of 2012.

Conclusions: The use of technology to support people living independently may be incorporate in a service arrangement to deliver care at a distance. Implementation research demonstrates the effectiveness thereof. Organizing structural conditions requires a change in the perception of both clients, careworkers and care organizations.

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Extended safety and support systems for people with dementia living at home

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the complexity surrounding the implementation of advanced electronic tracking, communication and emergency response technologies, namely, an extended safety and support (ESS) system for people with dementia (pwd) living at home. Results are presented from a Swedish demonstration study (2011-2012) conducted in 24 municipalities.

Design/methodology/approach – It is a descriptive intervention study with a pre-post test design. Questionnaires were administered to pwd, carers and professionals at the outset and eight months later. ESS logging data were analyzed.

Findings – ESS usage rates varied widely. A total of 650 alerts were triggered, mainly when the pwd was outdoors. Activities were reduced amongst pwd, most likely due to a progression of their disease. Carers noted that pwd were more independent than previously on those occasions when they engaged in outdoor activities. Staff considered that nearly half of pwd could remain living at home due to the ESS, compared with a third amongst carers. In total, 50 per cent of carers felt it was justified to equip their relative with an ESS without their explicit consent, compared to one in eight staff.

Research limitations/implications – A limitation is the amount of missing data and high drop- out rates. Researchers should recruit pwd earlier in their illness trajectory. A mixed-methods approach to data collection is advisable.

Practical implications – Carers played a crucial role in the adoption of ESS. Staff training/supervision about assistive devices and services is recommended.

Social implications – Overall, use of ESS for pwd living at home was not an ethical problem.

Originality/value – The study included key stakeholder groups and a detailed ethical analysis was conducted.

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The nature of caregiving in children of a parent with multiple sclerosis from multiple sources and the associations between caregiving activities and youth adjustment overtime

This study explored youth caregiving for a parent with multiple sclerosis (MS) from multiple perspectives, and examined associations between caregiving and child negative (behavioural emotional difficulties, somatisation) and positive (life satisfaction, positive affect, prosocial behaviour) adjustment outcomes overtime. A total of 88 families participated; 85 parents with MS, 55 partners and 130 children completed questionnaires at Time 1. Child caregiving was assessed by the Youth Activities of Caregiving Scale (YACS). Child and parent questionnaire data were collected at Time 1 and child data were collected 12 months later (Time 2). Factor analysis of the child and parent YACS data replicated the four factors (instrumental, social-emotional, personal-intimate, domestic-household care), all of which were psychometrically sound. The YACS factors were related to parental illness and caregiving context variables that reflected increased caregiving demands. The Time 1 instrumental and social-emotional care domains were associated with poorer Time 2 adjustment, whereas personal-intimate was related to better adjustment and domestic-household care was unrelated to adjustment. Children and their parents exhibited highest agreement on personal-intimate, instrumental and total caregiving, and least on domestic-household and social-emotional care. Findings delineate the key dimensions of young caregiving in MS and the differential links between caregiving activities and youth adjustment.

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AmI and Deployment Considerations in AAL Services Provision for Elderly Independent Living: The MonAMI Project

The MonAMI project aims to investigate the feasibility of the deployment of open platforms for Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) services provision based on Ambient Intelligence (AmI) and to test user acceptance and the usability of the services. Services were designed to provide support in the areas of environmental control, security, well-being and leisure. These services were installed and evaluated in a Spanish geriatric residence. The participants included elderly persons with disabilities, nursing home care givers and informal carers. The concept of the open platform proved to be satisfactory for the provision of the services in a context aware framework. Furthermore, the usability of the technology was viewed positively and the overall results indicate that this system has the potential to prolong independent living at home for elderly people with disabilities. Deployment was proven successful and awareness of open-platform AAL service delivery was raised in local communities throughout Europe.

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User responses to assisted living technologies (ALTs) -- a review of the literature

This paper reports the findings of a literature review conducted to investigate user responses to assisted living technologies (ALTs), principally telehealth and telecare applications. A combination of search terms identified approximately 75 relevant publications, including reports of studies in the US, Australia, Europe and the UK. The documents were analysed to extract data relating to end-user needs, what attracts end users and informal carers to telehealth/telecare services, and what deters them from adopting these technologies. Some key challenges arising for the uptake and adoption of ALTs are then discussed, and significant user requirements emerging from the evidence are identified. The paper concludes with suggestions for the next steps to be taken to promote effective and appropriate use of ALTs.

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The impact of information and communication technology on family carers of older people and professionals in Sweden

Government policy in Sweden, as in other developed countries, pays increasing attention as to how best to support the family carers of older people. New and innovative means of support, such as information and communication technology, are emerging. This paper explores the perceived benefits of, and barriers to, information technology as a means of supporting family carers of older people. Following a brief overview of the care-giving literature, with particular reference to the Swedish context, interview and questionnaire data collected from 34 families who took part in the Swedish ACTION project are used to explore the role of user-friendly information and communication technology to inform and enable family carers of older people to exercise choice, to care more effectively and to work in partnership with professionals. Interview data from two groups of professionals that utilised ACTION are also examined to throw light on its potential benefits for both carers and professionals. Consideration is given to the barriers to using information technology, and to identifying those carers most likely to benefit. Areas for further development are the need for practitioners' education and a wider range of programmes to address carers' diverse needs. Clearly, lessons learned from the Swedish project have wider relevance, given that new forms of support are being developed in most technically advanced countries.

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Providing Informal Care in Terminal Illness: An Analysis of Preferences for Support Using a Discrete Choice Experiment

Background: The trend for terminally ill patients to receive much of their end-of-life care at home necessitates the design of services to facilitate this. Care at home also requires that informal care be provided by family members and friends. This study investigated informal carers’ preferences for support services to aid the development of end-of-life health care services. Methods: This cross-sectional study used 2 discrete choice experiments to ascertain the preferences of carers supporting patients with different levels of care need, determined by the assistance needed with personal care and labeled High Care (HC) and Low Care (LC). The sample included 168 informal carers of people receiving palliative care at home from 2 palliative care services in Sydney, Australia. Data were collected in face-to-face interviews; carers chose between 2 hypothetical plans of support services and their current services. Data were analyzed with generalized multinomial logit models that were used to calculate the impact of each attribute on the probability of a carer choosing a service plan. Results: Preferred support included nursing services; the probability of choosing a plan increased significantly if it included nurse home visits and phone advice (P < 0.001). HC carers also wanted doctor home visits, home respite, and help with personal care (P < 0.05), and LC carers wanted help with household tasks, transport, and a case coordinator (P < 0.001). On average, both groups of carers preferred their current services, but this varied with characteristics of the carer and the caregiving situation. Conclusions:The most valued services are those that support carers in their caregiving role; however, supportive care preferences vary with the different circumstances of patients and carers.

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MonAMI: Mainstream on Ambient Intelligence. E-inclusion Living Scaled Field Trial Experience in Spain

The MonAMI project was aimed to investigate the feasibility of the deployment of open platforms for Ambient Asssited Living (AAL) services provision and to test user acceptance and the usability of the services. The services were designed to give support in the areas of environmental control, security, and leisure. The participants included elderly persons with disabilities, care staff and informal carers. The concept of the open platform proved to be satisfactory for the provision of the services. The usability of the technology was viewed positively and the overall result indicates that this system has the potential to prolong independent living at home for elderly people with disabilities.

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Electronic tracking for people with dementia who get lost outside the home: a study of the experience of familial carers

Purpose: The study aimed to elicit a description of GPS (global positioning system) tracking use in the care of people with dementia in domestic settings and to generate hypotheses about impact.

Procedures: Users were recruited through a commercial provider. Qualitative interviews with 10 carers were completed to generate an in-depth description of how the devices were used and the perceived impact. A questionnaire was administered to ascertain sample characteristics.

Findings: Most carers preferred to use tracking as a back-up to other strategies of management, particularly supervision by a carer and locked doors. In cases where the carers perceived the risk of harm from getting lost to be low, tracking was used to preserve the independence of the person with dementia. The carers reported that tracking gave them reassurance and also enhanced the sense of independence both for themselves and for the person with dementia. The poor reliability of the device was identified as a substantial limitation.

Conclusion: Larger studies are needed to assess the safety and clinical value of GPS tracking. These should explore the views of people with dementia. Assessment tools are needed to assess suitability. Occupational therapy can play a pivotal role in this process of intervention design, assessment and evaluation.

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The role of district nursing: perspectives of cancer patients and their carers before and after hospital discharge

The role of the district nurse (DN) is difficult to define. Knowledge about the perspectives of patients with cancer, and their informal carers, on the roles of DNs and community services is lacking. The aim of this study is to identify the roles of DNs and community services as perceived by patients with cancer and their carers before and after hospital discharge. Seventy-one pre- and post-discharge conversational interviews were conducted with cancer patients and carers, and analysed thematically. Some interviewees lacked knowledge about services, were confused about differential roles and/or held stereotypical views. Some failed to disclose needs to services, received insufficient support or experienced unnecessary and inconvenient visits. Patients with few or no physical care needs were surprised to receive DN visits. Those receiving personal care from agency carers expressed dissatisfaction. Cancer patients and carers may benefit from post-discharge/ongoing assessment by DNs. However, effectiveness could be inhibited by limited disclosure caused by confusion, stereotyping, negative experiences and ideas that other patients have greater needs. Information might diminish these factors but, first, services need to clarify their roles. Organization and delivery of personal care services varies locally and DNs provide personal care during terminal illness. Community services should perform intra- and interservice clarification before publicizing differential roles to cancer patients and carers. This might facilitate disclosure of need to DNs. Patient and carer needs for information on service roles, and patients’ preferred roles in self-care are under-researched.

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Perception and significance of an assistive technology intervention the perspectives of relatives of persons with dementia

Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine relatives’ perception of an assistive technology intervention aimed at persons with dementia (PwDs) and their relatives, and to examine whether, and how, experiences of the intervention process differed between relatives valuing the intervention to be of high, and relatives perceiving it to be of low significance. Method: A total of 47 relatives of PwDs within the Swedish Technology and Dementia project were interviewed telephonically using a modified version of the Patient perspective on Care and Rehabilitation process instrument. A total of 46 participants were divided into two groups depending on whether they valued the intervention to be of great significance (GS group; N = 33) or of some/no significance (SNS group; N = 13). Results: Several aspects of the intervention were perceived as highly important, e.g. being shown consideration and respect, and having somewhere to turn. The results indicate that relatives in the GS group perceived certain aspects of the intervention process as highly fulfilled to a larger extent than did relatives in the SNS group. Conclusions: This study illustrates how process evaluations can be used to increase the understanding and to identify improvement aspects of interventions.

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Caring together: the carers strategy for Scotland 2010-2015

The Scottish Government and COSLA are determined to ensure that carers are supported to manage their caring responsibilities with confidence and in good health, and to have a life of their own outside of caring. We are pleased to have worked together with a range of interests, including Health Boards, the national carer organisations and carers in developing this strategy. It will build on the support already in place and take forward the recommendations of the landmark report, Care 21: The Future of Unpaid Care in Scotland. We recognise carers as equal partners in the delivery of care in Scotland and fully acknowledge carers’ expertise, knowledge and the quality of care they give. With appropriate support, especially support delivered early to prevent crisis, caring need not have an adverse impact on carers. Caring Together sets out 10 key actions to improve support to carers over the next five years. The focus is on improved identification of carers, assessment, information and advice, health and wellbeing, carer support, participation and partnership. In support of this agenda, the Scottish Government is pleased to announce an investment of a further £1 million in 2010-11 to voluntary sector organisations to provide more innovative short breaks provision in Scotland. The strategy sits within a wider context and reform agenda, with carers at the heart of this agenda. In order to achieve lasting change both for carers and the people they care for, we need to drive forward a range of policy developments, such as action to tackle health inequalities and household income. We need to do more to shift resources from institutional care to care at home, including support for carers. The Reshaping Care for Older People Strategic Delivery Plan, which is in preparation, will articulate the extent of the shift in resources within the system.

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The use of telecare for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: implications for management

Aim  To evaluate the telecare service offered by Home Care teams to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Background  The use of telecare aims to support older people in remaining independent at home, reducing hospital admissions and improving the quality of life for older people and their informal carers. In the redesign of managed care for people with COPD using telecare, an evaluation of the implementation process is necessary.

Method  A focus group with Home Care teams and social care staff was conducted. Six case studies identified by nursing staff were used to examine key issues relating to telecare implementation.

Findings  The experience and expectation in telecare, the usability of equipment, and changes in practice can impact on COPD care. Case studies highlight that the rapid access to care, an increased sense of personal safety and security, and the continuity of care are perceived as benefits. However, the equipment was perceived as not ‘user friendly’ and bulky.

Conclusion  It is important that any service redesign to include telecare is evaluated and targeted at its specific role.

Implications for nursing management  Partnership working has to be negotiated, and leadership roles include addressing tensions and motivation within the team.

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Internet interventions can meet the emotional needs of patients and carers managing long-term conditions

Experiencing and managing a long-term condition places heavy emotional demands on a patient or carer. We conducted disease-specific focus groups for patients or carers. We recruited adults with diabetes, heart disease or hepatitis C, parents of children with asthma or diabetes, and carers of people with Alzheimer's disease. Participants had sole access to a PC and were asked to use three Internet interventions, each for 30 min. We conducted 10 disease-specific focus groups in three areas of the UK, involving a total of 40 participants. Three main themes emerged from the data: dealing with negative emotions, boosting positive emotions and social support. Designers of Internet interventions should consider users’ emotional needs and how to meet these needs with every section or facility within an intervention.

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Social Services, England: The Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act (Qualifying Services) (England) Regulations 2003

The qualifying services prescribed for the purposes of section 15(1) of the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act 2003 are intermediate care and community equipment (aids and minor adaptations) services.

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Evidence of what works to support and sustain care at home for people with dementia: a literature review with a systematic approach

Background: This paper synthesises research evidence about the effectiveness of services intended to support and sustain people with dementia to live at home, including supporting carers. The review was commissioned to support an inspection regime and identifies the current state of scientific knowledge regarding appropriate and effective services in relation to a set of key outcomes derived from Scottish policy, inspection practice and standards. However, emphases on care at home and reduction in the use of institutional long term care are common to many international policy contexts and welfare regimes.

Methods: Systematic searches of relevant electronic bibliographic databases crossing medical, psychological and social scientific literatures (CINAHL, IngentaConnect, Medline, ProQuest, PsychINFO and Web of Science) in November 2012 were followed by structured review and full-text evaluation processes, the latter using methodology-appropriate quality assessment criteria drawing on established protocols.

Results: Of 131 publications evaluated, 56 were assessed to be of ‘high’ quality, 62 of ‘medium’ quality and 13 of ‘low’ quality. Evaluations identified weaknesses in many published accounts of research, including lack of methodological detail and failure to evidence conclusions. Thematic analysis revealed multiple gaps in the evidence base, including in relation to take-up and use of self-directed support by people with dementia, use of rapid response teams and other multidisciplinary approaches, use of technology to support community-dwelling people with dementia, and support for people without access to unpaid or informal support.

Conclusions: In many areas, policy and practice developments are proceeding on a limited evidence base. Key issues affecting substantial numbers of existing studies include: poorly designed and overly narrowly focused studies; variability and uncertainty in outcome measurement; lack of focus on the perspectives of people with dementia and supporters; and failure to understanding the complexities of living with dementia, and of the kinds of multifactorial interventions needed to provide holistic and effective support. Weaknesses in the evidence base present challenges both to practitioners looking for guidance on how best to design and deliver evidence-based services to support people living with dementia in the community and their carers and to those charged with the inspection of services.

