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The Tele‐STELLA protocol: Telehealth‐based support for families living with later‐stage Alzheimer's disease

Aims: We aim to establish the feasibility and acceptability of the Tele‐STELLA (Support via Telehealth: Living and Learning with Advancing Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias) intervention. We will also assess the efficacy of the intervention in reducing the frequency of behavioural symptoms of dementia as well as family Care Partner reactivity to the symptoms. Design: This is a multi‐component, quasi‐experimental study that focuses on facilitating effective management of behavioural symptoms that occur in the later stages of dementia. Methods: Family Care Partners (n = 124) for persons with Alzheimer's disease will participate in two 8‐week videoconferencing components that address behavioural symptoms—in both the persons with Alzheimer's disease and their Care Partners. In the first component ('Nova'), Care Partners work with one nurse for an hour/week for 4 weeks, then they join a small group for another 4 weeks. In the second component ('Constellation'), Care Partners work in a larger group to hone skills and knit supportive relationships. Behavioural symptom frequency and Care Partner reactivity to the behaviours will be measured prior to, during and after the intervention. The study is funded by the United States National Institute on Aging (R01AG067546); funding was initiated as on February, 2021. Discussion: Tele‐STELLA fills a gap in current videoconference‐based psychoeducational interventions in that it offers real‐time interaction with nurses and peers. The intervention was designed with feedback by pilot participants. This study will assess Tele‐STELLA in its current, novel format; thus, preparing it for a larger, future randomized controlled trial. Impact: Tele‐STELLA addresses symptoms that occur in the later stages of dementia, providing families with tools to facilitate effective behavioural management. Because Tele‐STELLA is implemented via videoconferencing, it targets Care Partners who face barriers to support, such as cost and transportation. Trial Registration: This trial is registered with (#NCT04627662).

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Journal of Advanced Nursing
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