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Carer involvement in research

The following resources are examples of research where carers have been involved in setting research priorities, [co]designing the study, and/or acting as [co]researcher in data collection, analysis and writing.

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).

Stakeholder Voices: Interpreting Caregiving Research and Designing Next Steps

Background: Stakeholder engagement can enhance interpretation of research findings and promote meaningful dissemination into policy and practice. Methods: Several organizations dedicated to understanding the needs of diverse older adults and family caregivers and advancing practice and policy to improve their health came together in a series of discussions. More than 120 participants, including family/friend caregivers and their advocates and leaders and researchers from public and private organizations, generated an action agenda for those engaged with family caregivers in service delivery, research, and policy across three virtual sessions. Findings: Although there are common experiences and demands for caregivers, the meanings of these experiences are shaped by a cultural context, and the intersectionality of caregiver experiences by age, race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigrant status, and other factors bring into focus the diversity of life and caregiving experience. Conclusions: This heterogeneity of experience crystalizes the importance of assuring the caregiver is at the center, and that design for programs, research, and policy recognize the importance of understanding caregivers and their unique needs before pre-supposing solutions.

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Setting up an advisory group to explore the role of partners of adolescents and young adults in cancer care

Minimal research has been undertaken into needs of partners of adolescents and young adults with cancer. However, it is understood to be important for adolescents and young adults with cancer to maintain a connection with healthy peers and that they regard their loved ones, including partners, as valuable to them during their cancer treatment. Research has also suggested that adolescents and young adults consider that loved ones and partners also need support and that this support is lacking in cancer services. A recent research project by the first author (JD) examined the experience and role of partners in meeting the support needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer. A vital aspect of the project was the use of patient and public involvement in the development of a young adult advisory group – consisting of couples where one person in the relationship had been treated for cancer – to inform all aspects of the research. This article provides a brief summary of the completed research, and describes the development and work of the advisory group.

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Place4Carers: a multi-method participatory study to co-design, piloting, and transferring a novel psycho-social service for engaging family caregivers in remote rural settings

Background: Family caregivers are key actors in the ageing society. They are mediators between practitioners and patients and usually provide also essential daily services for the elders. However, till now, few services have been deployed to help caregivers in their care tasks as in improving their mental health which can experience sever burden due to caregiving duties. Objectives: The purpose of the study is to implement a community-based participatory research project to co-design an innovative organizational model of social services for family caregivers of elderly health consumers living in remote rural areas in Italy. Methods: This is a community-based participatory research project in the remote area of Vallecamonica involving four main phases. These included a quantitative analysis of caregiver needs, a scoping review on existing services for caregivers, co-design workshops with local stakeholders and caregivers to create a novel service the piloting and a first implementation of the service and the assessment of project transferability to other contexts. Results: As the hours dedicated to elder care increases, both objective and developmental caregiver's burden significantly increases. Conversely, higher levels of engagement were associated with lower physical and emotional burden, and caregiver engagement was positively correlated with their perceived self-efficacy in managing disruptive patient behaviours. Based on these preliminary results, four co-design workshops with caregivers were conducted and led to the definition of the SOS caregivers service, built on four pillars structured upon the previous need analysis: a citizens' management board, training courses, peer-to-peer meetings, and project and service information. We found that co-design is an effective means of creating new services for family caregivers, whose experiential knowledge proved to be a key resource for the project team in delivering and managing services. Less positively, the transferability analysis indicated that local municipalities remain reluctant to acknowledge caregivers' pivotal role. Conclusions: A dedicated support service for caregivers can ameliorate caregiving conditions and engagement levels. The service has resulted a successful co-productive initiative for a psycho-social intervention for family caregivers. For the future, we suggest that family caregiver should be considered an active partner in the process of designing novel psycho-social services and not just as recipients to enhance a better aging-in-place process. 

 

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Namaste care delivered by caregivers of community‐dwelling older adults with moderate to advanced dementia: A mixed methods study protocol

Aim: The aim of this study is to adapt and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of a multisensory, psychosocial intervention called Namaste Care delivered by family and friend caregivers of community‐dwelling older adults with moderate to advanced dementia. Design: A multiphase mixed methods design combining quantitative and qualitative methods will be used. Methods: This study is composed of two phases. Phase 1 is guided by a qualitative description approach. Small group workshop sessions with 8–10 caregivers of community‐dwelling older adults with moderate to advanced dementia will be conducted to adapt Namaste Care. In Phase 2, 10–20 caregivers will receive training and implement the adapted Namaste Care approach at home. A one group, before‐after design will be used to evaluate feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of the approach over 3 months. Feasibility will be assessed using quantitative measures and acceptability will be explored using qualitative methods. Outcomes to evaluate preliminary effectiveness include quality of life (QoL), positive perceptions of caregiving, self‐efficacy, and caregiver burden. Discussion: There are currently few skill‐building interventions that can be delivered by caregivers of people with moderate to advanced dementia at home. Caregivers should be involved in developing programs to enhance program relevance. This research will be the first to explore the feasibility of implementing the Namaste Care approach at home by caregivers. Impact: Study results will provide important information about the feasibility and preliminary effects of an adapted form of Namaste Care. This program has the potential to improve the QoL of caregivers and may prevent hospitalization or long‐term care placement of older persons with moderate to advanced dementia. The revised Namaste Care program supports building the skills of caregivers so that their needs and the needs of older persons with dementia living at home are being addressed.

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Making Qualitative Interviews in Music Therapy Research More Accessible for Participants Living With Dementia – Reflections on Development and Implementation of Interview Guidelines

Purpose: This paper reports findings from a project that sought to develop accessible guidelines for including people with dementia in qualitative interviews in a music therapy study, based on experience from people previously involved in qualitative music therapy research. Method: People with previous experience of qualitative music therapy research were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews about how the interview process could be made more accessible. Participants included four family-caregivers and three music therapy-researchers. Interview data were analysed using thematic analysis. Findings were used to develop guidelines for a subsequent study; reflections on the implementation of these guidelines are provided. Results: Five themes were identified: (a) motivators and barriers to participating in interviews; (b) pragmatic elements that impact interview participation; (c) relationship dynamics may impact the interview; (d) familiarity fosters comfort, enables preparation and support and (e) broader considerations for accessible research design. Conclusions: Themes identified align with reports from the extant literature. Reflections on implementation of the guidelines reveal the need for more clarity around the ethics of building rapport in qualitative research. Implications about future uses of the guidelines, including the use of music as a research tool are discussed. 

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Innovative methods for involving people with dementia and carers in the policymaking process

Background: There are few examples of public patient involvement in policymaking for groups whose ability to participate may be affected by a disability, particularly for people with dementia and their family carers. Principles of engagement and inclusion in democratic processes are as important for these groups as other citizens. We used two innovative methods to increase involvement of people with dementia and family carers in the policymaking process in Ireland, specifically in relation to impending legislation on home care. Method: A Policy Café was co‐produced with people with dementia using a World Café methodology. A Carer's Assembly was co‐produced with caregivers of people with dementia using a citizen's assembly model. Results: Ten people with dementia discussed policy developments they wanted to see implemented in relation to diagnosis and home care. Twenty‐eight dementia caregivers prioritized four topics: home care; respite services; psychosocial supports; and financial supports. Film and illustrations were used to create accessible messages for policy‐makers to inform their decision making. Discussion: Involving people with dementia and carers in policy development requires time and creativity to facilitate and maximize their involvement. Co‐production is essential to ensure the priorities of participants are identified, expressed and communicated effectively. A cumulative sequence of events and messages can generate significant engagement with policy‐makers. Policy‐makers need to hear the direct and authentic voice of people with dementia and carers when faced with important policy decisions. Patient or public contribution: People with dementia and carers were involved in study design, data analysis and presentation.

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Improving the depth of data quality or increasing confusion? Reflections on a data analysis involving members of a self‐help group for relatives of people living with dementia

Background: Public involvement in research to improve data quality and to empower different stakeholders is good scientific practice, but rarely implemented across all research phases. Objective: This article reports on an attempt to involve members of a self‐help group for relatives of people living with dementia as co‐researchers in the data analysis in a short‐term format. Methods: One researcher identified statements about assistive technologies from 17 interviews with people living with dementia and informal caregivers. Two researchers and six co‐researchers independently assigned pre‐defined values to these statements. Subsequently, we compared the values of the researchers and co‐researchers. Results: The members of the self‐help group identified four original values not considered by the researchers: consent, inclusion, participation and respect. Discussion: The involvement of co‐researchers led to an improvement in the depth of data quality through the joint identification of values concerning assistive technology. Language barriers between researchers, co‐researchers and interview participants impeded the data analysis. Conclusion: The challenges and benefits of a participatory data analysis shown here can provide a basis for recommendations for target group‐specific research involvement. Our recommendations relate to the recruitment of co‐researchers, requirements for conducting a participatory data analysis and the participation degree of people involved. Patient or Public Contribution: The group of co‐researchers participating in the data analysis consisted of relatives of people living with dementia.