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Personalised health and care 2020: using data and technology to transform outcomes for patients and citizens: a framework for action

A framework developed aimed to support staff, patients and citizens to make better use of data and technology and use it to transform outcomes for patients and carers. The framework considers what progress the health and care system has already made and what can be learnt from other industries and the wider economy. The proposals aim to help citizens, care professionals an carers to access to data, information and knowledge they need to make the right health and care choices; make the quality of care transparent; support care professionals to make the best use of technology; support innovation; and assure best value for taxpayers. It draws on evidence from a range of sources, including voluntary organsiations, patient organisations, and directly from service users.

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PEACEanywhere - Implementing the vision for integrated health and social care

Introduction: The ultimate Vision for Assisted Living is the provision of integrated health and social care, thus allowing health and social care professionals and carers to work in harmony to maximise the people's quality of life. PEACEanywhere one of the Projects under the auspices of the Technology Strategy Board Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP2) sought to progress the vision towards implementation. The recently completed PEACEanywhere project built upon the outputs of the ALIP1 PEACE Project which by progressively incorporating functions proven in other domains aimed to provide a more seamless experience for Customer, Clinician and Social Care professionals and Informal carers alike when moving between the Telehealth, Telecare and Social and Community Care domains (which in England are administratively separated) to allow them to work in harmony to maximize the quality of life of older people.

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A Kaleidoscope of Hope: Exploring Experiences of Hope Among Service Users and Informal Carers in Health Care Contexts

Background: There is a large and diverse literature on the concept of hope in health care. This literature covers a broad spectrum of perspectives, from philosophical, conceptual, and theoretical analysis through to attempts at measuring the concept of hope with differing health care users. Aims: To explore the concept of hope through the secondary analysis of existing data sets, with the intention of understanding hope in the context of person-centeredness. Research Question: What is the experience of hope among service users and informal carers in different health care contexts? Method: Secondary analysis of data derived from three research studies. Findings: We identified four key themes that together illustrate what we describe as a kaleidoscope of hope, reinforcing the view that there is no one presentation of hope and that practitioners must engage authentically with service users to determine the most effective and appropriate intervention strategies. Conclusions: Hope is not a singular phenomenon, and in the context of person-centered practice there is a need for practitioners to engage authentically with service users and listen carefully to what may bring hope for them.

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Telecare to 2012: an action plan for Scotland

This Action Plan has been developed by the national Telecare Programme Board and builds directly upon the 2008-10 Telecare Strategy. It provides continuing strategic direction and support for Local Partnerships and other key stakeholders in the development and implementation of their telecare programmes. Compared with most other countries, Scotland is currently performing well in the development and implementation of telehealth and telecare services for its citizens. Around 19% of those aged 65 and over use community alarm systems, 3.5% enjoy more sophisticated social care packages and 1% benefit from a bespoke telehealth package. The next phase of development should focus primarily on actions which expand telecare as a mainstreamed service and integrate it with other provision and processes. 

myShoes - the future of experiential dementia training?

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the use of virtual reality (VR) for experiential learning in dementia training. People have different perceptions and understanding of what it is like to live with dementia, particularly those that are new to dementia care, whether in a professional capacity, or as a friend or family member. Arguably the most powerful way in which to enhance understanding is to give people a glimpse of what living with dementia might be like.

Design/methodology/approach – The myShoes project aimed to create a resource that would augment a virtual environment and expose the user to an experience that gives them a sense of what living with dementia might be like. The resource was created using the latest VR and game development software. A sample group of students from a mixed range of health professions tested the resource providing in depth feedback on its immediate impact and ideas for further development.

Findings – Notwithstanding the limited sample on which the simulation has been tested, carefully designing the activities and constructing a learning space that allows for reflection on being placed temporarily in another person’s shoes, appears to have enabled students to think beyond ‘treatment, to considering how the person might feel and altering their approach accordingly.

Research limitations/implications – This is a pilot study. More research using VR as a training resource is planned.

Practical implications – The study will support educational training, particularly that which uses virtual reality for clinicians and carers.

Social implications – The adoption of a VR approach to training formal and informal carers has potential to enhance empathy and improve holistic care of people with dementia.

Originality/value – The myShoes project adopts a novel approach to simulating the effects of dementia for training purposes.

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Interprofessional and inter-agency collaboration (IPIAC) e-learning course - An introduction to interprofessional and inter-agency collaboration

One of a series of e-learning resources which explore the nature of interprofessional and inter-agency collaboration (IPIAC) and improving collaborative practice. The interactive resource uses audio, video and interactive technology to examine the nature of collaboration, why it is important, its purposes and its growing place in policy and practice. Those using care services and carers also talk about their experiences of effective and ineffective collaboration.

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Outcomes of social care for adults: developing a preference-weighted measure

The aim of this study was to develop a measure of social care outcome, an equivalent to the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) in health, which could be used in a range of circumstances.

The project drew on previous and parallel work developing the Adult Social Care Outcome Toolkit and the national Adult Social Care Survey. We developed and tested an instrument designed to reflect service users' social care-related quality of life (SCRQoL) and tested it with 30 service users from a variety of user groups and 300 older home care service users. In parallel, we explored discrete choice experiment (DCE) and best-worst scaling (BWS) approaches to preference elicitation with 300 members of the general population, and cognitively tested these with service users. We also cognitively tested a computer-aided time trade-off (TTO) exercise using SCRQoL attributes with members of the general population. In the second phase, using the finalised instruments, BWS interviews were conducted with 500 members of the general population, TTO interviews with a follow-up sample of 126 of these respondents, and BWS interviews with 458 people using equipment services.

The final measure had eight domains: personal cleanliness and comfort, accommodation cleanliness and comfort, food and drink, safety, social participation and involvement, occupation, control over daily life and dignity. In addition to measuring current SCRQoL, the instrument includes questions used to establish service users' views of their 'expected' SCRQoL in the absence of services. The difference between a person's current and 'expected' SCRQoL provides an indicator of service impact.

There was good evidence for the validity of the descriptive system and the validity of the current, expected and SCRQoL gain scales. The DCE and BWS approaches yielded similar results and, once introductions made clear, were understood by service users. BWS was used for the main stages, as it had technical and cognitive advantages. The computer-aided approach to TTO worked well, and respondents found questions acceptable and understandable. There were no substantive differences in the preferences of service users and the general population. The key domain was control over daily life, with the lowest and highest levels strongly estimated in all models. After allowing for observable heterogeneity, service users' preferences appeared to be more closely associated with their own SCRQoL than with those of the general population. The consistency of the results with the results of a previous study allowed the final model to be based on the preferences of 1000 members of the general population. A formula based on the relationship between TTO and BWS values was estimated for a social care QALY, with '0' equivalent to 'being dead' and '1' being the 'ideal' SCRQoL state. Members of the population experienced significantly higher SCRQoL than service users.

Although further work is needed, particularly to develop an equivalent measure for informal carers and to explore the links with health QALYs, the measure has considerable potential. A number of methodological advances were achieved, including the first application of TTO in a social care context and use of BWS to establish service user preferences.

The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

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GPS technologies in managing the risks associated with safer walking in people with dementia - a practical perspective

Many people with a cognitive impairment are likely to become lost at some stage of their illness; this can cause great distress to individuals and to their relatives. GPS location equipment has become available recently and has been trialled with a number of families. Although the technology itself is not complicated, it introduces a number of problems including battery management, device selection and returning the individual when they have become lost. A process has been developed to simplify these problems. When it is followed, the outcomes have been positive for all stakeholders.

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Supporting frail older people and their family carers at home using information and communication technology: cost analysis

AIM:This paper describes a cost analysis of a home-based support service for frail older people and their family carers in two municipalities in West Sweden and using information and communication technology.

BACKGROUND: A key challenge facing nurse managers across Europe is an increasingly aged population, combined with reduced numbers of young adults of working age. New solutions are needed to provide quality, cost-effective community care services to frail older people and their family carers.

METHODS: A case study methodology involving five families was used, and included a detailed cost description of the technology-based service compared with usual services. Cost data were collected in June 2002. This work formed part of a larger project exploring the impact of a technology-based service known as, Assisting Carers using Telematics Interventions to meet Older Persons' Needs (ACTION). In addition to cost data, information was gathered on the quality of life of frail older people and their family carers, and the job satisfaction and work methods of nurses and other practitioners based in the community. The cost analysis comprised a description of the family and their caring situation, the perceived benefits of the telematic based support service and an assessment of its impact on the use of other care services. These analyses were carried out with the help of needs assessors who were known to the families, and nurses working in the ACTION call centre. All results were validated by the five participating families.

RESULTS: Cost savings were achieved in all cases, and the benefits to older people and their carers were also considerable. As a result of the cost analysis and overall evaluation data, ACTION has been implemented as a mainstream service in the municipalities involved.

CONCLUSION: Researchers, nurses, other practitioners and community care managers can work together with frail older people and their family carers to develop quality, cost-effective support services that reduce demands on staff whilst providing benefits to users.

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Early detection of dementia and ICT: Signs from practice

Objective and research questions. Dementia is a growing challenge in our aging society. Often, persons close to older people at some point in time sense that ‘something is wrong’ (long) before dementia is actually diagnosed, but do not know how to act upon it. This may lead to situations where dementia progresses unnoticed, until it escalates, and people need sudden admission to a hospital or nursing home. Therefore the aim of this project was to develop the outlines of an ICT system to effectively register and interpret signs of potential dementia, in order to give proper care long before things get out of hand. Besides relatives, close friends and health care workers, also other persons or organizations that are involved with older persons could play a role in the early detection of dementia. Individual signs often do not elicit a call to action. The combination of signals from several sources into a central digital system might generate a more complete view of an individual's situation. This yielded the following research questions: 1. Who are the important social contacts in the network of older persons that might detect early signs of problems? 2. How do social contacts currently experience and process possible signs of dementia? 3. How do older persons and their social contacts perceive a solution like the one we are envisioning (a kind of ‘digital central signaling system’)?

Methods. The social network of 12 older persons was studied with semi-structured interviews. Furthermore, 12 formal carers, 12 informal carers and eight family carers of persons with dementia were interviewed, in order to map experiences and processing of early signs of dementia. In addition, the attitude toward the envisioned system was studied. In an expert panel of 18 participants the results of the interviews were transformed into recommendations. These were subsequently tested in two focus group sessions with older persons.

Results. Family plays a central role, both in the social network of older persons as well as in the early signaling of dementia. All persons involved in this study valued the idea of a dementia signaling system. There is some skepticism with respect to privacy matters among carers. Apart from signaling, there is also a great demand for tailor made information in the pre-diagnostic stage. All involved persons indicate the need for support, but they experience high barriers in taking the first steps and finding the right aid and information.

Conclusion. An adaptive information system that also offers signaling possibilities will be more appropriate than an exclusive signaling system. Such a system needs to prevent stigmatization, should be demand driven, focused on empowerment rather than care, and managed by the user. An approach from the welfare perspective might be more successful than a disease-oriented approach.

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Caregiving for the elderly family members as a challenge for men - The hidden and forgotten carers in ageing Europe

The purpose of our research was to investigate male caregiving via a status of being hidden and forgotten in East-Central Europe, where caregiving itself had only lately been emancipated, and only as provided by women. In Poland and in other European countries the gender bias is clear: men provide less care than women, the care is less intensive and of a different character. By desk research, own research interpretation and literature review, the paper addressed informal, family caregiving towards frail older adults performed by men. We examined the assumption that the family was the prime careholder of the aged as imprinted in European psyche and stereotypical expectations that females became the main caregivers. Yet, the demographic forecast showed that informal caregiving for frail adults was inevitably falling on men, as a result of increasing divorce rates and women’s employment. However, this picture is incomplete, making men forgotten or hidden carers. Major findings of our research were to provide a broader discourse on male caregiving and have positive impact with practical after-effects as well as filling gaps in knowledge in several relevant fields

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Assessing the outcomes of equipment and adaptations: issues and approaches

Current government policy emphasises professional accountability, Best Value, evidence-based practice and outcomes for users and carers. In this context, being able to demonstrate the effectiveness of routine practice is increasingly important. This article considers the key issues in collecting information about the outcomes of equipment and adaptations. These include: the assessment of the full range of outcomes; the timing of data collection; the use of standardised and individualised measures; and linking outcomes to interventions. Three approaches to evaluating the outcomes of equipment and adaptations are distinguished: functional status measures; health status or quality of life measures; and indirect approaches. Examples of each approach are provided and their strengths and limitations discussed. Previous work on the outcomes of equipment and adaptations has neglected the perspectives of carers and the impact of service delivery (service process outcomes); further work on these areas is needed to ensure that all the outcomes of equipment and adaptations are fully evaluated.

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A pilot study of how information and communication technology may contribute to health promotion among elderly spousal carers in Norway

The objective of this pilot Norwegian intervention study was to explore whether use of information and communication technology (ICT) by informal carers of frail elderly people living at home would enable them to gain more knowledge about chronic illness, caring and coping, establish an informal support network and reduce stress and related mental health problems. Potential participants were close relatives of an elderly person with a diagnosis of a chronic illness dwelling in the same household who wished to continue caring for their relative at home, were 60 years of age or older, had been caring for less than 2 years, were a computer novice and had Norwegian as their first language. Nineteen elderly spousal carers participated in the study from two municipalities in eastern Norway. The project commenced in January 2004 and consisted of a multimethod evaluation model. Outcomes measured included carers’ social contacts (measured by the Family and Friendship Contacts scale); burden of care (measured by the Relative Stress scale); and knowledge about chronic disease and caring, stress and mental health and use of ICT (examined via a composite carer questionnaire). These quantitative data were collected immediately prior to the study and at 12 months. Qualitative data were also collected via focus group interviews with participant carers at 7 months. At follow-up, quantitative measures did not reveal any reduction in carer stress or mental health problems. However, carers reported extensive use of the ICT service, more social contacts and increased support and less need for information about chronic illness and caring. Contact with and support from other carers with similar experiences was particularly valued by participants. The intervention also enhanced contacts with family and friends outside the carer network. Thus, it can be seen that ICT has the potential to contribute to health promotion among elderly spousal carers.

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Telecare in practice: a telecare initiative focusing on carers of older people based on ACTION

There is a continual need to support and assist carers who play a central role in providing informal care for a relative. This approach to care provision must have a strong foundation based on liaison between the family carers, professional carers and the older or disabled person who is the focus of care. Services that enable effective communication using videoconferencing, interactive communication, tailored Web based programs and other specific resources configured for the needs of the individual can help carers carry out their role effectively. The initiative described in this paper uses a combination of telematic focused interventions to meet the needs of carers and provides an in-depth overview of the ACTION telecare project.

The ACTION (Assisting Carers using Telematic Interventions to meet Older persons’ Needs) project was set up and funded because of the need to develop supportive methods for carers and older people. The initiative was designed to improve autonomy and maintain independence and quality of life for people in their own homes and therefore reduce the need for institutional care. This has an economic as well as a social dimension. The project has demonstrated that with the involvement of users at all levels it can fulfil this need. The role of the ACTION project was to develop a cost-effective telecare system for the provision of education, information and support and has been demonstrated with successful results.

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Care coordination assisted by technology for multiethnic caregivers of persons with dementia : a pilot clinical demonstration project on caregiver burden and depression

We evaluated a care-coordination project assisted by a screen-phone to support and educate caregivers. A total of 113 caregivers of home-dwelling veterans with dementia were recruited to the study: 72 were white, 32 were African American and nine were Hispanic. Caregivers were assessed for burden, depression, coping, quality of life, knowledge and satisfaction. None of the outcome measures changed significantly after twelve months. Forty care-recipient and caregiver dyads responded to the twelve-month telephone satisfaction survey. The respondents were more satisfied with the care-coordination (90 per cent) aspect of the programme than the education (77 per cent) or the monitoring (50 per cent). The pilot project suggests that care coordination aided by screen-phones may be a useful model for caregiver support in a managed-care setting. A systematic study is now required. 1 fig. 2 tables 20 refs. 

