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.