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The Impact of COVID-19 Quarantine on Patients With Dementia and Family Caregivers: A Nation-Wide Survey

Background: Previous studies showed that quarantine for pandemic diseases is associated with several psychological and medical effects. The consequences of quarantine for COVID-19 pandemic in patients with dementia are unknown. We investigated the clinical changes in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and evaluated caregivers’ distress during COVID-19 quarantine. Methods: The study involved 87 Italian Dementia Centers. Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), and Vascular Dementia (VD) were eligible for the study. Family caregivers of patients with dementia were interviewed by phone in April 2020, 45 days after quarantine declaration. Main outcomes were patients’ changes in cognitive, behavioral, and motor symptoms. Secondary outcomes were effects on caregivers’ psychological features. Results: 4913 patients (2934 females, 1979 males) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Caregivers reported a worsening in cognitive functions in 55.1% of patients, mainly in subjects with DLB and AD. Aggravation of behavioral symptoms was observed in 51.9% of patients. In logistic regression analysis, previous physical independence was associated with both cognitive and behavioral worsening (odds ratio 1.85 [95% CI 1.42-2.39], 1.84 [1.43-2.38], respectively). On the contrary, pandemic awareness was a protective factor for the worsening of cognitive and behavioral symptoms (odds ratio 0.74 [0.65-0.85]; and 0.72 [0.63-0.82], respectively). Approximately 25.9% of patients showed the onset of new behavioral symptoms. A worsening in motor function was reported by 36.7% of patients. Finally, caregivers reported a high increase in anxiety, depression, and distress. Conclusions: Our study shows that quarantine for COVID-19 is associated with an acute worsening of clinical symptoms in patients with dementia as well as increase of caregivers’ burden. Our findings emphasize the importance to implement new strategies to mitigate the effects of quarantine in patients with dementia.

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“It’s Like Juggling, Constantly Trying to Keep All Balls in the Air”: A Qualitative Study of the Support Needs of Working Caregivers Taking Care of Older Adults

Background: Many informal caregivers of older adults combine their caregiving tasks with a paid job. Adequate support is important to enable them to combine paid work with caregiving, while maintaining their health and wellbeing. To date, however, knowledge about working caregivers’ support needs is fragmented. This study, therefore, aimed to obtain more insight into the support needs of working caregivers of older adults. Methods: We conducted six online semi-structured focus group interviews with in total 25 working caregivers of older adults living at home. Data were complemented with information from seven working caregivers participating in the study’s advisory board. Data were analyzed using inductive and deductive thematic analysis. Findings: Six themes related to working caregivers’ needs were identified: (1) Recognition of caregivers, including the challenges they face; (2) Attention for caregivers’ health, wellbeing and ability to cope; (3) Opportunities to share care responsibilities; (4) Help with finding and arranging care and support; (5) Understanding and support from the work environment; (6) Technological support tailored to the needs and capacities of caregivers and older adults. To address these needs, working caregivers suggested several options in multiple domains of life (i.e., work, home and social life, care environment, personal health and wellbeing). Conclusions: To successfully support them, a multi-faceted effort, involving actors from multiple settings, is needed.

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eTRIO trial: study protocol of a randomised controlled trial of online education modules to facilitate effective family caregiver involvement in oncology

Background: Informal family caregivers play a crucial role in cancer care. Effective caregiver involvement in cancer care can improve both patient and caregiver outcomes. Despite this, interventions improving the caregiver involvement are sparse. This protocol describes a randomised controlled trial evaluating the combined effectiveness of novel online caregiver communication education modules for: (1) oncology clinicians (eTRIO) and (2) patients with cancer and caregivers (eTRIO-pc). Methods and analysis: Thirty medical/radiation/surgical oncology or haematology doctors and nurses will be randomly allocated to either intervention (eTRIO) or control (an Australian State Government Health website on caregivers) education conditions. Following completion of education, each clinician will recruit nine patient–caregiver pairs, who will be allocated to the same condition as their recruiting clinician. Eligibility includes any new adult patient diagnosed with any type/stage cancer attending consultations with a caregiver. Approximately 270 patient–caregiver pairs will be recruited. The primary outcome is caregiver self-efficacy in triadic (clinician–patient–caregiver) communication. Patient and clinician self-efficacy in triadic communication are secondary outcomes. Additional secondary outcomes for clinicians include preferences for caregiver involvement, perceived module usability/acceptability, analysis of module use, satisfaction with the module, knowledge of strategies and feedback interviews. Secondary outcomes for caregivers and patients include preferences for caregiver involvement, satisfaction with clinician communication, distress, quality of life, healthcare expenditure, perceived module usability/acceptability and analysis of module use. A subset of patients and caregivers will complete feedback interviews. Secondary outcomes for caregivers include preparedness for caregiving, patient–caregiver communication and caring experience. Assessments will be conducted at baseline, and 1 week, 12 weeks and 26 weeks post-intervention. Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval has been received by the Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee (REGIS project ID number: 2019/PID09787), with site-specific approval from each recruitment site. Protocol V.7 (dated 1 September 2020) is currently approved and reported in this manuscript. Findings will be disseminated via presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Engagement with clinicians, media, government, consumers and peak cancer groups will facilitate widespread dissemination and long-term availability of the educational modules.Trial registration numberACTRN12619001507178.

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I heard it on the radio: supporting Pacific family carers through the development of culturally appropriate resources, a descriptive qualitative study

Background: New public health approaches to palliative care highlight the role of communities in care, yet there is little evidence of studies on community-led initiatives in the palliative care context. Objectives: Therefore, the aim of this study, which took place in Auckland, New Zealand, was to (1) explore Pacific family carers' views on what they need to feel supported as they care for older family members at the end of life and (2) to devise a resource that reflects their views that may be used to raise community awareness about these needs. Methods: This was achieved using a Participatory Action Research (PAR) framework in which a focus group was carried out and a work group formed to implement the focus group's recommendations that were informed by a thematic analysis of the focus group data. Findings: The analysis resulted in the foregrounding of four themes, with the focus of this paper being on the 4th theme, the centrality of spirituality for a group of Pacific caregivers. This emphasis was chosen due to it being an underexplored topic in the palliative care literature. Co-creating resources based on research with community members allows for the development of tailored approaches of significance to that community, in this instance, a music video.

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Finding harmony within dissonance: Engaging patients, family/caregivers and service providers in research to fundamentally restructure relationships through integrative dynamics

Background: Deeply divided ideological positions challenge collaboration when engaging youth with mental disorders, caregivers and providers in mental health research. The integrative dynamics (ID) approach can restructure relationships and overcome 'us vs them' thinking. Objective: To assess the extent to which an experience‐based co‐design (EBCD) approach to patient and family engagement in mental health research aligned with ID processes. Methods: A retrospective case study of EBCD data in which transitional‐aged youth (n = 12), caregivers (n = 8) and providers (n = 10) co‐designed prototypes to improve transitions from child to adult services. Transcripts from focus groups and a co‐design event, co‐designed prototypes, the resulting model, evaluation interviews and author reflections were coded deductively based on core ID concepts, while allowing for emergent themes. Analysis was based on pattern matching. Triangulation across data sources, research team, and youth and caregiver reflections enhanced rigour. Findings: The EBCD focus group discussions of touchpoints in experiences aligned with ID processes of acknowledging the past, by revealing the perceived identity mythos of each group, and allowing expression of and working through emotional pain. These ID processes were briefly revisited in the co‐design event, where the focus was on the remaining ID processes: building cross‐cutting connections and reconfiguring relationships. The staged EBCD approach may facilitate ID, by working within one's own perspective prior to all perspectives working together in co‐design. Conclusion: Researchers can augment patient engagement approaches by applying ID principles with staged integration of groups to improve relations in mental health systems, and EBCD shows promise to operationalize this.