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Experiences of using a memory aid to structure and support daily activities in a small-scale group accommodation for people with dementia

Background: Use of technology to structure and support the daily activities of the residents in a small-scale group accommodation (SSGA) for dementia is a new innovation in the Netherlands. This paper presents the process of development of this new way of structuring activities and the findings of a pilot study looking at the experiences of using this device in people with dementia.

Method: A qualitative method was chosen, data were collected using individual interviews with the residents (n = 6), focus groups interviews with informal carers (n = 5) and members of staff (n = 6). Data were analysed using Ritchie & Spencer’s framework (1994).

Findings: Three main themes emerged: issues regarding the implementation, needs for further development and the learning experiences acquired during the development. The majority of the residents were happy with the use and function of the memory aid. However, the occurrence of installation errors, limited ease of use and a lack of knowledge regarding the function and use of the memory aid were issues that prevented a successful implementation. Findings highlighted shared views about ways of improving through adaptation of the software program and additional technological applications; internet connectivity, improving its accessibility by using a remote control and adding videos and photos.

Conclusion: Lessons are learned about the use and transferability of this innovation in people with dementia and other vulnerable target groups including those with learning disabilities as well as its limitation and the needs for further development.

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Differing perspectives on telecare: An attitudinal survey of older people, professional care workers and informal carers

This paper reports findings from a recent attitudinal survey into the implementation of telecare. Providing older people with increased independence to better meet their needs forms a key part of the care policy agenda in the UK. In this respect, telecare is perceived to be an important new weapon in the armoury of support services, which should result in fewer older people requiring institutional care and more remaining independent in their own homes for longer than would otherwise be the case. This paper evaluates such objectives by reporting on attitudes towards telecare among the contributors to 22 focus groups, comprising 92 older people, 55 professional stakeholders and 39 carers, that were convened in three different regions of the country as a precursor to telecare service development. The results suggest that the respondents’ attitudes and views were shaped by prior knowledge of conventional service delivery in their local area, and that future expectations and requirements in respect of telecare will be informed by wider perceptions about the extent to which community care should operate as a preventative strategy or as a mechanism for crisis management.

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Review of ICT-based services for identified unmet needs in people with dementia

Some of the needs that people with dementia and their informal carers currently perceive as insufficiently met by regular care and support services might be alleviated, or even be met, using modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The study described in this paper was designed to provide an insight into the state of the art in ICT solutions that could contribute to meet the most frequently mentioned unmet needs by people with dementia and their informal carers. These needs can be summarized as (1) the need for general and personalized information; (2) the need for support with regard to symptoms of dementia; (3) the need for social contact and company; and (4) the need for health monitoring and perceived safety. Databases that were searched include: PubMed, Cinahl, Psychinfo, Google (Scholar), INSPEC and IEEE. In total 22 websites and 46 publications were included that satisfied the following criteria: the article reports on people with dementia and/or their informal carers and discusses an ICT-device that has been tested within the target group and has proven to be helpful. Within the first need area 18 relevant websites and three studies were included; within the second need area 4 websites and 20 publications were included. Within the third and fourth need area 11 and 12 publications were included respectively. Most articles reported on uncontrolled studies. It is concluded that the informational websites offer helpful information for carers but seem less attuned to the person with dementia and do not offer personalized information. ICT solutions aimed at compensating for disabilities, such as memory problems and daily activities demonstrate that people with mild to moderate dementia are capable of handling simple electronic equipment and can benefit from it in terms of more confidence and enhanced positive effect. Instrumental ICT-support for coping with behavioral and psychological changes in dementia is relatively disregarded as yet, while support for social contact can be effectively realized through, for example, simplified (mobile) phones or videophones or (entertainment) robots. GPS technology and monitoring systems are proven to result in enhanced feelings of safety and less fear and anxiety. Though these results are promising, more controlled studies in which the developed ICT solutions are tested in real life situations are needed before implementing them in the care for people with dementia. It is recommended that future studies also focus on the integration of the current techniques and solutions.

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The eCare Client Impact Survey (eCCIS) - Developing a new Tool for assessing Client Impacts of Telehealthcare

Telehealthcare is an increasingly popular option for health and social care organisations providing care to people in their own homes, principally providing the means to improve both the quality and efficiency of care services. However, the evidence-base for the impacts of telehealthcare in terms of general quality of life , well-being and satisfaction for older people and informal carers remains patchy. We argue that the impacts of telehealthcare lie in certain specific areas not sufficiently covered by existing measures. As a consequence, important knowledge about client impacts of telehealthcare is missing, with negative consequences for related decision processes. We present work conducted within the CommonWell and INDEPENDENT projects on developing an instrument that addresses these shortcomings and allows for a better assessment of the impacts of telehealthcare systems on end users and family carers. The proposed eCare Client Impact Survey (eCCIS) instrument covers ten domains: self-assessed impacts (positive and negative); impacts on the carer (burden, anxiety, ability to care, reassurance, time and resources spent caring); usefulness of the system; management of health status and care; usability of the system; fit with everyday life; satisfaction with telehealthcare staff; service valuation, willingness-to-pay; and overall satisfaction. The instrument was first tested in the evaluation of the CommonWell and INDEPENDENT pilots with about 1200 respondents. We present some of the results obtained by applying this instrument, and describe the future work that should be done to refine and validate it. 

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Developing and implementing telecare enhanced services in Scotland

The author discusses the experience with four Telecare technologies deployed by the Perth-Kinross Council to enable vulnerable clients, especially those with cognitive disabilities and functional disabilities, to remain safely in their homes with the support of formal and informal carers. This chapter presents the challenges of moving Telecare services from government funded demonstrations to locally supported permanent programs. Special attention is paid to potential barriers relating to sustainable funding and insufficient evidence of effectiveness.

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Carers Assistive Technology Service

Hull Churches Home from Hospital Service (HCHfH) has been at the forefront of bringing assistive technology into the homes of the elderly with chronic illness’ through Telehealth projects since 2008. Over that period the organisation has had a steep learning curve both in terms of introducing assistive technology to an ageing population and familiarising them with the benefits they go on to experience, building a track record in ensuring assistive technology is used and not rejected, our major work currently involves remote monitoring of clients with cardiac conditions and COPD in the community. HCHfH piloted an assistive technology project in 2013; The Carers Assistive Technology (CATs) project, aimed at supporting the local carers of dementia sufferers through the use of simple technological devices e.g. door charms, memo minders, digital photo albums and PARO the interactive seal cub. Family caregivers of people living with dementia experience a high incidence of psychological distress and physical ill-health associated with caring which can reduce their life expectancy. The dominant causes of carer’s distress include the person living with dementia associated behaviour that challenges, depression, anxiety, risk of falling, social isolation, emotional distress and continual 24 hour support without a break. In 2011 HCHfH carried out a needs analysis, “The needs of informal carers of those living with dementia.” Funded by the Department of Health, involving carers and people living with dementia. The study highlighted that family caregivers would like stimulating support for the person living with dementia and to be given confidence to take time out for themselves. The report indicated this support should be offered to them in their own homes. The pilot aim was to evaluate the use of assistive and ambient technologies in the home of a person with dementia and to measure the effectiveness of the different types of technology available, allowing respite for the carer. Maximising the dementia patient’s ability range within their own home environment, enabling the carer to have a more fulfilling lifestyle, while also facilitating their understanding of the process and evolution of End of Life Care of Dementia and the tools available to assist. By supporting the carers and the patient with their abilities and maintaining their independence in their own home the CATs project aided their understanding of dementia, its stages and the equipment that is available to help with everyday life. It offered both practical and emotional support through a team of highly skilled and suitably qualified staff and volunteers. This programme was particularly relevant as the service was driven by user needs and wishes, rather than a one-size-fits-all deployment mentality. Using assistive technology in the homes of those living with dementia provided an opportunity for the carer to take a break and have a more productive life e.g. access to health care, continue employment and maintain relationships. CATs showed how assistive technology can reduce the anxiety of a person living with dementia, keeping their brain working hard, allowing social interaction and involvement, whilst minimising the feelings of isolation and loneliness.

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Carers and telecare

By looking at carers’ experiences, this report takes this case forward by exploring in more detail the evidence and opportunities afforded by telecare and telehealth technologies and the barriers to greater take-up.

  • Over 60% of carers surveyed said telecare/telehealth had given them peace of mind as a carer
  • One in eight carers said telecare/telehealth had helped them stay in work or return to work alongside caring.
  • Yet almost two thirds of carers not using telecare/telehealth were unaware of the support available from technology.
  • Of carers not currently using telecare/telehealth one in four would like it but simply did not know where to find it.
  • Only 6% of carers said they would not want telecare/telehealth.
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Supporting carers through intelligent technology

Informal carers lack adequate practical and emotional support. This PhD investigates how a software agent could be used to help maintain a carer's personal social network by mediating communication and facilitating the provision of emotional and practical support. The agent should use features of the carer and their social network to provide a personalized support interface.

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Facilitating support groups for siblings of children with neurodevelopmental disorders using audio-conferencing: a longitudinal feasibility study

Background: Siblings of children with chronic illness and disabilities are at increased risk of negative psychological effects. Support groups enable them to access psycho-education and social support. Barriers to this can include the distance they have to travel to meet face-to-face. Audio-conferencing, whereby three or more people can connect by telephone in different locations, is an efficient means of groups meeting and warrants exploration in this healthcare context. This study explored the feasibility of audio-conferencing as a method of facilitating sibling support groups

Methods: A longitudinal design was adopted. Participants were six siblings (aged eight to thirteen years) and parents of children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders attending the Centre for Interventional Paediatric Psychopharmacology (CIPP). Four of the eight one-hour weekly sessions were held face-to-face and the other four using audio-conferencing. Pre- and post-intervention questionnaires and interviews were completed and three to six month follow-up interviews were carried out. The sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematic analysis was undertaken.

Results: Audio-conferencing as a form of telemedicine was acceptable to all six participants and was effective in facilitating sibling support groups. Audio-conferencing can overcome geographical barriers to children being able to receive group therapeutic healthcare interventions such as social support and psycho-education. Psychopathology ratings increased post-intervention in some participants. Siblings reported that communication between siblings and their family members increased and siblings’ social network widened.

Conclusions: Audio-conferencing is an acceptable, feasible and effective method of facilitating sibling support groups. Siblings’ clear accounts of neuropsychiatric symptoms render them reliable informants. Systematic assessment of siblings’ needs and strengthened links between Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, school counsellors and young carers groups are warranted.

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The impact of caring on carers: Associative and predictive factors relating to the general well-being of carers supporting a person diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive and associative factors of the carer's general well-being, specifically concerning carers offering support to those diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). Results showed that the sole predictive factor of the carers general well-being were the difficulties perceived with behavioural change and cognitive status within the PSP person. Several factors were also identified as significantly associated with the carers general well-being (gender of carer, PSP persons degeneration of motor functions, perceived difficulties relating to basic and instrumental activities conducted for the PSP person and perceived difficulties relating to basic and instrumental activities conducted for the PSP person and perceived difficulties with social network). However, all factors were not significant predictor's of the PSP person's general well-being when received difficulties with behaviour change and cognitive status were included in the model. [Book abstract]

Family caregiver strategies to encourage older relatives with dementia to use social services

Aim: To elicit the strategies used by Japanese family caregivers in the community to encourage older relatives with dementia to use adult daycare and respite stays.

Background: Older adults with dementia often require adult daycare and respite stays for their family caregivers to gain respite from care-giving. However, persons with dementia often face difficulty in new environments and timely access to sufficient services may be difficult to achieve. Few studies have examined how family caregivers encourage their service use.

Design: A qualitative method.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 family caregivers who were caring for relatives with dementia at home between 2005–2007. Data were analysed qualitatively.

Results: Family caregivers used various strategies to encourage older relatives to use services, allowing the older adult to decide whether to use the service, yearning and searching for the least harmful service, tailoring the service to the older adult, persuading the older adult to use the service, conforming the older adult to the service and coercing the older adult to use the service. Different strategies were used depending on factors such as desperation in needing respite, willingness to do what is best for the older adult, confidence in taking care of the older adult and the anticipated response of the older adult to services.

Conclusion: Nurses should carefully assess caregivers' strategies in their attempts to encourage service use and should provide adequate assistance in accordance with those strategies.

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Trade-offs in designing ICT platforms for independent living services

Bringing independent living services to market requires common service platforms that connect service providers to elderly people and informal carers. Realizing such common service platforms is challenging as issues like organizing model, openness, governance and subsidization models have to be decided upon. This paper elicits trade-offs in designing ICT platforms for independent living services by developing three generic value network configurations. We do so through an action design research project in which series of workshops and stakeholder interviews are done. Analysis of the case suggests several core dilemmas for realizing ICT platforms for independent living services. Besides contributing to academic theories on ICT platforms, we also provide practical recommendations on how to realize the potential of independent living.

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Telecare for Diabetes, CHF or COPD: Effect on Quality of Life, Hospital Use and Costs. A Randomised Controlled Trial and Qualitative Evaluation

Objectives: To assess the effect of telecare on health related quality of life, self-care, hospital use, costs and the experiences of patients, informal carers and health care professionals.

Methods: Patients were randomly assigned either to usual care or to additionally entering their data into a commercially-available electronic device that uploaded data once a day to a nurse-led monitoring station. Patients had congestive heart failure (Site A), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Site B), or any long-term condition, mostly diabetes (Site C). Site C contributed only intervention patients – they considered a usual care option to be unethical. The study took place in New Zealand between September 2010 and February 2012, and lasted 3 to 6 months for each patient. The primary outcome was health-related quality of life (SF36). Data on experiences were collected by individual and group interviews and by questionnaire.

Results: There were 171 patients (98 intervention, 73 control). Quality of life, self-efficacy and disease-specific measures did not change significantly, while anxiety and depression both decreased significantly with the intervention. Hospital admissions, days in hospital, emergency department visits, outpatient visits and costs did not differ significantly between the groups. Patients at all sites were universally positive. Many felt safer and more cared-for, and said that they and their family had learned more about managing their condition. Staff could all see potential benefits of telecare, and, after some initial technical problems, many staff felt that telecare enabled them to effectively monitor more patients.

Conclusions: Strongly positive patient and staff experiences and attitudes complement and contrast with small or non-significant quantitative changes. Telecare led to patients and families taking a more active role in self-management. It is likely that subgroups of patients benefitted in ways that were not measured or visible within the quantitative data, especially feelings of safety and being cared-for.

Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000269033

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Electronic tracking for people with dementia: an exploratory study of the ethical issues experienced by carers in making decisions about usage

Electronic tracking through GPS (global positioning system) is being used to monitor and locate people with dementia who are vulnerable to becoming lost. Through a review of the literature and an original study, this article examined ethical issues associated with use in a domestic setting. The qualitative study consisted of in-depth interviews with 10 carers who were using electronic tracking. The study explored the values, beliefs and contextual factors that motivated carers to use electronic tracking. It examined the extent of involvement of the person with dementia in decision-making and it explored the various ethical dilemmas encountered by carers when introducing the tracking system. As an issue that emerged from the interviews, specific attention was paid to exploring covert usage. From the study findings, recommendations have been made for research and practice about the use of electronic tracking in dementia care.

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Attitudes of Family and Professional Care-Givers towards the Use of GPS for Tracking Patients with Dementia: An Exploratory Study

This study examined the attitudes of family and professional care-givers towards the use of advanced electronic tracking such as GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) for elderly people with dementia. The study revealed four principal findings. First, care-givers' views ranged from feeling obligated to use the tracking device for the sake of patients' safety through support of the use of the device for the sake of the care-givers' peace of mind and restricted support, to objection to the use of the device and respect for a person's autonomy. Second, family care-givers showed higher support for the use of GPS and RFID both for their own peace of mind and for the safety of the elder in their care. Professionals attached higher value to respect for a person's autonomy and restricted support for using GPS and RFID. Third, both family and professional care-givers agreed that the decision on tracking dementia patients should be an intra-family issue. Fourth, family care-givers attached more importance to the tracking device's characteristics and design, thus emphasizing that the tracking device must be considered by them as ‘user-friendly’. The implications of the results for social work are also discussed.