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Expanding enhanced recovery protocols for cardiac surgery to include the patient voice: a scoping review protocol

Background: Cardiac surgery is becoming increasingly common in older, more vulnerable adults. A focus on timely and complete medical and functional recovery has led to the development of enhanced recovery protocols (ERPs) for a number of surgical procedures and subspecialties, including cardiac surgery (ERAS® Cardiac). An element that is often overlooked in the development and implementation of ERPs is the involvement of key stakeholder groups, including surgery patients and caregivers (e.g., family and/or friends). The aim of this study is to describe a protocol for a scoping review of cardiac patient and caregiver preferences and outcomes relevant to cardiac surgery ERPs. Methods: Using Arksey and O’Malley’s et al six-stage framework for scoping review methodologies with adaptions from Levac et al. (Represent Interv: 1–18, 2012), a scoping review of existing literature describing patient- and caregiver-identified preferences and outcomes as they relate to care received in the perioperative period of cardiac surgery will be undertaken. The search for relevant articles will be conducted using electronic databases (i.e., the Cochrane Library, Medline, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Embase), as well as through a search of the grey literature (e.g., CPG Infobase, Heart and Stroke Foundation, ProQuest Theses and Dissertations, Google Advanced, and Prospero). Published and unpublished full-text articles written in English, published after the year 2000, and that relate to the research question will be included. Central to the design of this scoping review is our collaboration with two patient partners who possess lived experience as cardiac surgery patients. Discussion: This review will identify strategies that can be integrated into ERPs for cardiac surgery which align with patient- and caregiver-defined values. Broadly, it is our goal to demonstrate the added value of patient engagement in research to aid in the success of system change processes.

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Evaluating the effectiveness of the Family Connections program for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges, part II: A qualitative analysis

Background: The Family Connections™ (FC) program is a 12‐week support and skill‐training program for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges. The intervention was originally developed with a focus on borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is important to understand the experiences of caregivers in such interventions, as well as its applicability beyond BPD, for the purposes of evaluation and ongoing program improvement. Objective: To explore and analyse the experiences of caregivers of youth with diverse mental health challenges and who participated in FC. Design: Semi‐structured interviews with thirteen FC‐participating caregivers of youth with mental health challenges. Results: Thematic analysis uncovered three major themes regarding caregivers' experience with FC: (a) FC increased the caregivers' ability to manage their youth's mental health challenges; (b) participating in FC impacted their intra‐ and interpersonal spheres; and (c) improvements to the program were proposed. Following participation in FC, caregivers felt they learned a new approach to understanding themselves, their youth and mental health, and were better able to manage their youth's mental health challenges. Discussion and conclusion: FC is a promising intervention for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges, beyond the traditional BPD focus. The intervention has the potential to provide broad‐based benefits for caregivers and should be considered for implementation and scale‐up across youth‐ and caregiver‐serving organizations. Potential areas of intervention flexibility and improvement are discussed. Patient/public contribution: Caregivers were involved in the program development and facilitation of FC. A person with lived experience was involved with the analysis.

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Evaluating the effectiveness of the Family Connections program for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges, part I: A quantitative analysis

Introduction: Caregivers of youth with mental health (MH) challenges are often faced with complex problems in relation to caring for their youth. Family Connections™ (FC) is a 12‐week skills training program for families of individuals with MH challenges, developed originally for Borderline Personality Disorder. Research is needed to examine the effectiveness of FC for caregivers of youth with diverse MH challenges. Objective: To examine the effectiveness of FC for caregivers of youth with MH challenges. Methods: A total of 94 caregivers of youth with MH challenges participated in FC, across three sites in Ontario, Canada. Assessments occurred at baseline, 6 weeks, 12 weeks and follow‐up. Primary outcomes include the Burden Assessment Scale and The Stress Index for Parents of Adolescents. Secondary outcomes included the caregiver's report of child behaviour, affect, mastery, coping and grief. Linear mixed model analyses were conducted, where time and the time × site interaction were defined as the fixed effects. Results: Statistically significant improvements over time were observed across outcome measures, including caregiver burden, grief, coping, and other measures. The time × site interaction was only significant for burden (P = .005). Conclusion: This study demonstrates the effectiveness of FC for caregivers of youth with MH challenges. Future research should focus on differences across geographical sites and facilitation models. Patient or public contribution: Caregivers were involved in the facilitation of FC. A person with lived experience was involved in analysing the data, reporting the results, and drafting the manuscript.

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Evaluating service user & carer experience of videoconferencing software during COVID-19 pandemic

Aims: To evaluate service user and carer experience of use of videoconferencing software (Microsoft Teams) during MDT meetings. To identify specific areas for improvement. To make changes based on these recommendations. Method: 2 surveys were distributed to inpatients and their carers on a functional Older Adults inpatient ward (n = 21), including quantitative and qualitiative questions. The results from these were compiled, and on review, mutliple recommendations for improvement were made. Result: 90% of service users find it helpful to have family present over video conferencing software during their MDT meetings, and 91% of carers feel involved and able to contribute when they do join in this way. 81% of carers have the technology available at home to use such software, but only 55% of them feel confident using it. 73% need more information on its use. 60% of carers referenced poor staff skills with software as a barrier to its use, and 60% referenced poor organisation of meetings. 2 service users raised issue with the size of a small laptop screen not allowing them to see who was actually present over MS Teams, although none were concerned with issues around confidentiality and the use of such softwareSeveral service users, carers and members of community teams identified poor sound quality as an issue, both when joining over the software, and when present in the room. Conclusion: Widespread use of videoconferencing software such as MS Teams is likely to continue beyond the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through discussion with the ward team, the IT department, the training department, and the local council, multiple changes were made to the service, as below. These form a recommended list of areas for improvement in other services. Availability of videoconferencing equipment (in addition to laptop), dedicated videoconferencing microphone/speaker to improve sound quality, display screen, webcam, organisation of meetings, designating a chairperson to admit and introduce all participants, designating a meeting organiser to invite all necessary participants, staff skills, local audit of staff familiarity with software, introduction of mandatory training for staff on use of software, carer skills & access to equipment, information and support available from well-trained staf, liaison with other organisations including council and third sector about availablity of equipment loans and training for carers

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Enhancing shared and surrogate decision making for people living with dementia: A systematic review of the effectiveness of interventions

Background: Dementia can have a profound impact on decision making. People living with dementia (PLwD) often need to make decisions about health care, and, as dementia progresses, decisions may need to be made on their behalf. Specific interventions may support this process. Review Question: What interventions are effective in improving shared decision making or surrogate decision making on the health care of PLwD? Methods: A narrative systematic review of existing literature was conducted. Seven databases, grey literature and key journals were searched. After exclusion by title, abstracts then full texts were reviewed collaboratively to manage any disagreements. Results: Eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Two articles, including one RCT, evaluated decision aids regarding the use of enteral feeding in advanced dementia. Six further articles, including five RCTs, were found which evaluated the effectiveness of interventions supporting patients or carers with advance care planning. Conclusion: Decision‐making interventions typically consist of multiple components which aim to establish preferences for future health care. Advance care planning interventions supported aspects of the decision‐making processes but their impact on decision quality was rarely evaluated. Interventions did not increase the concordance of decisions with a person's values. The decision‐specific interventions are unlikely to produce benefit in other decision contexts. Patient Involvement: Two caregivers, a public stakeholder group and a carer group were consulted in the design of the wider study to which this review relates. Six PLwD refined the research questions addressed in this paper.

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Engaging family caregivers and health system partners in exploring how multi-level contexts in primary care practices affect case management functions and outcomes of patients and family caregivers at end of life: a realist synthesis

Background: An upstream approach to palliative care in the last 12 months of life delivered by primary care practices is often referred to as Primary Palliative Care (PPC). Implementing case management functions can support delivery of PPC and help patients and their families navigate health, social and fiscal environments that become more complex at end-of-life.  A realist synthesis was conducted to understand how multi-level contexts affect case management functions related to initiating end-of-life conversations, assessing patient and caregiver needs, and patient/family centred planning in primary care practices to improve outcomes. The synthesis also explored how these functions aligned with critical community resources identified by patients/families dealing with end-of-life. Methods: A realist synthesis is theory driven and iterative, involving the investigation of proposed program theories of how particular contexts catalyze mechanisms (program resources and individual reactions to resources) to generate improved outcomes. To assess whether program theories were supported and plausible, two librarian-assisted and several researcher-initiated purposive searches of the literature were conducted, then extracted data were analyzed and synthesized. To assess relevancy, health system partners and family advisors informed the review process. Results: Twenty-eight articles were identified as being relevant and evidence was consolidated into two final program theories: 1) Making end-of-life discussions comfortable, and 2) Creating plans that reflect needs and values. Theories were explored in depth to assess the effect of multi-level contexts on primary care practices implementing tools or frameworks, strategies for improving end-of-life communications, or facilitators that could improve advance care planning by primary care practitioners. Conclusions: Primary care practitioners’ use of tools to assess patients/families’ needs facilitated discussions and planning for end-of-life issues without specifically discussing death. Also, receiving training on how to better communicate increased practitioner confidence for initiating end-of-life discussions. Practitioner attitudes toward death and prior education or training in end-of-life care affected their ability to initiate end-of-life conversations and plan with patients/families. Recognizing and seizing opportunities when patients are aware of the need to plan for their end-of-life care, such as in contexts when patients experience transitions can increase readiness for end-of-life discussions and planning. Ultimately conversations and planning can improve patients/families’ outcomes.