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Multimedia computer-assisted instruction for carers on exercise for older people: development and testing

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to develop a multimedia computer-assisted instruction for informal carers and test its content validity, user difficulty and user satisfaction.

Background.  Healthy ageing is an increasingly important public health target globally. Changes in technology offer the opportunity for e-health promotion as a means of educating populations and healthcare staff to meet public health targets.

Methods.  Computer-assisted instruction was developed and tested systematically in four phases during 2008, and these are outlined. Phase 1 consisted of topic and content identification using a literature review. Phase 2 comprised refinement of the content using an academic panel of experts. Phase 3 was the production of computer-assisted instruction comprising problem clarification, algorithm designing with reference to a cognitive theory of multimedia learning and program coding. Phase 4 consisted of testing for content validity, and writing a computer-assisted instruction manual and testing it for user difficulty and satisfaction.

Results.  The data from each phase informed the development and refinement of the computer-assisted instruction. Content validity was confirmed and ‘test’ users reported few difficulties in its use and high satisfaction.

Conclusion.  This e-health promotion initiative is an example of how computer-assisted instruction may be developed to teach carers of older people.

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Care, Monitoring, and Companionship: Views on Care Robots from Older People and Their Carers

This paper is a discussion of some of the ethical issues relevant to the use of social robots to care for older people in their homes, drawing on qualitative data collected as part of the Acceptable robotiCs COMPanions for AgeiNg Years project. We consider some of the tensions that can be created between older people, their formal (professional) carers, and their informal carers (for example friends or relatives), when a care robot is introduced into the home of an older person. As examples of these tensions, we discuss the use of the care robot as a monitor of older people and carers, for example to ensure older people’s compliance with healthcare regimes, or to police the behaviour of carers to ensure that they are complying with professional guidelines. We also consider the use of care robots in a companionship role for older people, and describe the importance of clearly-delineated roles for care robots. The paper concludes that older people’s autonomy can be limited in the short term in order to protect their longer-term autonomy, and that even if care robots should primarily be considered as being for healthcare rather than for companionship, they might still be used sensitively so that their interference with the companionship role is minimised.

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Realization and user evaluation of a companion robot for people with mild cognitive impairments

This paper presents results of user evaluations with a socially assistive robot companion for older people suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and living (alone) at home. Within the European FP7 project “CompanionAble” (2008-2012) [1], we developed assistive technologies combining a mobile robot and smart environment with the aim to support these people and assist them living in their familiar home environment. For a final evaluation, user experience studies were conducted with volunteer users who were invited to a test home where they lived and freely used the robot and integrated system over a period of two days. Services provided by the companion robot include reminders of appointments (pre-defined or added by the users themselves or their informal carer) as well as frequent recommendations to specific activities, which were listed e.g. by their family carers. Furthermore, video contact with relatives and friends, a cognitive stimulation game designed especially to counter the progress of cognitive impairments, and the possibility to store personal items with the robot are offered. Recognition of the user entering or leaving the home is triggering situation specific reminders like agenda items due during the (expected) absence, missed calls or items not to be forgotten. Continuing our previous work published in [2], this paper presents detailed description of the implemented assistive functions and results of user studies conducted during April and May 2012 in the smart house of the Dutch project partner Smart Homes in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

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The physical functioning and mental health of informal carers: evidence of care-giving impacts from an Australian population-based cohort

Informal carers represent a substantial proportion of the population in many countries and health is an important factor in their capacity to continue care-giving. This study investigated the impact of care-giving on the mental and physical health of informal carers, taking account of contextual factors, including family and work. We examined health changes from before care-giving commenced to 2 and 4 years after, using longitudinal data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. The sample comprised 424 carers and 424 propensity score-matched non-carers. Health was self-assessed, measured with the SF-36 Health Survey Mental Health (MH) and Physical Functioning (PF) scales. Care-giving was classified as non-carer, low (<5 hours/week), moderate (5–19 hours/week) and high (20 or more hours/week). PF and MH change scores were regressed on baseline scores, care-giving, covariates (including work, family and socio-demographic characteristics) and interactions to identify impacts for subgroups. The physical and mental health impacts differed by gender, and care-giving hours and carer work hours were important contextual factors. Deterioration in both PF and MH was worse for females after 2 years and deterioration in MH was worse for males after 4 years. Among carers aged 40–64 years, there was a 17-point decline in PF (P = 0.009) and a 14-point decline in MH (P < 0.0001) after 2 years for female high caregivers working full-time and 9.3 point improvement (P = 0.02) for non-working male high caregivers. Change was not significant for non-carers. The study found that not all carers suffer adverse health impacts; however, the combination of high levels of care-giving with workforce participation can increase the risk of negative physical and mental health effects (particularly in female carers). Working carers providing high levels of care represent a vulnerable subgroup where supportive and preventive services might be focused.

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A weight off my mind: exploring the impact and potential benefits of telecare for unpaid carers in Scotland

A study looking at telecare from a carers' viewpoint is briefly reviewed in this article. The study drew on the experiences of carers through interviews and focus groups. It identified that some stakeholders, notably healthcare professionals, lacked awareness of the value and availability of telecare and that this often resulted in limited referrals and a limited range of telecare equipment accessed by carers. The study concluded that technology will be crucial in addressing the practicalities of delivering care and support to the increasing number of older, sick and disabled people in Scotland who wish to remain in their own homes. Carers in the study described the positive benefits of telecare and most felt that this had increased their own quality of life along with that of the person they cared for. The researchers felt that more needed to be done to raise awareness among carers and professionals about the full range of telecare options.

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Caregiver- and patient-directed interventions for dementia: an evidence-based analysis

In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry's newly released Aging at Home Strategy.After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person's transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.

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Money matters: a system fraught with glaring inequality

In the second of two articles, Barbara Pointon analyses the chaos of funding and benefits that rarely seem to help the people they are intended for, and asks again, ‘Whose service is it?’

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The ATHENE Project: The importance of bricolage in personalising assisted living technologies

Introduction: An aging population is fueling interest in assisted living technologies (ALTs) to support independence at home. Numerous ALTs have been developed and deployed, but uptake and use has fallen short of levels predicted by policymakers. A key reason is a lack of understanding of users’ needs. In this paper we report findings from the ATHENE (Assistive Technologies for Healthy Living in Elders: Needs Assessment by Ethnography) project, which is funded by the Technology Strategy Board under its Assisted Living Innovation Platform programme. The project aims to produce a richer understanding of the lived experiences and needs of older people and explore how ALT stakeholders – suppliers, health and social care providers – can work with users and carers to ‘coproduce’ ALTs. We focus, in particular, on the role of ‘bricolage’ (pragmatic customisation, combining new with legacy devices) by informal carers, such as family members, in enabling ALTs to be personalised to individual needs. Bricolage allows users and family members to take the initiative in ‘coproducing’ ALTs. that making assisted living work relies on collaboration, involving not only formal carers, but also informal ones. We argue that a new research agenda is needed, focusing on solving challenges of involving users and their informal carers in the straightforward and dependable co-production of ALTs.

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Assessing the applicability of GIS in a health and social care setting: planning services for informal carers in East Sussex, England

Informal carers save the state's health and social care services billions of pounds each year. The stresses associated with caring have given rise to a number of short-term care services to provide respite to carers. The Carers (Recognition & Services) Act of 1995 identified formally for the first time, the important role that unpaid carers provide across the community in Britain. The planning of combined health and social care services such as short-term care is a less developed application of geographical information systems (GIS) and this paper examines awareness and application issues associated with the potential use of GIS to manage short-term care service planning for informal carers in East Sussex. The assessment of GIS awareness was carried out by using a semi-structured questionnaire approach and interviewing key local managers and planners across a number of agencies. GIS data was gathered from the agencies and developed within a GIS to build up a set of spatial databases of available services, location of users and additional geo-demographic and topographic information. The output from this system development was presented in turn at workshops with agencies associated with short-term care planning as well as users to help assess their perspectives on the potential use and value of GIS. A renewed emphasis on a planned approach to health care coupled with integrated/joint working with social care creates a need for new approaches to planning. The feedback from planners and users, suggested that a number of key data elements attached to data-sharing may prove to be simultaneously progressive yet problematic, especially in the areas of ethics, confidentiality and informed consent. A critical response to the suitability of GIS as a tool to aid joint health and social care approaches is incorporated within a final summary.

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Employment and Informal Care: Sustaining Paid Work and Caregiving in Community and Home-based Care

Informal care provides the often hidden foundations of policies promoting care in the community and Ageing in Place. This paper examines the current impasse concerning those who are employed and seek to provide care, canvassing current and future possibilities for finding a way through the existing conflict between sustaining employment and providing informal care in the home. Focusing on the issues that emerge regarding support of older (aged) care recipients, the paper first considers the demographic, economic and democratic and governmental policy causes of the current problems. It then examines the emerging care gap expressed through the joint crisis of informal and formal care. The final section considers the solutions proposed to help re-embed care in the societies of the 21 century. These include developments related to the workplace and employment, as well as solutions concerned with providing extra services, expanding the care workforce, paying family caregivers and using technology. 

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Attitudes to telecare among older people, professional care workers and informal carers: A preventative strategy or crisis management?

This paper reports findings from an attitudinal survey towards telecare that emerged from 22 focus groups comprising 92 older people, 55 professional stakeholders and 39 carers. These were convened in three different regions of England as a precursor to telecare service development. The results from this study suggest that informants’ views were shaped by prior knowledge of conventional health and social care delivery in their locality, and the implication is that expectations and requirements with respect to telecare services in general are likely to be informed by wider perceptions about the extent to which community care should operate as a preventative strategy or as a mechanism for crisis management.

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Ethical issues in the use of fall detectors

Fall detectors are a form of remote monitoring assistive technology that have the potential to enhance the wellbeing of adults at risk from falling. In this paper, the ethical issues raised by the use of fall detectors are examined. The fall detection devices currently available are outlined, and a summary of how these devices require social-care services, or family carers, to respond in particular ways, is provided. The ethical issues associated with the use of fall detectors are classified under four headings: autonomy, privacy, benefit, and the use of resources. These issues, we argue, arise out of the nature of the technology itself, and the way that this technology is integrated into the day-to-day support package of the person for whom it is provided. It is argued that manufacturers have a duty to provide information about the ‘ethical side-effects’ associated with the use of a particular device, and that the process of making a decision to provide a person with a fall detector should include a checklist of questions that is designed to enable decision makers to work through the ethical issues raised.

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Community occupational therapy for people with dementia and their family carers : a national survey of United Kingdom occupational therapy practice

Introduction: A national survey was conducted with United Kingdom (UK) occupational therapists to scope occupational therapy service provision for people with dementia and their family carers in the community.

Method: This was an online questionnaire with topics on occupational therapists’ roles, service provision, referral, assistive technology and assessment tools. Recruitment was through direct invitation, and promotion via occupational therapy networks, websites and newsletters.

Results: A total of 197 responded. Occupational therapy referrals most commonly came from the multidisciplinary team. Over half primarily undertook profession-specific work, with occupational therapy assessments the most common profession-specific task. Two-thirds of referrals for initial assessments were for people with mild-to-moderate dementia. A median of 2.5 hours for assessment/intervention was spent for each person with dementia. Almost two-thirds used the Model of Human Occupation Screening Tool. Most could prescribe personal activities of daily living equipment and Telecare, with few able to prescribe equipment for reminiscence or leisure.

Conclusion: This national survey increases knowledge of UK community occupational therapy practice and service provision for people with dementia and their family carers. It informs occupational therapists about national trends within this practice area, and development of the community occupational therapy intervention (COTiD-UK) as part of the Valuing Active Life in Dementia research programme.

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A.S.T.R.I.D. : a social and technological response to meeting the needs of individuals with dementia and their carers : a guide to using technology within dementia care

This guide considers the potential of assistive technology to contribute to the care of people with dementia in the community. It has been written by members of the ASTRID project, involving the UK, Norway, the Netherlands and Ireland. It contains an introduction to the project, an account of technology in action, discussion of how to incorporate technology in a needs assessment, how to obtain and use assistive technology, and a review of ethical issues.

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Better safety, better quality of life

Reports on the launch of ASTRID ( A Social and Technological Response to meeting the needs of Individuals with Dementia and their Carers) a European project funded under the Telematics Programme, involving the UK, Norway, Netherlands and Ireland. It aims to research and promote the use of assistive technology, a broad term which covers anything from simple devices for individuals to whole systems of adapting housing.

Diabetes Management Using Modern Information and Communication Technologies and New Care Models

Background: Diabetes, a metabolic disorder, has reached epidemic proportions in developed countries. The disease has two main forms: type 1 and type 2. Disease management entails administration of insulin in combination with careful blood glucose monitoring (type 1) or involves the adjustment of diet and exercise level, the use of oral anti-diabetic drugs, and insulin administration to control blood sugar (type 2).

Objective: State-of-the-art technologies have the potential to assist healthcare professionals, patients, and informal carers to better manage diabetes insulin therapy, help patients understand their disease, support self-management, and provide a safe environment by monitoring adverse and potentially life-threatening situations with appropriate crisis management.

Methods: New care models incorporating advanced information and communication technologies have the potential to provide service platforms able to improve health care, personalization, inclusion, and empowerment of the patient, and to support diverse user preferences and needs in different countries. The REACTION project proposes to create a service-oriented architectural platform based on numerous individual services and implementing novel care models that can be deployed in different settings to perform patient monitoring, distributed decision support, health care workflow management, and clinical feedback provision.

Results: This paper presents the work performed in the context of the REACTION project focusing on the development of a health care service platform able to support diabetes management in different healthcare regimes, through clinical applications, such as monitoring of vital signs, feedback provision to the point of care, integrative risk assessment, and event and alarm handling. While moving towards the full implementation of the platform, three major areas of research and development have been identified and consequently approached: the first one is related to the glucose sensor technology and wearability, the second is related to the platform architecture, and the third to the implementation of the end-user services. The Glucose Management System, already developed within the REACTION project, is able to monitor a range of parameters from various sources including glucose levels, nutritional intakes, administered drugs, and patient’s insulin sensitivity, offering decision support for insulin dosing to professional caregivers on a mobile tablet platform that fulfills the need of the users and supports medical workflow procedures in compliance with the Medical Device Directive requirements.

Conclusions: Good control of diabetes, as well as increased emphasis on control of lifestyle factors, may reduce the risk profile of most complications and contribute to health improvement. The REACTION project aims to respond to these challenges by providing integrated, professional, management, and therapy services to diabetic patients in different health care regimes across Europe in an interoperable communication platform.

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Memory aid to structure and support daily activities for people with dementia

Objective: Use of technology to structure and support the daily activities of the residents in a small scale group accommodation (SSGA) for dementia is a new innovation in the Netherlands. This paper presents: a) the process of development of this new way of structuring activities by describing the making of digital planning boards, b) the findings of a pilot study looking at the experiences of using this device in people with dementia living in a small-scale group accommodation as well as experiences of informal carers and members of staff and c) the process of organizing day structure using this device from the user's perspectives.

Main content of paper: To develop the memory aid a user centred development process was used. After the first development cycle was completed the resulting digital planning boards were placed in the living room of a small scale living group for people with dementia and in private rooms of the residents. The main task of the aid is to support the memory of the residents by structuring the daily activities during the day. This paper provides the experiences of the users including the residents, informal carers and members of staff, issues around implementation and further development.

Method & findings: A qualitative method was chosen, data was collected using semi structured individual interviews with the residents (n=6) and focus groups interviews with informal carers (n=5) and members of staff (n=6). The framework analysis by Ritchie & Spencer (1994) was used to analyse the data. This resulted in the description of the findings based on the following three general themes; the state of affairs regarding the implementation, the needs for further development and the learning experiences acquired during the development.