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Engaging carers in co-design: Development of the carer readiness tool

Introduction: The Carer Support Unit (CSU) of the Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD), NSW, Australia, developed, trialled and implemented a Carer Readiness Tool (CRT) to help carers gauge their readiness to care at home, highlight to hospital staff areas for additional support for carers, and provide evidence of carer engagement in discharge planning. Methods: A rigorous co-design process was followed with carer consultation at key milestones in development of the CRT. The tool was piloted in two cancer/chronic renal disease inpatient units commencing November 2019. Results: The CRT was well-received by carers who appreciated the opportunity to complete the tool in their own time, not in front of the patient. Positive feedback was received from clinicians, including the breadth of the CRT’s content which contributed to better discharge planning. The need to manually incorporate a hard copy form into the electronic medical record is a limitation of the CRT. Conclusion: The CRT is context-specific and fit for purpose. During the development of the CRT, the project team focused on the face validity and usefulness of the tool. The next stage of the project will be formal evaluation of the tool to measure its impact. 

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Development of a Decision Aid for Patients and Families Considering Hospice

Background: Hospice is underutilized. Miscommunication, decisional complexity, and misunderstanding around engaging hospice may contribute. Shared decision making (SDM), aided by patient decision aids (PtDAs), can improve knowledge and decision quality. Currently, there are no freely available hospice-specific PtDA to facilitate conversions between patients and providers about hospice care. Objective: To develop a theory-based and unbiased hospice specific PtDA. Design: Guided by the Ottawa Decision Support Framework and International Patient Decision Aid Standards, we used a theory-driven, eight-step, iterative, user-centered approach with multistakeholder input to develop a hospice-specific PtDA for anyone facing end-of-life decisions. Subjects: Feedback was obtained from a 10-member Patient Advisory Panel composed of lay patient advisors; focus groups of hospice providers, family caregivers, and patients; and the Palliative Care Research Group at University of Colorado Hospital consisting of palliative care physicians, midlevel providers, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and researchers. Results: There are many challenges in developing an unbiased hospice decision aid, including (1) balancing the provision of education (eligibility, payment) with decisional support, (2) clarifying values and incorporating emotion, (3) ideally representing the potential downsides of hospice, and (4) adequately capturing and describing care alternatives to hospice. Within this context, we developed a 12-page article and 17-minute video PtDAs. The PtDA openly acknowledges the emotional complexity of the decision and incorporates values clarification techniques to help decision makers reflect and evaluate their goals and preferences for end-of-life care. Conclusions: Hospice decision making is complex and emotional, demanding high-quality SDM aided by a formal PtDA. This work resulted in a freely available article and video PtDA for patients considering hospice. The effectiveness and implementation of these tools will be studied in future research. Clinical Trials Registration: (NCT03794700 & NCT04458090).

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Developing person‐centred care competencies for the healthcare workforce to support family caregivers: Caregiver centred care

Background: Family caregivers (FCGs) are an integral part of the healthcare system. Currently, FCGs provide 70%–90% of the care required by community‐dwelling children and adults living with complex chronic conditions and frailty. Despite FCG's contributions and the growing proportion of distressed caregivers, support for FCGs has not been a health system priority. Researchers have proposed training to enhance the competencies of health providers to work effectively with FCGs. In the absence of best practices for the competency indicators for caregiver‐centred care, we have developed a competency framework for training the health workforce to support FCGs. Objectives: The objectives in this paper are fourfold: (a) a brief review of stakeholder engagement that led to the development of the competencies the health workforce needs to support FCGs, (b) a description of the process used to name the competency domains, (c) a report on the Modified Delphi process (conducted 2019) used to validate the domain indicators, and (d) a description of the competency framework. Methods: We adopted a caregiver and a multilevel interdisciplinary stakeholder codesign approach throughout the competency development process. The competency domains include: (a) Recognising the Caregiver Role, (b) Communicating with FCGs, (c) Partnering with FCGs, (d) Fostering Resilience in FCGs, (e) Navigating Health and Social Systems and Accessing Resources, and, (f) Enhancing the Culture and Context of Healthcare. Our Caregiver‐Centred Care Competencies for the health workforce are only a first step in supporting FCGs in their vital roles. Conclusions: There are few education and training resources to enable and empower health providers to support FCGs, there is an urgent need to develop training resources for the health workforce to recognise and support FCGs.

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Developing a patient safety guide for primary care: A co‐design approach involving patients, carers and clinicians

Background: Patients and carers should be actively involved in patient safety and empowered to use person‐centred approaches where they are asked to both identify safety concerns and partner in preventing them. Objectives: The aim of this study was to co‐design a patient safety guide for primary care (PSG‐PC) to support patients and carers to address key patient safety questions and identify key points where they can make their care safer. The objectives were to i) identify when and how patients and carers can be involved in primary care patient safety, and ii) identify the relevant information to include in the PSG‐PC. Design: An experience‐based co‐design approach. Setting and Participants: We conducted three workshops with patients, carers, community pharmacists and general practitioners to develop and refine the PSG‐PC. Results: Participants identified both explicit and implicit issues of primary care patient safety especially relating to technical and relational components of involving patients and carers. The importance of communication, understanding roles and responsibilities, and developing partnerships between patients and health‐care providers were considered essential for actively involving patients in patient safety. Co‐developing the PSG‐PC provided insight to improve care to develop the PSG‐PC. Discussion: The PSG‐PC is the first guide to be developed for primary care, co‐designed with patients, carers, general practitioners and pharmacists. The PSG‐PC will support patients and carers to partner with health‐care professionals to improve patient safety addressing international and national priorities to continuously improve patient safety.

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Design and Evaluation of a Novel Mobile Phone Application to Improve Palliative Home-Care in Resource-Limited Settings

Context: Mobile health (mHealth) provides an opportunity to use internet coverage in low- and middle-income countries to improve palliative care access and quality. Objectives: This study aimed to design a mobile phone application (app) to enable or improve communication between family caregivers, community caregivers, and palliative care teams; to evaluate its acceptability, processes, and mechanisms of action; and to propose refinements. Methods: A codesign process entailed collaboration between a Project Advisory Group and collaborators in India, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. We then trained community and family caregivers to use an app to communicate patient-reported outcomes to their palliative care providers each week on a data dashboard. App activity was monitored, and qualitative in-depth interviews explored experience with the app and its mechanisms and impact. Results N = 149 caregivers participated and uploaded n = 837 assessments of patient-reported outcomes. These data were displayed to the palliative care team on an outcomes dashboard on n = 355 occasions. Results: Qualitative data identified: 1) high acceptability and data usage; 2) improved understanding by team members of patient symptoms and concerns; 3) a need for better feedback to caregivers, for better prioritisation of patients according to need, for enhanced training and support to use the app, and for user-led recommendations for ongoing improvement. Conclusion: An outcomes-focused app and data dashboard are acceptable to caregivers and health-care professionals. They are beneficial in identifying, monitoring, and communicating patient outcomes and in allocating staff resource to those most in need.