The occurrence of installation errors, inefficient use, limited ease of use and a lack of knowledge regarding the function and use of the memory aid are highlighted as the most important issues that prevented a successful implementation. However, the majority of the residents were happy with the use and function of the memory aid when it worked. The informal carers were not very positive but indicated opportunities for improvement. This was echoed by the staff, although they saw an added value for the current use of the device. The findings highlighted shared views about ways of improving through adaptation of the software programme and additional technological applications such as Internet connectivity, improving its accessibility by using a remote control, adding videos and photos.

Conclusions: A number of lessons are learned about the use and transferability of this innovation in general health care setting as well as in people with dementia. The process of user centred design and development will be followed to obtain solutions that can be effectively implemented in their living environment.

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Exploring unforeseen outcomes - examining the potential that personalised technology can have for changing the behaviour patterns of people with learning disabilities

This article explores how personalised technology could have the potential to change the behaviour of people with learning disabilities, enabling them to take more control of their lives and increase their independence. Hft investigates unforeseen outcomes in its work with people with learning disabilities and personalised technology and asks whether personalised technology could be used as a training tool?

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A framework for understanding user requirements for an information service: defining the needs of informal carers

The aim of this research was to develop a conceptual framework that would help to collect and understand the information needs of a target community. Even though many information behavior frameworks already exist, they tend to focus on different aspects of the person and their interaction with information. It was proposed that a synthesis of the existing frameworks could lead to one comprehensive framework. Previous research was analyzed and an initial framework defined. It was piloted, adapted, and then applied to data on informal carers, who are people caring for another person, generally a relative, for more than 14 hours per week, and who are not paid for it. The data stemmed from 60 interviews that were transcribed and coded. This paper presents the data on informal carers and their information experience using the final framework. It serves to demonstrate how the framework sensitizes the researcher to certain types of significant data, enables the organization of the data, indicates the relationships between different types of data, and, overall, helps to provide a rich picture of the target community's information needs. In conclusion, the paper discusses the differences and advantages of the framework in relation to previous work, the limitations of the study, and possible further research.

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360 degrees of care

Research has demonstrated the benefits of telecare. It helps those with long-term needs live more independent lives, improves well-being, and enhances the quality of life. Yet little attention has been focused on the impact of telecare on unpaid carers who look after relatives with long-term care needs. This article examines the evidence from “A Weight Off My Mind: exploring the impact and potential benefits of telecare for unpaid carers”, and the ways in which telecare has impacted on carers, and how it has improved their quality of life. The potential benefit for carers were identified as: reducing pressure on carers; supporting carers in their supporting role; enabling carers to get a better night’s sleep; and giving carers peace of mind about the safety and well-being of the person being cared for. Telecare has also been instrumental in enabling carers to remain in paid employment, thereby maintaining family stability. Finally, telecare also had a positive impact on the relationship with the person [...]

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Care and technology in the 21st century

In the first of our Future Care series, Care and technology in the 21st centuryexplores the current landscape on care and technology and calls for a technological transformation in the way we support families caring for ill, frail and disabled loved ones.

The report argues that the way families already use technology to work, plan their lives, shop and socialize should also be reflected in how we care and calls on the Government to set up a new independent, expert taskforce to drive innovation and partnership on care technology.

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Future of social media in health and care with co-production

Future of health in EU faces the triple challenges of ageing, fiscal restriction and inclusion. In the UK the number of aged people will increase to 6.6 million in the next 25 years. In Scotland, the group people 74+ are projected to increase most dramatically by 82% by 2035. That statistics show every day the needs of older people are growing and an increasing number of carers are required. Now the number of carers are around 10% of population of the UK. In next 25 years the population of carers will rise to 9 million. The current value of care is worth an estimated £119bn per year - considerably more than total spending on the NHS. Hence government searches for ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality of care. The full participation of informal carers in the co-production of health and care has the potential to play a significant role in the sustainability of health and care delivery. A pressing issue is how to coordinate this massive resource with the formal health and care system to enable true co-production of health and care. Increasingly e-health, is seen as the tool to re-shape healthcare systems. In particular, social media (SM) are seen as critical enabler for co-production.

Our study investigates the current and possible future for SM as an enabler of co-production in health and care. To achieve these aims two main sets of questions are asked: what are the current uses of SM in health and social care? How can SM be reshaped to enable health and care coproduction? We consider a typology of opportunities and limitations of SM for health and care: - Existing health and care service bundles with existing or new SM tools - New health and care service bundles with existing or emerging SM tools

So far we have: a) Characterised current uses of SM and have identified benefits (and risks) of SM for health and care by reviewing the literature; b) Identified coordination tools and social sensemaking as key emerging trends in the use of SM; c) Identified health and care integration as a key driver for service redesign and for the adoption of co-production and have begun to characterise the needs SM can meet in this context. d) And begun preparing to collect data through collaboration with the Living it Up Project (a sub-project of DALLAS study - Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles at Scale, a £23 million partnership between the Technology Strategy Board and government departments, launched in June 2011) which is a programme aiming to support better health, wellbeing and active lifestyles in Scotland and is exploring new services and modes of cooperation

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Using technology to support people at risk of falling

In 2012 it was estimated 800 people fell daily in the West Midlands and fall detectors were an under-used resource. A fall detector does not prevent a fall but sends an alert so that someone knows a person has fallen making a difference to living independently by restoring confidence. There is a direct correlation between recovery and how long people lie on the floor after a fall; the speedier the response, the lower the risk of hospital admission and the shorter the length of hospital stay and subsequent support requirements on discharge. The Health Design & Technology Institute, Coventry University and the West Midlands Regional Telehealthcare Network and Warwickshire PCT were funded by NHS West Midlands to evaluate the use of fall detectors within the West Midlands. The initial phase of the project used rapid appraisal techniques for swift assessment of local perceptions of issues about the use of fall detectors across the region.

Evaluation included: • literature review and market appraisal of existing fall detector technology/products • focus groups with telehealthcare leads and informal carers • service experience of 20 people issued with fall detectors as part of their care package through interviews • collecting data from existing sources about the range of fall detectors used and a review of fall care pathways across the region.

From this project we have a clearer understanding from people who wear fall detectors, their carers and the staff who support them about why, when and where they are currently used and more importantly, how they could be deployed to maximum effect within a falls care pathway. The project identified; • a lack of knowledge and low public and practitioner awareness was a barrier to the use and adoption of fall detectors; • a need for sharing of best practice across the region to develop services further • fall detection is only part of the spectrum of falls interventions required to support people at risk of falling and there was a need to consider AT more widely in falls prevention and response. • improved design of fall detectors was needed to broaden their appeal to people who could benefit from wearing them. The dialogue has been opened with companies that design, manufacture and supply equipment.

The second phase of the project is nearly complete. This aims to raise the profile of assistive technology and falls amongst the general public and staff in health and social care through production of resources including: • a leaflet to promote the use of technology in falls prevention • a good practice guide on the successful use of fall detectors supported by digital case studies • a falls prevention smart phone app containing advice for carers to support self care through awareness raising and access to low level technologies readily available in the high street/ internet • identification and sharing of good practice, service innovation and whole system thinking within falls prevention and response services across the region through an in-depth case study approach promote recovery, with the flexibility to be tailored to support individuals with other long term conditions. 

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Introduction of a new NHS electric-powered indoor/outdoor chair (EPIOC) service: benefits, risks and implications for prescribers

Objective: To determine problems associated with electric-powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs (EPIOCs) and the benefits perceived by their users.

Design: Hospital-based cohort study of all patients referred over a 19-month period.

Setting: Regional Wheelchair Service for North West London serving nine district wheelchair services.

Subjects: Of the 174 subjects referred, 10 withdrew their application or were found to be unsuitable at screening, 164 were assessed and 124 were prescribed chairs. One hundred and thirteen subjects were interviewed by telephone four months after provision of the chair.

Main measures: Demographic and diagnostic data; current chair usage; self-reported accidents and component faults were compared with those recorded in the unit records; new activities embarked on since delivery; and benefits reported for main carers.

Results: Seventeen ‘mishaps’ were reported by 15 users including tipping from chairs (6) and falls during transfers (3). Three probably reflected mechanical failure. Component failure was found in 39% of EPIOCs, mostly affecting control boxes (22), frames (10) and footrests (10). New activities were undertaken by 56 (50%) users, usually shopping and visits to friends/family. Eighty-five per cent of users felt that the chairs made life easier for their informal carers through increased independence, reducing transfers and reduced need for ‘pushing’.

Conclusions: The component failures and self-reported accidents (some potentially dangerous) have implications for the NHS, manufacturers, prescribers and users. EPIOCs enhance the independence of severely physically disabled individuals in the community and assist carers by lessening dependence and enhancing social interaction. This study demonstrated the need for follow-up of EPIOC users and chairs.

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The Facebook effect

Social networking technology is making it easier for patients' friends and family to provide support. Tyze a private social platform which has been developed in Canada, is one example. It consists of a shared calender, a messaging system and a 'CareWall' where stories and updates can be posted. Two users of the system are briefly profiled and the benefits they get from the system explained. 

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Ethical Dimensions of Human-Robot Interactions in the Care of Older People: Insights from 21 Focus Groups Convened in the UK, France and the Netherlands

We briefly report the method and four findings of a large-scale qualitative study of potential users' views on the ethical values that should govern the design and programming of social robots for older people. 21 focus groups were convened in the UK, France and the Netherlands. We present and briefly discuss our data on: 1) the contrasting attitudes of older people and formal and informal carers about how well technology might be received by older users; 2) views about healthcare professionals, informal and formal carers having access to private information about householders that has been collected by the robot; 3) the belief that robots could not, as well as should not, replace human contact because persuasion is regarded a uniquely human skill; and 4) differing perceptions of the role of the robot and how this was used to justify ethical opinions on robot behavior.

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Carer satisfaction with telephone consultations in a community intellectual disability unit

This paper reports on a survey of carer satisfaction with telephone consultations with doctors in a community service for people with intellectual disability (also known as learning disability in the UK health services). A 10-item anonymized carer satisfaction questionnaire was sent out following telephone consultations over a 4 week period with questions about suitability, effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness of telephone consultations. Out of 13 questionnaires sent, 11 were returned. There was a high level of satisfaction with accessibility, effectiveness and suitability. Similar numbers felt that telephone consultations were an efficient use of time. However more than one-third of carers said they would have preferred a face-to-face consultation with the doctor. Telephone consultations, although routine practice in psychiatry, need further research to establish them as a viable alternative to face-to-face consultations.

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Attendance, achievement and participation: Young carers' experiences of school in Australia

Schools play an important part in the lives of children and young people who have caring responsibilities for a family member with an illness, disability, alcohol or other drug problem or mental health condition but many of these ‘young carers’ report difficulty in attending, achieving and participating in education. This qualitative research project aimed to gather young carers' views about school, the challenges they face in engaging with education and their peers, and ways that the system might better support others like them. It found that significant caring responsibilities, a lack of appropriate and responsive support services to meet family needs and a lack of awareness and understanding within the education system significantly reduced young carers' capacity to fully engage with their learning. Young carers in the study called for more assistance in caring for their relatives, more flexibility and responsiveness to their home lives within the design and delivery of education, and better processes for identifying and responding to the challenges they encounter in participating in the life of the school community.

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Not quite a panacea: technology to facilitate family caregivers for elders with dementia

In this article, the authors discuss their research to explore how technology might assist family members caring for a relative with dementia at home, outlining their research process, outcomes, and recommendations.

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Robots and the Division of Healthcare Responsibilities in the Homes of Older People

This paper briefly describes the method of a qualitative study, which used focus groups to elicit the views of older people and formal and informal carers of older people on the ethical issues surrounding the introduction of social robots into the homes of older people. We then go on to sketch some of the tensions and conflicts that can arise between formal carers, informal carers, and older people when trying to negotiate the task of dividing care responsibilities, and describe how the introduction of robots may exacerbate, or ease, these tensions. Data from the qualitative study is used to indicate where participants acknowledged, identified and discussed these issues.

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Hidden Children: Perspectives of Professionals on Young Carers of People with Mental Health Problems

Young carers of people with mental health problems are highly hidden, ostracised and vulnerable. To make matters worse, many professionals from the social, health and education sectors are not fully aware of the difficulties and central issues facing young carers of people with mental health problems. In order to make young carers of people with mental health problems more visible and to explore gaps in need and good practice from the perspectives of professionals, 65 participants were interviewed. The sample included professionals from the social, healthcare and voluntary sectors. Respondents were asked to discuss their understanding of young carers and appropriate interventions and methods to address young carers’ needs. Findings highlight: young carers’ isolation, stigma and restricted opportunities; fears involving family separation and child protection; and examples of good professional practice. New findings and examples of good professional practice that provide holistic, sensitive and effective support include: young carer groups and forums; young carer days; raising awareness of young carers in schools, especially via technology such as DVDs and the Internet; and having key workers to befriend young carers so as to advocate for better care, to provide emotional and psychological support and to facilitate young carer involvement.

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Ethical issues arising from a research, technology and development project to support frail older people and their family carers at home

The present paper provides an overview of the application of the key ethical issues which arose in an EU-funded research, technology and development project, Assisting Carers using Telematics Interventions to meet Older Persons' Needs (ACTION). The primary aim of the ACTION project was to support frail older people and their family carers in their own homes across England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Portugal via the use of user-friendly information and communication technology. Ethical guidelines were developed in the project and used as a tool to enable the multidisciplinary project team to increase their awareness of ethical issues in their everyday work, and to act as a useful ethical framework for regular team discussions at international and local meetings across the partner countries. A range of ethical issues arose during the field-study phases of the project when the ACTION services were introduced into a number of families' own homes. It can be argued that these ethical issues reflect factors relating both to the application of research into practice, as well as those relating more directly to the use of new technology by families and care professionals. Key issues centre upon the ethical concepts of autonomy, independence, quality of life, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice, and more specifically, on ethical issues of security, privacy and confidentiality, increased expectations, and withdrawal of the service. This paper is intended to facilitate dialogue and debate in the area of enabling (assistive) technology in home care for older people and their families.

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Use of home telehealth in palliative cancer care: a case study

We conducted a mixed-methods case study to explore the perceptions of family caregivers and palliative cancer patients of home telehealth, and their experience with it. The intervention in the randomized controlled trial from which study participants were selected consisted of specialist nurses available 24 hours per day who communicated with patients and families using videophones, with optional remote monitoring. Qualitative data were collected from interviews with five patient/caregiver dyads and seven bereaved family caregivers, direct observation and nursing documentation. Quantitative data were collected from computerized nursing documentation and analyzed for patterns of use. During the study there were 255 contacts, including videophone, telephone or face-to-face visits, between tele-nurses and families. Overall the patients, family caregivers and tele-nurses felt that home telehealth enabled family caregiving, citing increased access to care, and patient and family caregiver reassurance. Pain management was the most common reason for initiating contact with the nurse, followed by emotional support. Concerns included lack of integration of services, inappropriate timing of the intervention and technical problems. The case study confirmed the importance of timely and accessible care for a group of clinically vulnerable, dying cancer patients and their family caregivers.

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AAL service development loom--from the idea to a marketable business model

The Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) market is still in an early stage of development. Previous approaches of comprehensive AAL services are mostly supply-side driven and focused on hardware and software. Usually this type of AAL solutions does not lead to a sustainable success on the market. Research and development increasingly focuses on demand and customer requirements in addition to the social and legal framework. The question is: How can a systematic performance measurement strategy along a service development process support the market-ready design of a concrete business model for AAL service? Within the EU funded research project DALIA (Assistant for Daily Life Activities at Home) an iterative service development process uses an adapted Osterwalder business model canvas. The application of a performance measurement index (PMI) to support the process has been developed and tested. Development of an iterative service development model using a supporting PMI. The PMI framework is developed throughout the engineering of a virtual assistant (AVATAR) as a modular interface to connect informal carers with necessary and useful services. Future research should seek to ensure that the PMI enables meaningful transparency regarding targeting (e.g. innovative AAL service), design (e.g. functional hybrid AAL service) and implementation (e.g. marketable AAL support services). To this end, a further reference to further testing practices is required. The aim must be to develop a weighted PMI in the context of further research, which supports both the service engineering and the subsequent service management process.

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Health economics research into supporting carers of people with dementia: a systematic review of outcome measures

Advisory bodies, such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK, advocate using preference based instruments to measure the quality of life (QoL) component of the quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Cost per QALY is used to determine cost-effectiveness, and hence funding, of interventions. QALYs allow policy makers to compare the effects of different interventions across different patient groups. Generic measures may not be sensitive enough to fully capture the QoL effects for certain populations, such as carers, so there is a need to consider additional outcome measures, which are preference based where possible to enable cost-effectiveness analysis to be undertaken. This paper reviews outcome measures commonly used in health services research and health economics research involving carers of people with dementia. An electronic database search was conducted in PubMed, Medline, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycINFO, the National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED), Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) and Health Technology Assessment database. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they included an outcome measure for carers of people with dementia. 2262 articles were identified. 455 articles describing 361 studies remained after exclusion criteria were applied. 228 outcome measures were extracted from the studies. Measures were categorised into 44 burden measures, 43 mastery measures, 61 mood measures, 32 QoL measures, 27 social support and relationships measures and 21 staff competency and morale measures. The choice of instrument has implications on funding decisions; therefore, researchers need to choose appropriate instruments for the population being measured and the type of intervention undertaken. If an instrument is not sensitive enough to detect changes in certain populations, the effect of an intervention may be underestimated, and hence interventions which may appear to be beneficial to participants are not deemed cost-effective and are not funded. If this is the case, it is essential that additional outcome measures which detect changes in broader QoL are included, whilst still retaining preference based utility measures such as EQ-5D to allow QALY calculation for comparability with other interventions.

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A systematic review of telehealth tools and interventions to support family caregivers

We conducted a systematic review of studies employing telehealth interventions which focused on family caregivers’ outcomes. The Embase, CINHAL, Cochrane and PubMed databases were searched using combinations of keywords including “telehealth,” “telemedicine,” “telecare,” “telemonitoring,” “caregiver” and “family.” The initial search produced 4205 articles, of which 65 articles met the inclusion criteria. The articles included 52 experimental studies, 11 evaluation studies, one case study and one secondary analysis. Thirty-three articles focused on family caregivers of adult and older patients, while 32 articles focused on parental caregivers of paediatric patients. The technologies included video, web-based, telephone-based and telemetry/remote monitoring. Six main categories of interventions were delivered via technology: education, consultation (including decision support), psychosocial/cognitive behavioural therapy (including problem solving training), social support, data collection and monitoring, and clinical care delivery. More than 95% of the studies reported significant improvements in the caregivers’ outcomes and that caregivers were satisfied and comfortable with telehealth. The review showed that telehealth can positively affect chronic disease care, home and hospice care.

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Independent: Technology Supported Autonomous Living

ICT enabled Service Integration for Independent Living (INDEPENDENT) is an ICT - PSP project funded under objective 1.3 ICT for ageing well/independent living. Work has started as early as February 2010 and expected to finish after 3 years. INDIPENDENT will address current limitations of telehealth and telecare platforms to serve needs for support and delivery of support to the elderly which is not limited to a single sector (healthcare or social care) but spans the two sectors and empowers informal carers and the third sector to participate in delivery of support. This paper will discuss the Greek experience when drafting pilot scenarios that fit into the project's goals.

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Future mobility in an ageing society - Where are we heading?

The demographic profile of UK society is changing as people live longer. Maintaining the wellbeing and quality of life of an ageing society is set to be extremely challenging. To what extent can the state afford to meet a potentially burgeoning demand for social care? What expectations will be placed upon informal carers to enable the system to cope? In what ways and to what extent might assistive technologies have a part to play in supporting people both in terms of active ageing and in relation to coping with failing health? Beyond these questions is one which is more explicitly pertinent to transport policy: how and where will older people live and how will this affect patterns of mobility and levels of travel demand? This paper reports on a scenario planning exercise which has examined four different futures for living in later life, defined by considering two critical uncertainties: the extent to which older people in society engage with new healthcare technologies; and the extent to which the state provides care for people living in later life. The scenarios, explored with transport, ageing and assistive technology experts, serve to highlight how social practices may be shaped in very different ways both for older people and for those with whom they interact. The paper goes on to examine the implications for future mobility – such as the role of the home as a trip attractor as well as a trip generator – as well as to explore the extent to which transport policymakers are equipped to address the uncertainties for the transport system of an ageing society.

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A stakeholder-centred exploration of the current barriers to the uptake of home care technology in the UK

An increase in the ageing UK population is leading to new ways of looking at how we deliver health and social care services in the UK. The use of assisted living technology (ALT) and telecare is already playing a part in these new models of care. Yet despite the current advances in the range of technology and networking capabilities in the home, ALT and telecare solutions have not been taken up as eagerly as might have been anticipated. The study reported here used scenario‐based focus groups with a wide variety of stakeholders in home care to identify the existing barriers to the successful uptake of ALTs and telecare in Scotland. Six focus group sessions were conducted with individual stakeholder groups (social care workers, policy makers, telecare installation technicians, older users, informal carers) and five conducted with mixed stakeholder groups. The focus groups used the same home care scenario to identify and categorise the different perceptions, attitudes, and expectations of the various stakeholders when discussing telecare implementation for a fictitious older couple. The emerging themes from the focus groups were analysed and categorised according to the Framework Analysis approach. We present a synthesised list of the current barriers to the uptake of ALTs and telecare ‐ and discuss how each of these barriers might be overcome. If these barriers are addressed, we believe telehealthcare technologies will be better designed, more usable, easier to prescribe effectively, more acceptable to more users in more contexts, and ultimately more common place in homes throughout the UK.

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A forgotten aspect of the NICE reference case : an observational study of the health related quality of life impact on caregivers of people with multiple sclerosis

BACKGROUND: There are few published health technology assessments that have included the impact of a disease or treatment on caregivers' health related quality of life (HRQL). The objectives of this study were to explore the overall HRQL of caregivers of people with multiple sclerosis compared to matched controls, and more specifically explore the impact of different levels of functioning in people with MS on caregivers' HRQL scores. METHODS: A cross sectional observational study conducted as an online survey was undertaken in the UK. 200 caregivers of people with MS and 200 matched controls completed the EQ-5D, SF-36, HADS and a socio-demographic questionnaire. Caregivers also completed the Patient Determined Disease Steps questionnaire as a measure of MS severity. Differences in HRQL between caregivers and controls were assessed using t-tests and chi square analyses as appropriate. Ordinary Least Squares regression was also used to evaluate the disutility of being a caregiver compared to controls stratified by MS severity. RESULTS: Caregivers reported significantly lower HRQL, as measured by the SF-36, HADS and EQ-5D, compared to matched controls. A lower level of functioning in people with MS was mirrored by lower levels of caregivers’ HRQL. At the point at which mobility problems required wheelchair use caregivers reported better HRQL. CONCLUSIONS:The potential impact of caregiving on HRQL is an important consideration for economic evaluations. In relation to MS, the results suggest that caregiver’s HRQL deteriorates as the people with MS lose functioning; thus treatments that delay loss of function may have a benefit for caregivers as well as patients.

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A Technology Platform for a Novel Home Care Delivery Service to Patients with Dementia

Chronic illnesses impose a great burden on the lives of citizens worldwide. In modern health-care, decentralisa-tion, dehospitalisation and self management of diseases at home are crucial factors for improving the every-day life of the patients and the people close to them. People in general tend to dislike obtrusive monitoring on their daily activities, so the challenge for home care solutions is to implement systems that provide clinicians with adequate and concise information on their patients' health status while at the same time be unobtrusive and easy to use. Moreover, such systems must ensure that they produce high impact warnings on the patient's status only when it is needed, in order to relieve clinicians from unnecessary workload and become a real tool for decision making and efficient patient follow-up. ALADDIN's objective is to develop a trustworthy and reliable system supporting patients with dementia and their informal carers in the management of the disease from home. Based on a set of monitoring parameters and measuring scales feeding a reconfigurable Event Detection mechanism used for Risk Assessment and Analysis, the system aims to early detect symptoms that predict decline, avoid emergencies and secondary effects and, ultimately, prolong the period that patients can remain safely cared at home. Informal carers are also closely monitored by the system whereas additional features supporting networking, education and cognitive stimulation are also integrated along with decision sup-port and patient management tools for the treating clinicians. The platform has been built based on credible methodologies for efficient patient follow-up, risk detection and adaptive care. It is an open, secure, interoper-able, integrated IT-solution designed according to Service Oriented Architecture principles. The benefits of this platform are expected to lie in the prevention of emergencies, in reduction of carer burden and in maintenance of the patient's and carer's quality of life.

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Finding the service you need: human centered design of a Digital Interactive Social Chart in DEMentia care (DEM-DISC)

Community dwelling people with dementia and their informal carers experience a lot of problems. In the course of the disease process people with dementia become more dependent on others and professional help is often necessary. Many informal carers and people with dementia experience unmet needs with regard to information on the disease and on the available care and welfare offer, therefore they tend not to utilize the broad spectrum of available care and welfare services. This can have very negative consequences like unsafe situations, social isolation of the person with dementia and overburden of informal carers with consequent increased risk of illness for them. The development of a DEMentia specific Digital Interactive Social Chart (DEM-DISC) may counteract these problems. DEM-DISC is a demand oriented website for people with dementia and their carers, which is easy, accessible and provides users with customized information on healthcare and welfare services. DEM-DISC is developed according to the human centered design principles, this means that people with dementia, informal carers and healthcare professionals were involved throughout the development process. This paper describes the development of DEM-DISC from four perspectives, a domain specific content perspective, an ICT perspective, a user perspective and an organizational perspective. The aims and most important results from each perspective will be discussed. It is concluded that the human centered design was a valuable method for the development of the DEM-DISC.

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Evaluation of a multiprofessional community stroke team: a randomized controlled trial

Objectives: There is inconclusive evidence of the effectiveness of stroke rehabilitation by a community stroke team. The aim was to evaluate a specialist multiprofessional team in a community setting.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Community.

Participants: Stroke patients and their informal carers who were referred to receive rehabilitation from a community stroke team.

Outcome measures: Barthel Index, Extended Activities of Daily Living Scale (EADL), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) by patient and carer, Carer Strain Index (CSI), Euroquol, knowledge of stroke and satisfaction with services six months after recruitment.

Results: There were no significant differences between patients who received rehabilitation from community stroke team (n = 189) and those who received routine care (n = 232) in their independence in activities of daily living, mood, quality of life or knowledge of stroke. The patients in the community stroke team group were significantly more satisfied with the emotional support they had received (p < 0.01). There were no significant differences between the groups in satisfaction with practical help or overall satisfaction. Carers of patients in the community stroke team were under significantly less strain than carers in the routine care group (p < 0.04). Carers of patients in the community stroke team group were significantly more satisfied with their knowledge of stroke (p < 0.01) and were more satisfied overall (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: The patients treated by the community stroke team were more satisfied with the emotional support they received and had equivalent outcomes in terms of independence in activities of daily living and mood. Their carers were under less strain and were more satisfied with their knowledge of stroke recovery, the emotional support they received and overall satisfaction with services. The results support the provision of rehabilitation by a community-based specialist multiprofessional team.

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A systematic review of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different models of community-based respite care for frail older people and their carers

To review the evidence for different models of community-based respite care for frail older people and their carers, where the participant group included older people with frailty, disability, cancer or dementia. Where data permitted, subgroups of carers and care recipients, for whom respite care is particularly effective or cost-effective, were to be identified.

Major databases were searched from 1980 to March 2005. Ongoing and recently completed research databases were searched in July 2005. Data from relevant studies were extracted and quality assessed. The possible effects of study quality on the effectiveness data and review findings were discussed. Where sufficient clinically and statistically similar data were available, data were pooled using appropriate statistical techniques.

Twenty-two primary studies were included. Most of the evidence came from North America, with a minority of effectiveness and economic studies based in the UK. Types of service studied included day care, host family, in-home, institutional and video respite. Effectiveness evidence suggests that the consequences of respite upon carers and care recipients are generally small, with better controlled studies finding modest benefits only for certain subgroups. However, many studies report high levels of carer satisfaction. No reliable evidence was found that respite can delay entry to residential care or that respite adversely affects care recipients. Randomisation validity in the included randomised studies was sometimes unclear. Studies reported many different outcome measures, and all of the quasi-experimental and uncontrolled studies had methodological weaknesses. The descriptions of the studies did not provide sufficient detail of the methods of data collection or analysis, and the studies failed to describe adequately the groups of study participants. In some studies, only evidence to support respite care services was presented, rather than a balanced view of the services. Only five economic evaluations of respite care services were found, all of which compared day care with usual care and only one study was undertaken in the UK. Day care tended to be associated with higher costs and either similar or a slight increase in benefits, relative to usual care. The economic evaluations were based on two randomised and three quasi-experimental studies, all of which were included in the effectiveness analysis. The majority of studies assessed health and social service use and cost, but inadequate reporting limits the potential for exploring applicability to the UK setting. No study included generic health-related quality of life measures, making cost-effectiveness comparisons with other healthcare programmes difficult. One study used sensitivity analysis to explore the robustness of the findings.

The literature review provides some evidence that respite for carers of frail elderly people may have a small positive effect upon carers in terms of burden and mental or physical health. Carers were generally very satisfied with respite. No reliable evidence was found that respite either benefits or adversely affects care recipients, or that it delays entry to residential care. Economic evidence suggests that day care is at least as costly as usual care. Pilot studies are needed to inform full-scale studies of respite in the UK.

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A growing care gap? The supply of unpaid care for older people by their adult children in England to 2032

A key feature of population ageing in Europe and other more economically developed countries is the projected unprecedented rise in need for long-term care in the next two decades. There is, however, considerable uncertainty over the future supply of unpaid care for older people by their adult children. The future of family care is particularly important in countries planning to reform their long-term care systems, as is the case in England. This article makes new projections of the supply of intense unpaid care for parents aged 65 and over in England to 2032, and compares these projections with existing projections of demand for unpaid care by older people with disabilities from their children. The results show that the supply of unpaid care to older people with disabilities by their adult children in England is unlikely to keep pace with demand in future. By 2032, there is projected to be a shortfall of 160,000 care-givers in England. Demand for unpaid care will begin to exceed supply by 2017 and the unpaid ‘care gap’ will grow rapidly from then onwards. The article concludes by examining how far this unpaid ‘care gap’ is likely to be met by other sources of unpaid care or by developments in new technology and examines the implications of the findings for long-term care policy.

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Better care at home and in care homes: contract inserts

People with dementia and their carers need a range of services, some of which will be dementia- specific and others which will be more mainstream in nature, but which may deliver services to large numbers of people affected by dementia. In some instances, these mainstream services may not respond well to the specific needs of people living with dementia and the purpose of this document is to provide a statement of requirements to meet those needs. The document sets out a number of ‘contract inserts’ which describe the specific requirements of people with dementia and their carers when using mainstream services and may be used by commissioners when drawing up their own statements of requirements for discussions for service redesign or in a procurement situation. They may be included in a subsequent contractual arrangement with a Provider. The document also sets out a number of dementia-specific quality standards which commissioners may use to measure the quality of services provided to people with dementia and their carers. At the end of the document, information is provided on documents and practical tools which may be of assistance to commissioners in developing a dementia-friendly community.