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Decision Making When Cancer Becomes Chronic: Needs Assessment for a Web-Based Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Patient Decision Aid

Background: In cancers with a chronic phase, patients and family caregivers face difficult decisions such as whether to start a novel therapy, whether to enroll in a clinical trial, and when to stop treatment. These decisions are complex, require an understanding of uncertainty, and necessitate the consideration of patients’ informed preferences. For some cancers, such as medullary thyroid carcinoma, these decisions may also involve significant out-of-pocket costs and effects on family members. Providers have expressed a need for web-based interventions that can be delivered between consultations to provide education and prepare patients and families to discuss these decisions. To ensure that these tools are effective, usable, and understandable, studies are needed to identify patients’, families’, and providers’ decision-making needs and optimal design strategies for a web-based patient decision aid. Objective: Following the international guidelines for the development of a web-based patient decision aid, the objectives of this study are to engage potential users to guide development; review the existing literature and available tools; assess users’ decision-making experiences, needs, and design recommendations; and identify shared decision-making approaches to address each need. Methods: This study used the decisional needs assessment approach, which included creating a stakeholder advisory panel, mapping decision pathways, conducting an environmental scan of existing materials, and administering a decisional needs assessment questionnaire. Thematic analyses identified current decision-making pathways, unmet decision-making needs, and decision support strategies for meeting each need. Results: The stakeholders reported wide heterogeneity in decision timing and pathways. Relevant existing materials included 2 systematic reviews, 9 additional papers, and multiple educational websites, but none of these met the criteria for a patient decision aid. Patients and family members (n=54) emphasized the need for plain language (46/54, 85%), shared decision making (45/54, 83%), and help with family discussions (39/54, 72%). Additional needs included information about uncertainty, lived experience, and costs. Providers (n=10) reported needing interventions that address misinformation (9/10, 90%), foster realistic expectations (9/10, 90%), and address mistrust in clinical trials (5/10, 50%). Additional needs included provider tools that support shared decision making. Both groups recommended designing a web-based patient decision aid that can be tailored to (64/64, 100%) and delivered on a hospital website (53/64, 83%), focuses on quality of life (45/64, 70%), and provides step-by-step guidance (43/64, 67%). The study team identified best practices to meet each need, which are presented in the proposed decision support design guide. Conclusions: Patients, families, and providers report multifaceted decision support needs during the chronic phase of cancer. Web-based patient decision aids that provide tailored support over time and explicitly address uncertainty, quality of life, realistic expectations, and effects on families are needed.

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A decision aid to support family carers of people living with dementia towards the end-of-life: Coproduction process, outcome and reflections

Background: Family carers of people living with dementia often need support with making decisions about care. Many find end-of-life care decisions particularly difficult. The aim of this article is to present an evidence- and theoretical-based process for developing a decision aid to support family carers of people with dementia towards the end-of-life. Methods: Following a systematic process, we developed a decision aid using coproduction methods and matrices to synthesize data from a systematic review and qualitative interviews with people living with dementia and family carers. Data were presented to coproduction workshops of people living with dementia, family carers, practitioners and professionals. Development was guided by the Ottawa Decision Support Framework and a modified Interprofessional Shared Decision-Making model. Results: The decision aid covers four decision areas: (1) changes in care; (2) eating and drinking difficulties; (3) everyday well-being; and (4) healthcare, tests and medication. We present an interactive decision aid, using a variety of approaches including written text, Frequently Asked Questions, top tips and illustrative quotes from people living with dementia and family carers. Conclusion: This is the first decision aid that focusses on multiple decisions towards the end-of-life in dementia care. The process offers a template for others to develop decision aids or similar interventions, and how to include people living with dementia in coproduction. Patient or Public Contribution: Family carers provided feedback on data collection, data analysis and the decision aid, and one is a coauthor. People living with dementia and family carers were integral to the coproduction workshops. 

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Constructing a new role for family carers and volunteers providing care towards the end of life: an action research approach exploring a new model of hospice care

Objective: The objective of this study was to understand the conceptualisation and development of a novel way of providing end‐of‐life care in a Cottage Hospice setting, with a focus on the role of family carers and volunteers within this care model. Methods: A participatory action research design enabled a situational analysis, together with change processes. The study setting was a hospice in the South of England, and its network of wider associates in the local health economy. Participants were purposively sampled to provide relevant information. Data collection (2017–2018) included documents (e.g., meeting minutes) and interviews (individual and group) with external (e.g., GPs) and internal (e.g., staff, managers, volunteers, patients, family carers) stakeholders. These were followed by action cycles conducted by a core action group which explored issues related to family and young carers, the relationship between the main and Cottage Hospices and workforce engagement with the change process. Iterative, inductive, thematic analysis was followed by axial coding facilitated within NVivo. Twenty‐six individual and eight follow‐up interviews, two group interviews and five discrete action cycles were completed. Findings: At the core was a focus on disruption of the norm of professionally provided and mediated care, with three main themes: imagining the future of Cottage Hospice (growing demand, a home‐like space, innovative roles for families and volunteers); developing the role of family caregivers (making agreements, meeting needs, social inclusion and the 'unknown' expectations) and quality and safety issues (negative perceptions, personalised care and volunteer roles). Change was viewed as both a threat and an opportunity. Cottage Hospice represents the possibility of a truly new way of meeting the needs of dying people and their families, and could act as a template for progressive service developments elsewhere. 

 

 

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Communication of Pharmacogenomic test results and treatment plans in pediatric oncology: deliberative stakeholder consultations with parents

Background: Effective communication in support of clinical decision-making is central to the pediatric cancer care experience for families. A new laboratory derived pharmacogenetic test (LDT) that can diagnose difficult-to-treat brain cancers has been developed to stratify children based on their ability to respond to available treatment; however, the potential implementation of the LDT may make effective communication challenging since it can potentially remove the option for curative treatment in those children identified as non-responders, i.e. those with a catastrophic diagnosis. Objective: We solicited the perspectives of parents of children with difficult-to-treat brain cancer on communication preferences surrounding the potential implementation of the LDT in standard care using deliberative stakeholder consultations. Methods: Eight bereaved parents of children who succumbed to difficult-to-treat brain cancer, and four parents of children currently undergoing treatment for similar cancers attended separate small-group deliberative consultations – a stakeholder engagement method that enables the co-creation of recommendations following the consideration of competing arguments and diverse opinions of parents with different experiences. In the small-group consultations (Phase I), parents discussed four questions about potential communication issues that may arise with the LDT in practice. In Phase II, a total of five parents from both stakeholder groups (4 bereaved and 1 in current treatment) attended a consultation, known as the 'mixed' consultation, with the purpose of co-developing concrete recommendations for implementation of the LDT. Results: Explaining the risks, benefits, and accuracy of the LDT were considered essential to parents. Once an LDT-based diagnosis/prognosis can be made, parents valued honesty, empathy, and clarity in communication. Parents also requested that all results and treatment options be presented to them in measured doses, and in an unbiased manner over the course of several meetings. This communication strategy allowed sufficient time to understand and accept the diagnosis/prognosis, particularly if it was catastrophic. Continuous access to the appropriate psychological and social support or counselling at and post-diagnosis was also strongly recommended. Conclusions: Deliberants co-created family-centered recommendations surrounding communication issues of the LDT, providing guidance to pediatric oncologists that could implement the test in practice.

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Co-designing a dashboard of predictive analytics and decision support to drive care quality and client outcomes in aged care: a mixed-method study protocol

Introduction: There is a clear need for improved care quality and quality monitoring in aged care. Aged care providers collect an abundance of data, yet rarely are these data integrated and transformed in real-time into actionable information to support evidence-based care, nor are they shared with older people and informal caregivers. This protocol describes the co-design and testing of a dashboard in residential aged care facilities (nursing or care homes) and community-based aged care settings (formal care provided at home or in the community). The dashboard will comprise integrated data to provide an ‘at-a-glance’ overview of aged care clients, indicators to identify clients at risk of fall-related hospitalisations and poor quality of life, and evidence-based decision support to minimise these risks. Longer term plans for dashboard implementation and evaluation are also outlined. Methods: This mixed-method study will involve (1) co-designing dashboard features with aged care staff, clients, informal caregivers and general practitioners (GPs), (2) integrating aged care data silos and developing risk models, and (3) testing dashboard prototypes with users. The dashboard features will be informed by direct observations of routine work, interviews, focus groups and co-design groups with users, and a community forum. Multivariable discrete time survival models will be used to develop risk indicators, using predictors from linked historical aged care and hospital data. Dashboard prototype testing will comprise interviews, focus groups and walk-through scenarios using a think-aloud approach with staff members, clients and informal caregivers, and a GP workshop. Ethics and dissemination: This study has received ethical approval from the New South Wales (NSW) Population & Health Services Research Ethics Committee and Macquarie University’s Human Research Ethics Committee. The research findings will be presented to the aged care provider who will share results with staff members, clients, residents and informal caregivers. Findings will be disseminated as peer-reviewed journal articles, policy briefs and conference presentations.

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Co-design and development of online video resources about immunotherapy with patients and their family

Background: Patients receiving novel treatments like immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy (ICI or immunotherapy) to treat their cancer require comprehensive information so they know what to expect and to encourage the identification and reporting of possible side-effects. Videos using patient stories can be reassuring and an effective method for conveying health information. Objective: The objective of this study was to use a co-design process to develop video resources about immunotherapy to identify a) the key informational and supportive care needs of patients and family carers and b) topics clinicians recommended be addressed during pre-treatment nurse-led education. Patient involvement: Experience Based Co-design (EBCD) provided the framework for video development, to facilitate patient and carer involvement in every stage of research design and implementation, and video design and development. Methods: Data were collected and used in four stages: 1) qualitative interviews, 2) co-design workshop, 3) filming plan and 4) feedback and editing. Results: Thirty-five individuals contributed to the development of a suite of five videos called “Immunotherapy: What to Expect”. Videos covered general treatment information, preparation for infusion, potential side-effects, balancing lifestyle with treatment and seeking support. Video run time ranges from 6 to 15 min. Discussion: The EBCD process ensured that videos were developed to meet patient and carer identified needs associated with commencing and managing ICI therapy. The structure of EBCD in facilitating patient and carer involvement throughout the research and video development process ensured transparency throughout the project, and continuity of message, scope and outcomes. Practical Value: EBCD is a useful framework for developing patient-centred health resources. The videos developed are now available for patients and carers via YouTube, and provide education and support tailored to this groups’ needs regarding ICI therapy for cancer.

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Adapting a guided low-intensity behavioural activation intervention for people with dementia and depression in the Swedish healthcare context (INVOLVERA): a study protocol using codesign and participatory action research

Introduction: Dementia is a worldwide health concern with incident rates continuing to increase. While depression prevalence is high in people with dementia and psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are effective, access to psychological interventions remains limited. Reliance on traditional CBT for people with dementia and depression may present difficulties given it is a complex psychological approach, costly to deliver, and professional training time is lengthy. An alternative approach is behavioural activation (BA), a simpler psychological intervention for depression. The present study seeks to work with people with dementia, informal caregivers, community stakeholders, and healthcare professionals, to adapt a guided low-intensity BA intervention for people with dementia and depression, while maximising implementation potential within the Swedish healthcare context. Methods and analysis: A mixed methods study using codesign, principles from participatory action research (PAR) and normalisation process theory to facilitate the cultural relevance, appropriateness and implementation potential of the intervention. The study will consist of four iterative PAR phases, using focus groups with healthcare professionals and community stakeholders, and semi-structured interviews with people with dementia and informal caregivers. A content analysis approach will be adopted to analyse the transcribed focus groups and semi-structured interviews recordings. Ethics and dissemination: The study will be conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and data handled according to General Data Protection Regulation. Written informed consent will be obtained from all study participants. In accordance with the Swedish Health and Medical Services Act, capacity to consent will be examined by a member of the research team. Ethical approval has been obtained from the Swedish Ethical Review Authority (Dnr: 2020-05542 and Dnr: 2021-00925). Findings will be published in an open access peer-reviewed journal, presented at academic conferences, and disseminated among lay and healthcare professional audiences.

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Activating Patients and Families to Improve Palliative Care: The Waiting Room Revolution

We need to support and educate palliative care specialists and generalist providers, especially family physicians, on how to integrate an early palliative care approach into care for those with a serious illness. However, there are very few care providers compared to the number of patients and caregivers in society. To increase access to palliative care at a population level, we need a waiting room revolution, one where patients and families shift from being passive to being active in shaping their experience with serious illness. A co-design approach with patients and families can help overcome barriers to accessing palliative care and improve the overall experience.

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Using an Electronic App to Promote Home-Based Self-Care in Older Patients With Heart Failure: Qualitative Study on Patient and Informal Caregiver Challenges

Background: Heart failure (HF) affects many older individuals in North America, with recurrent hospitalizations despite postdischarge strategies to prevent readmission. Proper HF self-care can potentially lead to better clinical outcomes, yet many older patients find self-care challenging. Mobile health (mHealth) apps can provide support to patients with respect to HF self-care. However, many mHealth apps are not designed to consider potential patient barriers, such as literacy, numeracy, and cognitive impairment, leading to challenges for older patients. We previously demonstrated that a paper-based standardized diuretic decision support tool (SDDST) with daily weights and adjustment of diuretic dose led to improved self-care.; Objective: The aim of this study is to better understand the self-care challenges that older patients with HF and their informal care providers (CPs) face on a daily basis, leading to the conversion of the SDDST into a user-centered mHealth app.; Methods: We recruited 14 patients (male: 8/14, 57%) with a confirmed diagnosis of HF, aged ≥60 years, and 7 CPs from the HF clinic and the cardiology ward at the Hamilton General Hospital. Patients were categorized into 3 groups based on the self-care heart failure index: patients with adequate self-care, patients with inadequate self-care without a CP, or patients with inadequate self-care with a CP. We conducted semistructured interviews with patients and their CPs using persona-scenarios. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed for emerging themes using an inductive approach.; Results: Six themes were identified: usability of technology, communication, app customization, complexity of self-care, usefulness of HF-related information, and long-term use and cost. Many of the challenges patients and CPs reported involved their unfamiliarity with technology and the lack of incentive for its use. However, participants were supportive and more likely to actively use the HF app when informed of the intervention's inclusion of volunteer and nurse assistance.; Conclusions: Patients with varying self-care adequacy levels were willing to use an mHealth app if it was simple in its functionality and user interface. To promote the adoption and usability of these tools, patients confirmed the need for researchers to engage with end users before developing an app. Findings from this study can be used to help inform the design of an mHealth app to ensure that it is adapted for the needs of older individuals with HF. 

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Reasons for nonparticipation in the Valuing Active Life in Dementia randomised controlled trial of a dyadic occupational therapy intervention: An interview study

Objectives: There is currently little known about why people decline to participate in dyadic, psychosocial dementia research. This interview study aims to explore the reasons why people declined to participate in the Valuing Active Life in Dementia research trial. Methods: Ten family carers of people with dementia, who were part of a dyad that had declined to take part in the randomised controlled trial, participated in qualitative telephone interviews to explore their reasons for declining. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify themes. Findings: Two themes with related sub-themes were identified: (1) Protectiveness - protecting the person with dementia, themselves as carers and their current lifestyle; (2) 'It's not for us' - the time commitment, and the possible unsuitability of the intervention, was seen to outweigh the perceived benefit of taking part. People with dementia were not always involved in the decision-making process, with carers stating the decision not to participate was made in the usual way as all their decisions. No apparent differences between the spousal and the child carers were apparent in the small sample. Conclusion: Recruitment to randomised controlled trials can be considered difficult or unfair because some participants will miss out on the desired intervention. However, this study shows that concern about the time and inconvenience of being involved in the trial can put people off research participation. Identifying possible reasons for declining research participation contributes to the design of future trials and recruitment strategies, so that the potential benefit is considered relative to the time and effort involved. Offering research opportunities to people with dementia and their families at the right stage of the dementia trajectory for their needs, facilitating personalised recruitment strategies with finely tailored researcher communication skills should help maximise recruitment, reduce attrition and deliver a more successful trial.

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Co-Design to Support the Development of Inclusive eHealth Tools for Caregivers of Functionally Dependent Older Persons: Social Justice Design

Background: eHealth can help reduce social health inequalities (SHIs) as much as it can exacerbate them. Taking a co-design approach to the development of eHealth tools has the potential to ensure that these tools are inclusive. Although the importance of involving future users in the development of eHealth tools to reduce SHIs is highlighted in the scientific literature, the challenges associated with their participation question the benefits of this involvement as co-designers in a real-world context. Objective: On the basis of Amartya Sen's theoretical framework of social justice, the aim of this study is to explore how co-design can support the development of an inclusive eHealth tool for caregivers of functionally dependent older persons. Methods: This study is based on a social justice design and participant observation as part of a large-scale research project funded by the Ministry of Families as part of the Age-Friendly Quebec Program (Quebec Ami des Aines). The analysis was based on the method developed by Miles and Huberman and on Paille's analytical questioning method. Results: A total of 78 people participated in 11 co-design sessions in 11 Quebec regions. A total of 24 preparatory meetings and 11 debriefing sessions were required to complete this process. Co-designers participated in the creation of a prototype to support the search for formal services for caregivers. The majority of participants (except for 2) significantly contributed to the tool's designing. They also incorporated conversion factors to ensure the inclusiveness of the eHealth tool, such as an adequate level of digital literacy and respect for the caregiver's help-seeking process. In the course of the experiment, the research team's position regarding its role in co-design evolved from a neutral posture and promoting co-designer participation to one that was more pragmatic. Conclusions: The use of co-design involving participants at risk of SHIs does not guarantee innovation, but it does guarantee that the tool developed will comply with their process of help-seeking and their literacy level. Time issues interfere with efforts to carry out a democratic process in its ideal form. It would be useful to single out some key issues to guide researchers on what should be addressed in co-design discussions and what can be left out to make optimal use of this approach in a real-world context.