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An implementation framework for smart home telecare services

Expected benefits of smart home telecare services do still depend on the capability to develop and validate systems which may foresee or react in an intelligent way to situations demanding specific support to patients, informal carers or authorized staff. Together with wireless sensor networks or broadband communication infrastructures at home, it is needed to create models and methods to solve how a smart home might think and act in identified home care contexts. This research work provides and implementation framework, supported by knowledge based techniques, that permits to design, develop and validate the description logic of a smart home telecare service. The framework includes an adapted methodology to sustain the knowledge acquisition process from users and experts as well as the creation and integration of ontologies in order to facilitate reasoning logic at ad hoc scenarios. The system was validated for a smart home telecare context supporting elderly fall episodes.

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Review: cholinesterase inhibitors reduce burden and care time for informal carers of people with Alzheimer's disease

The article reports on the results of a study showing that cholinesterase inhibitors provide little benefits for informal carers of community dwelling people with Alzheimer's disease. In future Alzheimer's disease clinical trials, carer specific outcomes should be included to investigate the effects of cholinesterase inhibitors.

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Review: Assistive technology for the benefit of users and carers

This paper describes the methodology and results of a review, carried out to get an overview of international research on effectiveness of lifting aids. A 62 terms data-base returned 3520 references. After screening the documents followed by quality assessment, 13 articles were left for the review. Generally, lifting aids were found to be effective, e.g. reducing absence due to work-related illness and thereby also reducing societal costs. However, user benefits, effectiveness in private homes and for informal carers were not addressed. Most studies were conducted in North America and the results need to be transferred into a European context where labour market structures, social benefits, and assistive technology provision are different.

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The effect of caregiver support interventions for informal caregivers of community-dwelling frail elderly : a systematic review

INTRODUCTION: Informal caregivers are important resources for community-dwelling frail elderly. But caring can be challenging. To be able to provide long-term care to the elderly, informal caregivers need to be supported as well. The aim of this study is to review the current best evidence on the effectiveness of different types of support services targeting informal caregivers of community-dwelling frail elderly. METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed in Medline, PsychINFO, Ovid Nursing Database, Cinahl, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and British Nursing Index in September 2010. RESULTS: Overall, the effect of caregiver support interventions is small and also inconsistent between studies. Respite care can be helpful in reducing depression, burden and anger. Interventions at the individual caregivers' level can be beneficial in reducing or stabilizing depression, burden, stress and role strain. Group support has a positive effect on caregivers' coping ability, knowledge, social support and reducing depression. Technology-based interventions can reduce caregiver burden, depression, anxiety and stress and improve the caregiver's coping ability. CONCLUSION: Integrated support packages where the content of the package is tailored to the individual caregivers' physical, psychological and social needs should be preferred when supporting informal caregivers of frail elderly. It requires an intense collaboration and coordination between all parties involved.

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CarerSupport - An Innovative Approach to Informal Carers' Training and Collaboration

EU and national policies for long-term care acknowledge the role of informal carers. However, there is still little adequate support to prepare or ease informal carers in terms of training to allow them improve their skills, alleviate psychosocial stress and maintain their own health and well-being. In the CarerSupport project, we seek to integrate services, deploy and test an integrated ICT platform enabling participation and collaboration of informal carers, psychologists and health professionals to collaborate, facilitate training and orientation, offer tele-consulting services and psychosocial support to carers. Based on this platform and its content, we will deploy and report on informal carers' experiences with the wide range of offered service. The poster will present the first experiences and suggest potentials for a service like CarerSupport.

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Systematic review of the effects of telecare provided for a person with social care needs on outcomes for their informal carers

Telecare devices have been put forward as a potentially effective intervention to benefit the well-being and functioning of informal carers of people with social care needs, and to reduce the negative effects of providing care to a family member or friend. Much of the evidence used to support this view is qualitative, and therefore does not provide good-quality evidence to answer questions about its effect on carer outcomes. This review aimed to document and evaluate the quantitative evidence base for the effect of telecare interventions on outcomes for informal carers. A systematic search was conducted between October 2009 and January 2010 to identify peer-reviewed and ‘grey’ intervention evaluations, using electronic databases and expert/interested party recommendations. Clear inclusion and exclusion criteria and a reliable screening process were applied to select papers for inclusion in the review, and a checklist was used to assess risk of bias for each evaluation. Of 1071 identified evaluations, seven fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Of these, two were peer-reviewed, and the remainder were unpublished or internal reports. Included evaluations were heterogeneous; they had investigated diverse technologies and outcomes, using varied evaluation designs and measures. All included evaluations were rated as being of weak methodological quality, indicating risk of bias within the evidence base. The evidence tentatively indicated that telecare exerts a positive effect on carer stress and strain, but there is no evidence to indicate benefits on burden or quality of life. The evidence is conflicting about the effect of telecare on the amount of time carers spend on their caring duties, and on relationships between the carer, cared-for person and other family members. Additional good-quality evaluations are required to establish the effects of telecare on informal carer outcomes.

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Who should make the decision on the use of GPS for people with dementia?

Objectives: In recent years advanced technologies, such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS), allow for tracking of human spatial activity and provide the ability to intervene to manage that activity. The purpose of this study is to examine the issue of who should decide about the use of electronic tracking using GPS for people with dementia.

Methods: Based on quantitative data collected from 296 participants comprising cognitively intact elderly, family caregivers of people with dementia, social workers, other professionals, and social work students, study participants were asked to rate nine different potential decision-makers to make this decision.

Results: The results show that figures inside the family, particularly the spouse or the most involved family caregiver, were perceived more important in the decision-making process than figures outside the family, whereas the person with dementia was ranked third in the order of the figures. Since the decision to use GPS for tracking raises the ethical dilemma of personal safety versus autonomy and privacy of people with dementia, the findings seem to indicate that the reluctance of professional caregivers to assist family caregivers to make this decision is experienced as frustrating.

Conclusions: The findings imply that in order to reach a balance between the wishes and interests of both people with dementia and their family caregivers, there is a need for more active involvement of the professional caregivers to facilitate the family decision-making process.

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The role of telemonitoring in caring for older people with long-term conditions

Long-term conditions have a negative effect on the lives of older people and those who care for them. As the population ages, so the prevalence of long-term conditions increases, which presents substantial challenges to providers of health and social care. This article examines how telemonitoring could help to meet some of these challenges. Telemonitoring involves patients at home recording vital signs, for example, blood pressure and pulse, and transmitting this information electronically to nurses based elsewhere. Nurses can then use these data to identify signs of deterioration, intervene promptly and prevent admission to hospital. There is some evidence that this form of care is popular with patients and can improve clinical outcomes. However, nurses should ensure that they understand the opportunities and difficulties presented by telemonitoring, develop the skills necessary to use it effectively and put themselves at the forefront of this innovative method of supporting care provision.

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Development of an integrated external and internal location system with activity monitoring

Although the potential of using location information to support people with dementia has been recognised, the uptake of location technology in this area has been limited compared with the uptake of standard Telecare techniques. The paper examines the reasons for this and describes a project, EASE (Extended Active Support Environment) which was commissioned by NHS South as part of their SBRI for Dementia programme, to develop a system which would address these issues and make location technologies a practical tool to support people with more advanced dementia. 

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A systematic review to examine the effect of telecare for people with social care needs on outcomes for their informal carers

Background and aims: A body of literature indicates that the informal carers (e.g. family, friends) of people with social and health care needs experience poorer quality of life, health and psychological wellbeing than their non-carer counterparts (e.g. Pinquart & Sorensen, 2003). It has been suggested that telecare interventions to enable a person with social care needs to remain at home may also positively impact on informal carer wellbeing (Yeandle, 2009), however, little is known about their effect in this domain. This review aimed to document and evaluates the evidence for the effect of telecare for a person with social care needs on psychological outcomes for their informal carer. Method: A systematic review method was employed: six electronic databases were searched and experts in the field contacted to identify relevant published and unpublished evaluations. Seven hundred and forty-four unique studies were identified and assessed by two researchers for their fulfilment of the study inclusion criteria. Their quality was assessed using a standardised tool, and data extracted to describe the studies’ characteristics and findings. Results and conclusions: Seven evaluations fulfilled the inclusion criteria, of which two originated from peer-reviewed publications. Outcomes measured included carer burden, stress, satisfaction with telecare kit, worker productivity and morale, and relationships with the cared for person and others. All included studies suffered from methodological weaknesses, including non-randomised designs, small sample sizes and non-validated measures. The data indicated inconsistent evidence for an effect of telecare on informal carers’ psychological wellbeing and perceptions of telecare kit, although there is tentative evidence to suggest a positive effect of telecare on carer stress and satisfaction with kit. Implications of the findings for future research and practice will be discussed

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ISISEMD: Intelligent system for independent living and self-care of seniors with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia

According to the 2009 World Alzheimer Report, the number of people living with Alzheimer's and dementia is predicted to double almost every 20 years, and people will experience their first symptoms of dementia at an earlier age. In Europe the number of people with dementia is conservatively anticipated to increase by 40% over the next 20 years mainly due to the increase in the ageing population. As a consequence, social care providers in Europe will face major challenges over the next couple of decades due to the increased care demand for people suffering from dementia. This will have a double negative impact as it will not only increase the burden of care but also reduce the quality of life of informal carers helping those with pre- and mild dementia, living at home. Current traditional care provides limited services for these groups, leaving their needs unmet to a great extent. Information and communication technology (ICT) offers a number of promising opportunities to help patients with pre- and mild dementia live autonomously and safely in their own homes, and to support informal carers in coping with the care burden. ISISEMD is a European project aiming at improving the quality of life of elderly people with pre- and mild dementia living in their own homes, and also for their caregivers by offering innovative intelligent custom services. The services aim to support the needs of the elderly from this target group for: a) living safely at home; b) self-care by supporting their basic daily activities; c) daily interaction with relatives, friends and caregivers, giving them the feeling of safety and preventing their social isolation. The services will be validated via a controlled study across four European countries in real-life situations for one year. To address scalability, the pilot services will contain three complementary service bundles (basic services, intermediate and high level) that allow for escalation of the service provided to the end-users, based on their needs. The service bundles provided will be easily managed, personalised, transparent and comprehensive. This paper elaborates on the ISISEMD approach for an innovative care model, including technical aspects of the services, the technologies used and the system architecture. It also describes plans for evaluation from a human factor perspective, and briefly discusses business opportunities. © The Journal on Information Technology in Healthcare.

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How can the web support carers?

This document has been written to act as a resource for all those involved in developing or providing online services for carers and their families. Many organisations and local authorities are currently exploring how the internet can be used to reach more carers and to provide services more effectively. This guide offers advice and direction on the creation and expansion of websites and other online services for carers, based on the experiences of providers and the views of carers themselves. This guide also includes information about barriers to accessing the internet and suggestions on how to overcome these issues; however the aim is not to advocate the replacement of real world services with websites. Online services should complement and add to the support that is already available, increasing carers’ options rather than reducing them. The following pages contain a detailed exploration of the advantages and challenges of providing carer support online, as well as the pros and cons for the main types of web services that are currently being offered or developed. The recommendations contained in this report are the result of discussions with various stakeholders and extensive consultation with carers on what they like or dislike about particular websites and what additional online resources they would like to see developed.

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Telecare and telehealth for informal carers: a research in 12 Member States on their benefits and policy role for the success

Introduction: Research acknowledges the relevance of social support and coping strategies to manage the pressure of care experienced by informal carers, where ICT-based services like telecare and telehealth can provide more effective and efficient support to individuals compared with traditional interventions. Nevertheless there is still little evidence of their benefits of these technological services for informal carers and on the factors associated with their successful development and transfer. Aims and objectives: The aim of this study was to study how the technologies for independent living of the elderly affect the informal carers, and to identify the policy role to develop and scale these technological services in the European Union. Methods: The methodology was to map the most relevant ICT-based initiatives existing in Europe to support informal carers of older people living in the community. We develop an impact assessment methodology that identified the most relevant factors of impact. We then carried out them an in-depth analysis of 5 selected good practices of telecare and telehealth in European countries to better understand the impact of such services. Moreover, we cross- analysed of 12 good practices of ICT based services for informal carers to identify the key success factors to develop such services. Results: We found that telecare and telehealth provide relief, independence and peace of mind for informal carers. This allows carers to have more active social lives and more time for themselves. These tools can guarantee a decreased in demand by carers and care recipients for support and care services. The research also evidenced that key issues for the success of telecare and telehealth is to articulate a multi-level policy framework based mainly on policy leadership, combination of funding programmes, and support of intermediaries (in particular the third sector). Conclusions: Telecare and telehealth are technologies for elderly people that can also benefit informal carers. Challenges still exist for their development, but a multi-level policy framework can help for the success.

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Older people

Presents an overview of seven pieces of research into the needs of older people. Includes technological support, meal choices for people with dementia, and a study of the Carers' Act.

A sociological focus on 'expert patients'

The increase of chronic illness as a leading cause of death has given rise to self-care and expert patient initiatives. Caring for chronically ill people places a tremendous economic burden on the health care system, informal carers, the labour market and benefit system (Department of Health 2001, 2004, 2005). Thus, in many countries health policy encourages patients to become ‘experts’ in the self-management of their conditions in the belief that it will help save money and improve health and well-being (Wanless 2002). For example, the notion of ‘expert patients’ has emerged in UK policy and is pivotal to government plans to modernise the National Health Service (NHS) by linking patient expertise to ideas of empowerment, a better quality of life, self-esteem and a user-driven NHS (Department of Health 2001; Fox et al 2005). Self-management and expert patient initiatives aim to encourage chronically ill patients to become more actively involved in decisions concerning their care and well-being (Lorig and Holman 2003; Lorig et al 1985, 1999, 2001).

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Is NHS Direct meeting the needs of mental health callers?

Background: NHS Direct is a new service that offers 24-hour advice from trained nurses. The National Service Framework for Mental Health and the National Strategy for Carers both mention NHS Direct as an important source of support for people with mental health problems. Aims: This paper reports findings from an evaluation of the Department of Health's NHS Direct mental health initiative. This initiative was established to ensure that NHS Direct can meet the needs of callers with mental health problems by offering additional training to all staff and improving the database of mental health services. Method: The findings reported here are based on routine computer data provided by 12 out of 17 NHS Direct sites, 552 data forms completed by nurse advisers from the 17 sites, and 111 questionnaires administered over the telephone with callers to the 17 sites. Results: Mental health calls accounted for 3% of NHS Direct's workload, although these calls were often longer and more complex than other calls. The majority of callers to the service were in touch with other services for their mental health problems (59%), typically their GP. Most callers had 'moderate' mental health problems, as indicated by the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale. Generally callers were satisfied with the service they received, although satisfaction was lower in some areas than previous studies of NHS Direct. Conclusions: Improvements could be made in the mechanisms for referring callers on to other services, and training to increase nurse advisers' knowledge of mental health problems.

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The role of telematics in assisting family carers and frail older people at home

The overall aim of the A.C.T.I.O.N. research project (Assisting Carers using Telematic Interventions to meet Older person's Needs) is to maintain or enhance the autonomy, independence and quality of life of frail older and disabled people and their family carers by providing information, advice and support in the home. The authors report on the first phase of evaluation conducted using a case-study approach to test the A.C.T.I.O.N. system in several family carers' homes in Sheffield, England. The results reflect the realities of conducting an applied research technology project and are discussed with reference to the government's recent national strategy for carers. The authors acknowledge the need for further evaluation studies to explore the key issues raised within this preliminary evaluation phase. 

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REMCARE: reminiscence groups for people with dementia and their family caregivers - effectiveness and cost-effectiveness pragmatic multicentre randomised trial

Objectives: The aim of the REMiniscence groups for people with dementia and their family CAREgivers (REMCARE) study was to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of joint reminiscence groups for people with dementia and their family caregivers as compared with usual care.