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Exploring the experiences of siblings of adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Background The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) to lose their daily routines and social support, and as a result, many adults with IDD are increasingly reliant on their family caregivers. Siblings often play a crucial support role for their brothers and sisters with IDD. As such, this study aimed to describe the experiences of adult siblings of people with IDD during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods The Sibling Collaborative worked with researchers to codesign an online survey, completed by 91 people, exploring sibling supports and concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey also aimed to identify helpful resources for siblings during this time. Results The results showed that the majority of siblings are supporting their brother or sister with IDD during the COVID-19 pandemic and are concerned about the health and well-being of their brother/sister. The most common concern related to disruption of their brother's or sister's routine and activities. Although responses of older and younger siblings did not differ from each other, siblings whose brother or sister with IDD lived with family had some unique concerns relative to those whose siblings no longer lived with family. Siblings described how their own self-care and relationships with others, as well as support for their brother/sister, were particularly helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions Siblings are providing key support to their brother or sister with IDD during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they too must be supported. Siblings should be included in efforts to disseminate resources targeting people with IDD and their feedback and input must be obtained. It is also important to include sibling mental wellness as caregiver supports are created and implemented. More research is needed to further understand how to support sibling caregivers.

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Understanding the Experience of Cancer Pain From the Perspective of Patients and Family Caregivers to Inform Design of an In-Home Smart Health System: Multimethod Approach

Background: Inadequately managed pain is a serious problem for patients with cancer and those who care for them. Smart health systems can help with remote symptom monitoring and management, but they must be designed with meaningful end-user input.; Objective: This study aims to understand the experience of managing cancer pain at home from the perspective of both patients and family caregivers to inform design of the Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention for Cancer (BESI-C) smart health system.; Methods: This was a descriptive pilot study using a multimethod approach. Dyads of patients with cancer and difficult pain and their primary family caregivers were recruited from an outpatient oncology clinic. The participant interviews consisted of (1) open-ended questions to explore the overall experience of cancer pain at home, (2) ranking of variables on a Likert-type scale (0, no impact; 5, most impact) that may influence cancer pain at home, and (3) feedback regarding BESI-C system prototypes. Qualitative data were analyzed using a descriptive approach to identity patterns and key themes. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS; basic descriptive statistics and independent sample t tests were run.; Results: Our sample (n=22; 10 patient-caregiver dyads and 2 patients) uniformly described the experience of managing cancer pain at home as stressful and difficult. Key themes included (1) unpredictability of pain episodes; (2) impact of pain on daily life, especially the negative impact on sleep, activity, and social interactions; and (3) concerns regarding medications. Overall, taking pain medication was rated as the category with the highest impact on a patient's pain (=4.79), followed by the categories of wellness (=3.60; sleep quality and quantity, physical activity, mood and oral intake) and interaction (=2.69; busyness of home, social or interpersonal interactions, physical closeness or proximity to others, and emotional closeness and connection to others). The category related to environmental factors (temperature, humidity, noise, and light) was rated with the lowest overall impact (=2.51). Patients and family caregivers expressed receptivity to the concept of BESI-C and reported a preference for using a wearable sensor (smart watch) to capture data related to the abrupt onset of difficult cancer pain.; Conclusions: Smart health systems to support cancer pain management should (1) account for the experience of both the patient and the caregiver, (2) prioritize passive monitoring of physiological and environmental variables to reduce burden, and (3) include functionality that can monitor and track medication intake and efficacy; wellness variables, such as sleep quality and quantity, physical activity, mood, and oral intake; and levels of social interaction and engagement. Systems must consider privacy and data sharing concerns and incorporate feasible strategies to capture and characterize rapid-onset symptoms. 

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Review and Selection of Online Resources for Carers of Frail Adults or Older People in Five European Countries: Mixed-Methods Study

Background: Informal carers have a crucial role in the care of older people, but they are at risk of social isolation and psychological exhaustion. Web-based services like apps and websites are increasingly used to support informal carers in addressing some of their needs and tasks, such as health monitoring of their loved ones, information and communication, and stress management. Despite the growing number of available solutions, the lack of knowledge or skills of carers about the solutions often prevent their usage.; Objective: This study aimed to review and select apps and websites offering functionalities useful for informal carers of frail adults or older people in 5 European countries (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden).; Methods: A systematic online search was conducted from January 2017 to mid-March 2017 using selected keywords, followed by an assessment based on a set of commonly agreed criteria and standardized tools. Selected resources were rated and classified in terms of scope. Focus groups with informal carers were conducted to validate the list and the classification of resources. The activities were conducted in parallel in the participating countries using common protocols and guidelines, a standardization process, and scheduled group discussions.; Results: From a total of 406 eligible resources retrieved, 138 apps and 86 websites met the inclusion criteria. Half of the selected resources (109/224, 48.7%) were disease-specific, and the remaining resources included information and utilities on a variety of themes. Only 38 resources (38/224, 17.0%) were devoted specifically to carers, addressing the management of health disturbances and diseases of the care recipient and focusing primarily on neurodegenerative diseases. Focus groups with the carers showed that almost all participants had no previous knowledge of any resource specifically targeting carers, even if interest was expressed towards carer-focused resources. The main barriers for using the resources were low digital skills of the carers and reliability of health-related apps and websites. Results of the focus groups led to a new taxonomy of the resources, comprising 4 categories: carer's wellbeing, managing health and diseases of the care recipient, useful contacts, and technologies for eldercare.; Conclusions: The review process allowed the identification of online resources of good quality. However, these resources are still scarce due to a lack of reliability and usability that prevent users from properly benefiting from most of the resources. The involvement of end users provided added value to the resource classification and highlighted the gap between the potential benefits from using information and communication technologies and the real use of online resources by carers.

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Place4Carers: a mixed-method study protocol for engaging family caregivers in meaningful actions for successful ageing in place

Introduction: Engaging family caregivers could be a critical asset to make the 'ageing-in-place' imperative a reality. This is particularly evident in rural and remote areas, where caregivers can fill the gaps that exist due to the fragmentation of the welfare system. However, there is little knowledge about the expectations that family caregivers have from healthcare services in rural and remote areas.Place4Carers (P4C) project aims to co-produce an innovative organisational model of social and healthcare services for family caregivers of older citizens living in Vallecamonica (Italy). The project is expected to facilitate ageing-in-place for older citizens, thus helping caregivers in their daily care activities.; Methods and Analysis: P4C is a community-based participatory research project featuring five work packages (WPs). WP1 consists of a survey of unmet needs of caregivers and older people receiving services in Vallecamonica. WP2 consists of a scoping literature review to map services that provide interventions of support to caregivers living in remote areas and promote engagement. WP3 organises co-creation workshops with caregivers to co-design, co-manage, and co-assess ideas and proposals for shaping caregiver-oriented services and organisational models. WP3 enriches the results of WP1 (survey) and WP2 (scoping literature review), and aims to co-create new ideas for intervention support with and for caregivers in relation to the objectives, features and characteristics of a new service able to address the caregivers' needs and expectations. WP4 tests the service ideas co-created in WP3 through piloting an intervention based on ideas co-created with caregivers. Finally, WP5 assesses the transferability of the intervention to other similar contexts.; Ethics and Dissemination: The study has been approved by the Ethics Committees of the Department of Psychology of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Politecnico of Milan. Results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals, scientific meetings and meetings with the general population.

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Perspectives on Components of an Online Training and Support Program for Dementia Family Caregivers in India: A Focus Group Study

There is a considerable need for support interventions for caregivers of people with dementia in developing countries, such as India. The purpose of the study was to identify the components and understand the acceptability of an online training and support program for dementia caregivers in India. Three focus group discussions were carried out with dementia caregivers (2) and health professionals (1) to understand the requirements of an online training and support program from their perspective. The commonly recurring themes were identified and defined using thematic content analysis. The expectations from an online training and support program were wide-ranging from information about identification and management of dementia to support caregiver well-being. Use of simple language, cultural relevance, and an interactive design were suggestions to facilitate the use of the support program. Lack of time, difficulty in accessing the internet, lack of awareness about the portal, difficulty in reaching the rural population were anticipated as challenges in using the program. The study highlights the requisite components of a first of its kind online training and support program in India by integrating the experiences, motivations, challenges, and expectations of caregivers and professionals involved in dementia care. The focus group discussions in the current study provide a road map for the development of an online caregiver training and support program underlying the perspectives of the stakeholders for the consolidation of an effective dementia care program for lower resourced settings. 