Design: A multicentre, pragmatic randomised controlled trial with two parallel arms - an intervention group and a usual-care control group - was carried out. A restricted dynamic method of randomisation was used with an overall allocation ratio of 1 : 1, restricted to ensure intervention groups of a viable size. Assessments, blind to treatment allocation, were carried out at baseline, 3 months and 10 months (primary end point).

Setting: Most participants were recruited through NHS Memory Clinics and Community Mental Health Teams for older people. Assessments were usually carried out in the person's home, and treatment groups were held in a variety of community settings.

Participants: A total of 488 individuals (mean age 77.5 years) with mild to moderate dementia (meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition criteria), who were initially living in the community, and who had a relative or other caregiver maintaining regular contact, who could act as an informant and was willing and able to participate in the intervention, were recruited to the study. Most carers were spouses (71%). A total of 350 dyads completed the study.

Interventions: The intervention consisted of joint reminiscence groups held weekly for 12 consecutive weeks, followed by monthly maintenance sessions for a further 7 months. The sessions followed a treatment manual, and were led by two trained facilitators in each centre, supported by a number of volunteers. Up to 12 dyads were invited to attend each group.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measures were self-reported quality of life for the person with dementia and psychological distress for the carer [General Health Questionnaire-28 item version (GHQ-28)]. Secondary outcome measures included autobiographical memory and activities of daily living for the person with dementia, carer stress for the carer and mood, relationship quality and service use and costs for both parties.

Results: The intention-to-treat analysis identified no differences in outcome between the intervention and control conditions on primary or secondary outcomes [self-reported quality of life in Alzheimer's disease: mean difference 0.07, standard error (SE) 0.65; F = 0.48; p = 0.53]. Carers of people with dementia allocated to the reminiscence intervention reported a significant increase in anxiety on a subscale of the GHQ-28 at the 10-month end point (mean difference 1.25, SE 0.5; F = 8.28; p = 0.04). Compliance analyses suggested some benefits for people with dementia who attended more reminiscence sessions; however, carers attending more groups showed increased caregiving stress. Use of health- and social-care services was modest, with no significant difference in service use between conditions. Owing to negligible difference in quality-adjusted life-year gains (derived from European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions) between the conditions the planned full economic analysis was curtailed.

Conclusions: This trial does not provide support for the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness of joint reminiscence groups for people with dementia and their carers. Although there may be some beneficial effects for people with dementia who attend sessions as planned, this must be viewed in the context of raised anxiety and stress in their carers. The reasons for these discrepant outcomes need to be explored further, and may necessitate reappraisal of the movement towards joint interventions.

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42430123.

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Patient Centered Integrated Clinical Resource Management

The impact of funding systems on the IT systems of providers has been enormous and have prevented the implementation of designs to focused on the health issue of patients. The paradigm shift the Dutch Ministry of Health has taken in funding health care has a remarkable impact on the orientation of IT systems design. Since 2007 the next step is taken: the application of the funding concept on chronic diseases using clinical standards as the norm. The focus on prevention involves the patient as an active partner in the care plan. The impact of the new dimension in funding has initiated a process directed to the development of systems to support collaborative working and an active involvement of the patient and its informal carers. This national approach will be presented to assess its international potential, as all countries face the long term care crisis lacking resources to meet the health needs of the population.

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Rehabilitation of older patients: day hospital compared with rehabilitation at home. A randomised controlled trial

Objectives: To test the hypotheses that older people and their informal carers are not disadvantaged by home-based rehabilitation (HBR) relative to day hospital rehabilitation (DHR) and that HBR is less costly.

Design: Two-arm randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Four trusts in England providing both HBR and DHR.

Participants: Clinical staff reviewed consecutive referrals to identify subjects who were potentially suitable for randomisation according to the defined inclusion criteria.

Interventions: Patients were randomised to receive either HBR or DHR.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was the Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living (NEADL) scale. Secondary outcome measures included the EuroQol 5 dimensions (EQ-5D), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Therapy Outcome Measures (TOMs), hospital admissions and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-30) for carers.

Results: Overall, 89 subjects were randomised and 42 received rehabilitation in each arm of the trial. At the primary end point of 6 months there were 32 and 33 patients in the HBR and DHR arms respectively. Estimated mean scores on the NEADL scale at 6 months, after adjustment for baseline, were not significantly in favour of either HBR or DHR [DHR 30.78 (SD 15.01), HBR 32.11 (SD 16.89), p = 0.37; mean difference -2.139 (95% CI -6.870 to 2.592)]. Analysis of the non-inferiority of HBR over DHR using a 'non-inferiority' limit (10%) applied to the confidence interval estimates for the different outcome measures at 6 months' follow-up demonstrated non-inferiority for the NEADL scale, EQ-5D and HADS anxiety scale and some advantage for HBR on the HADS depression scale, of borderline statistical significance. Similar results were seen at 3 and 12 months' follow-up, with a statistically significant difference in the mean EQ-5D(index) score in favour of DHR at 3 months (p = 0.047). At the end of rehabilitation, a greater proportion of the DHR group showed a positive direction of change from their initial assessment with respect to therapist-rated clinical outcomes; however, a lower proportion of HBR patients showed a negative direction of change and, overall, median scores on the TOMs scales did not differ between the two groups. Fewer patients in the HBR group were admitted to hospital on any occasion over the 12-month observation period [18 (43%) versus 22 (52%)]; however, this difference was not statistically significant. The psychological well-being of patients' carers, measured at 3, 6 and 12 months, was unaffected by whether rehabilitation took place at day hospital or at home. As the primary outcome measure and EQ-5D(index) scores at 6 months showed no significant differences between the two arms of the trial, a cost-minimisation analysis was undertaken. Neither the public costs nor the total costs at the 6-month follow-up point (an average of 213 days' total follow-up) or the 12-month follow-up point (an average of 395 days' total follow-up) were significantly different between the groups.

Conclusions: Compared with DHR, providing rehabilitation in patients' own homes confers no particular disadvantage for patients and carers. The cost of providing HBR does not appear to be significantly different from that of providing DHR. Rehabilitation providers and purchasers need to consider the place of care in the light of local needs, to provide the benefits of both kinds of services. Caution is required when interpreting the results of the RCT because a large proportion of potentially eligible subjects were not recruited to the trial, the required sample size was not achieved and there was a relatively large loss to follow-up.

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN71801032.

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Interactive health communication applications for chronic disease: patient and carer perspectives

BACKGROUND: Interactive Health Communication Applications (IHCAs) are computer-based, usually web-based, information packages for patients that combine health information with at least one of social support, decision support, or behaviour change support. These are innovations in health care and their effects on health are uncertain.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of IHCAs for people with chronic disease.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We designed a four-part search strategy. First, we searched electronic bibliographic databases for published work; second, we searched the grey literature; and third, we searched for ongoing and recently completed clinical trials in the appropriate databases. Finally, researchers of included studies were contacted, and reference lists from relevant primary and review articles were followed up. As IHCAs require relatively new technology, the search time period commenced at 1990, where possible, and ran until 31 December 2003.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of IHCAs for adults and children with chronic disease.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: One reviewer screened abstracts for relevance. Two reviewers screened all candidate studies to determine eligibility, apply quality criteria, and extract data from included studies. Authors of included RCTs were contacted for missing data. Results of RCTs were pooled using random-effects model with standardised mean differences (SMDs) for continuous outcomes and odds ratios for binary outcomes; heterogeneity was assessed using the I(2 )statistic.

MAIN RESULTS: We identified 24 RCTs involving 3739 participants which were included in the review.IHCAs had a significant positive effect on knowledge (SMD 0.46; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.22 to 0.69), social support (SMD 0.35; 95% CI 0.18 to 0.52) and clinical outcomes (SMD 0.18; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.35). Results suggest it is more likely than not that IHCAs have a positive effect on self-efficacy (a person's belief in their capacity to carry out a specific action) (SMD 0.24; 95% CI 0.00 to 0.48). IHCAs had a significant positive effect on continuous behavioural outcomes (SMD 0.20; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.40). Binary behavioural outcomes also showed a positive effect for IHCAs, although this result was not statistically significant (OR 1.66; 95% CI 0.71 to 3.87). It was not possible to determine the effects of IHCAs on emotional or economic outcomes.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: IHCAs appear to have largely positive effects on users, in that users tend to become more knowledgeable, feel better socially supported, and may have improved behavioural and clinical outcomes compared to non-users. There is a need for more high quality studies with large sample sizes to confirm these preliminary findings, to determine the best type and best way to deliver IHCAs, and to establish how IHCAs have their effects for different groups of people with chronic illness.

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Telecare implementation guide

The main aim of this guide is to provide a useful resource for commissioners, managers and practitioners in a wide range of statutory and voluntary sector organisations to implement telecare for the benefit of people living in their local communities.

The guide provides supporting information and checklists to be read in conjunction with The Department of Health Guidance 'Building Telecare in England' (July 2005).

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iCarer: AAL for the Informal Carers of the Elderly

In the context of the long-term care for older adults, informal carers play a key role. Daily competing priorities or a care-skills deficit may lead them to stress, anxiety and/or depression. The iCarer project (AAL-2012-5-239) proposes the design and implementation of a cloud-inspired personalised and adaptive platform which will offer support to informal carers of older adults with cognitive impairment. By means of a holistic approach comprising technologies and services addressing the intelligent and interactive monitoring of activities, knowledge management for personalised guidance and orientation, virtual interaction, e-learning, care coordination facilities and social network services, iCarer aims to reduce the informal carer stress and to enhance the quality of care they provide, thus improving their quality of life. The iCarer platform will be evaluated through a multi-centre non-controlled study (4 months; 48 homes located in England and in Slovenia). Currently the iCarer project is completing the development work. The evaluation trial is expected to start in August 2015.

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The electronic, personalizable Rosetta system for dementia care: exploring the user-friendliness, usefulness and impact

Purpose: This research aimed to integrate three previously developed assistive technology (AT) systems into one modular, multifunctional system, which can support people with dementia and carers throughout the course of dementia. In an explorative evaluation study, the integrated system, called Rosetta, was tested on usefulness, user-friendliness and impact, in people with dementia, their informal carers and professional carers involved. The Rosetta system was installed in participants‘ homes in three countries: The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

Methods: Controlled trial with pre- and post-test measures across three countries (randomized controlled trial in Germany; matched groups in the Netherlands and Belgium). Participants completed questionnaires for impact measurement and participated in semi-structured interviews regarding usefulness and user-friendliness of Rosetta.

Results: All participants agreed that Rosetta is a very useful development. They did not rate the user-friendliness of the system highly. No significant effects were found on impact measurements.

Conclusion: All participants found Rosetta a very useful development for future care, and would consider using it. Since Rosetta was still in development during evaluation, a discrepancy between expectations and actual functioning of Rosetta existed, which may explain the lack of findings on the impact of the system and the low appreciation of user-friendliness.

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Mutuality: A key gap in the move to telecare

Telecare is thought to be a solution for the increasing healthcare cost of an aging population. We want to identify possible issues in telecare implementations to inform technology design. By analysing telecare literature using the Locales Framework it was found that there is a gap in telecare technology research in designing awareness or presence (known as the mutuality aspect in the Locales Framework) between the elderly and their informal carers. By designing a technology intervention on existing telecare architecture to address this gap, it is speculated that telecare can reintroduce social contact to the appropriate parties, i.e. family and friends, when professional contact with visiting nurses is replaced by technology.

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Systematic review of respite care in the frail elderly

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of breaks in care in improving the well-being of informal carers of frail and disabled older people living in the community and to identify carer needs and barriers to uptake of respite services.

Data sources: Major electronic databases were searched from the earliest possible date to April 2008.

Review methods: Selected studies were assessed and subjected to extraction of numerical data for meta-analysis of quantitative studies and extraction of text for thematic analysis of qualitative studies. Quality of the studies was assessed using checklists specifically designed for the current review.

Results: In total, 104 papers were identified for inclusion in the quantitative synthesis, 16 of which were appropriate for meta-analysis. Carer burden was reduced at 2-6 months' follow-up in single-sample studies but not in randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies. Depression was reduced in RCTs in the short term and for home care but not for day care. These effects, however, were not significant in random-effects models. There was a trend for longer interventions to have more positive effects than shorter interventions. There was no effect of respite on anxiety, but it had positive effects on morale and anger and hostility. Single-group studies suggested that quality of life was worse after respite use. There were increased rates of institutionalisation after respite use; however, this does not establish a causal relationship as it may be a result of respite being provided late in the caregiving career. A total of 70 papers were identified for inclusion in the qualitative synthesis. Uptake of respite care was influenced by: carer attitudes to caring and respite provision; the caregiving relationship; knowledge of, and availability of, services; the acceptability to, and impact of respite care on, care recipients; hassles resulting from the use of respite care; quality of respite care; and the appropriateness and flexibility of service provision. Carers expressed needs for active information provision about services, support offered early in the caregiving career, access to a variety of services with flexible provision, reliable transport services, continuity of care, good-quality care, appropriate environments, care that provides benefits for care recipients (socialisation and stimulation), and appropriate activities for care recipients' levels of abilities and interests.

Conclusions: There was some evidence to support respite having a positive effect on carers but the evidence was limited and weak. It is difficult, therefore, to make recommendations as to the most appropriate form of delivery of respite, apart from the suggestion that a range of services is probably most appropriate, to provide flexibility of respite provision and responsiveness to carer and care recipient characteristics and needs and also changes in those needs over time. There is a need for further high-quality larger trials that include economic evaluations.

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Experiencing dementia: evaluation of Into Dementia

Background: Most persons with dementia in the Netherlands live at home, where they are cared for by informal carers such as family members or friends, who offer this care unpaid. Their care-task poses a high burden on these informal carers, increasing the risk of health problems and social isolation. Many informal carers indicate they want more information on the behaviour of those they care for.

Aim: To develop and evaluate Into D’mentia, a simulation set in a living kitchen in which visitors experience a day in the life of someone with dementia. During this ‘day’, modern techniques such as sensors and projections, simulate the limitations of having dementia. This intervention is evaluated on usefulness and user friendliness, and on its effect on empathy, attitudes towards dementia, coping, carer burden, person-centered care capabilities and care satisfaction.

Research: Nine informal carers and 23 care professionals took part in the research into the Into D’mentia simulation. Before and after their visit, they filled in several questionnaires, with, among others, their opinion on the usefulness and user friendliness of this experience.

Results: Participants found Into D’mentia a highly useful and user friendly development. They indicated that the simulation offered good insight in the life of someone with dementia, and that they could offer better care thanks to this experience. Participants also indicated that they often thought back on their experiences in the simulation, in order to better understand the behaviour of people with dementia.

Conclusion: Into D’mentia offers a unique, accessible way to experience the limitations dementia has on daily life. Users indicate that it is a useful and user friendly innovation. Into D’mentia appears to be a suitable method to support informal and professional caregivers.

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How do informal caregivers of patients with cancer cope: A descriptive study of the coping strategies employed

Purpose: A trend exists towards moving from the hospital and caring for the patients with cancer at home, which has directed the burden of caring to the family. As a result the numbers of informal caregivers, who assumed the care of their loved ones, has increased rapidly. The aim of the study is to explore the ways that families use to cope with the stressors and hardships of caregiving and expand the knowledge about coping.

Methods: This is a descriptive research design, with the use of a convenience sample of 130 dyads. Consenting patients identified their primary family caregiver who was asked to participate in the study.

Key results: The majority of the caregivers employed emotionally focused ways of coping with the caregiving burden such as: “I was hoping for a miracle” (mean 2.19), “I was hoping that time would change things and simply waited” (mean 2.14) and “I found consolidation in my faith to God” (mean 2.05). Assertive ways of coping such as “I expressed my anger to the patient” (mean 0.78) and “I dared to do something risky” (mean 0.98) were less likely to be used by the caregivers.

Conclusions: Findings are consistent with those of previous research that informal caregivers experience substantial psychological morbidity in the form of depress