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Development and Field Testing of a Long-Term Care Decision Aid Website for Older Adults: Engaging Patients and Caregivers in User-Centered Design

Background and Objectives Decisions about long-term care and financing can be difficult to comprehend, consider, and communicate. In a previous needs assessment, families in rural areas requested a patient-facing website; however, questions arose about the acceptability of an online tool for older adults. This study engaged older adults and family caregivers in (a) designing and refining an interactive, tailored decision aid website, and (b) field testing its utility, feasibility, and acceptability. Research Design and Methods Based on formative work, the research team engaged families in designing and iteratively revising paper drafts, then programmed a tailored website. The field test used the ThinkAloud approach and pre-/postquestionnaires to assess participants' knowledge, decisional conflict, usage, and acceptability ratings. Results Forty-five older adults, family members, and stakeholders codesigned and tested the decision aid, yielding four decision-making steps: Get the Facts , What Matters Most, Consider Your Resources, and Make an Action Plan. User-based design and iterative storyboarding enhanced the content, personal decision-making activities, and user-generated resources. Field-testing participants scored 83.3% correct on knowledge items and reported moderate/low decisional conflict. All (100%) were able to use the website, spent an average of 26.3 min, and provided an average 87.5% acceptability rating. Discussion and Implications A decision aid website can educate and support older adults and their family members in beginning a long-term care plan. Codesign and in-depth interviews improved usability, and lessons learned may guide the development of other aging decision aid websites. 

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Developing Service User Skills in Co-Production of Research: Course Development and Evaluation

Purpose : The purpose of this article is to enhance understanding of the increasing importance of service user and carer involvement in social work research. The paper outlines actions taken to develop knowledge and skills at post-qualifying level. Method : In 2016 three postgraduate modules on research methods and evidence-into-practice for service users and carers were created and taught jointly with existing parallel post-qualifying modules for experienced social workers. Over a three-year period 2016-2019 modular assessments; pre and post-testing of knowledge and self-efficacy; regular participant feedback sheets; and end-of-course reflections were undertaken. Results : Qualitative feedback indicated that the classroom experience was regarded positively. Valuable literature reviews and projects were produced which have the potential to contribute to transferring knowledge into practice. Though small in scale and using non-validated tools, increased mean scores were recorded on both Test of Knowledge (3.97; p <.001) and Self Efficacy (478.8 ( p <.001) showing promise. Formal measures, exam results, and informal feedback demonstrate the success of the initiative as a means of enhancing a wider understanding of user participation in the research process. Discussion: Demonstrating how well-equipped service users and carers are to be more effective on research advisory panels and grant committees will take more time. Conclusion: Providing teaching on research methods for service users jointly with experienced social workers shows potential for developing coproduction of social care research and translating evidence into practice.

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Community-Engaged Research with Vietnamese Americans to Pilot-Test a Dementia Caregiver Intervention

Caring for a family member with Alzheimer's disease (AD) or a related dementia is stressful, and this may especially be the case for racial/ethnic minority caregivers. This study examined the feasibility and acceptability of a pilot intervention for Vietnamese American dementia caregivers. A secondary, exploratory aim was to examine post-intervention effects on AD knowledge and psychosocial outcomes. Of the 87 individuals contacted, 32 met inclusion criteria. Of this number, 14 enrolled in the study with 11 caregivers completing the intervention, and 10 of the 11 completing 3-month follow-up data. Caregivers provided positive feedback on the intervention and had higher scores on AD knowledge and self-efficacy in seeking support services post-intervention, with the effect on self-efficacy maintained at 3-month follow-up. Recruitment for the intervention was difficult; however, once caregivers came to the first session, they were engaged and found the classes informative. Recommendations for a future intervention are discussed.

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Co‐designing technology with people with dementia and their carers: Exploring user perspectives when co‐creating a mobile health application

Aims To explore the perspectives of those involved in co‐designing a mobile application with people with dementia and their carers. Background People with dementia suffer physical and psychological problems as their illness progresses and require a range of health and social care services to meet their needs. Mobile applications are being developed to support individuals to manage long‐term conditions, but patients and carers are not always involved in designing this technology, which can lead to poor quality health apps. A digital initiative was launched to involve people with dementia and their carers in creating a mobile app that would support communication and enable them to share memories together. Design An exploratory, descriptive approach was used. Methods In‐depth interviews with people with dementia, their carers, and others involved in co‐creating a mobile health application were conducted. Data analysis was undertaken using the framework approach. Results The views of people with dementia, their carers, and project staff were similar regarding the complexity of the co‐design process, and the value the mobile app had for people with dementia and their families. Being involved in co‐production seemed to have numerous benefits for people with dementia and their carers as they gained new knowledge and skills, friendships, and a sense of achievement in creating a unique app that would benefit many people. The app also appeared useful in stimulating memory and cognitive function, aiding communication, and providing a sense of normalcy for people living with dementia and their carers. Conclusion Mobile health applications can facilitate interaction between people with dementia and their carer network that could improve their quality of life. Further research on which co‐design process is best suited to people with dementia and whether technology created via this participatory method is more effective or not in improving health outcomes is required.Implications for practiceNurses should have knowledge of and education about technology and how it can promote health and wellbeing of persons with dementia. Nurses who care for people with dementia and their families should support them in taking part in or leading the design of technologies that meet their needs. Participatory design methods should be taught in nursing education so the profession can provide guidance to patients and their families on co‐creating health products and services

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Challenges and Recommendations for the Deployment of Information and Communication Technology Solutions for Informal Caregivers: Scoping Review

Background: Information and communication technology (ICT)-based solutions have the potential to support informal caregivers in home care delivery. However, there are many challenges to the deployment of these solutions.; Objective: The aim of this study was to review literature to explore the challenges of the deployment of ICT-based support solutions for informal caregivers and provide relevant recommendations on how to overcome these challenges.; Methods: A scoping review methodology was used following the Arksey and O'Malley methodological framework to map the relevant literature. A search was conducted using PubMed, IEEE library, and Scopus. Publication screening and scrutiny were conducted following inclusion criteria based on inductive thematic analysis to gain insight into patterns of challenges rising from deploying ICT-based support solutions for informal caregivers. The analysis took place through an iterative process of combining, categorizing, summarizing, and comparing information across studies. Through this iterative process, relevant information was identified and coded under emergent broader themes as they pertain to each of the research questions.; Results: The analysis identified 18 common challenges using a coding scheme grouping them under four thematic categories: technology-related, organizational, socioeconomic, and ethical challenges. These range from specific challenges related to the technological component of the ICT-based service such as design and usability of technology, to organizational challenges such as fragmentation of support solutions to socioeconomic challenges such as funding of technology and sustainability of solutions to ethical challenges around autonomy and privacy of data. For each identified challenge, recommendations were created on how to overcome it. The recommendations from this study can provide guidance for the deployment of ICT-based support solutions for informal caregivers.; Conclusions: Despite a growing interest in the potential offered by ICT solutions for informal caregiving, diverse and overlapping challenges to their deployment still remain. Designers for ICTs for informal caregivers should follow participatory design and involve older informal caregivers in the design process as much as possible. A collaboration between designers and academic researchers is also needed to ensure ICT solutions are designed with the current empirical evidence in mind. Taking actions to build the digital skills of informal caregivers early in the caregiving process is crucial for optimal use of available ICT solutions. Moreover, the lack of awareness of the potential added-value and trust toward ICT-based support solutions requires strategies to raise awareness among all stakeholders-including policy makers, health care professionals, informal caregivers, and care recipients-about support opportunities offered by ICT. On the macro-level, policies to fund ICT solutions that have been shown to be effective at supporting and improving informal caregiver health outcomes via subsidies or other incentives should be considered. (©Alhassan Yosri Ibrahim Hassan. Originally published in JMIR Aging (http://aging.jmir.org), 29.07.2020.)

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Value and learning from carer involvement in a cluster randomised controlled trial and process evaluation - Organising Support for Carers of Stroke Survivors (OSCARSS)

Background: Patient, Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) should be embedded in health care research. Delivering PCPI can be challenging, but even when PCPI is carried out it is rarely reported resulting in lost opportunities for learning. This paper aims to describe PCPI in the OSCARSS study, a pragmatic-cluster randomised controlled trial with an embedded economic and process evaluation. Methods: A carer research user group (RUG) co-developed OSCARSS to evaluate how to best deliver support to caregivers of stroke survivors. The PCPI activity involved regular meetings and preparatory work, from the initial conceptualisation of the study through to dissemination. Written reports, structured group discussions and individual interviews were carried out with the RUG and researchers to capture the added value and learning. This paper was co-authored by two of the RUG members with contributions from the wider RUG and researchers. Results: The core six members of the caregiver RUG attended the majority of the meetings alongside three researchers, one of whom was the co-chief investigator. PCPI was instrumental in changing many aspects of the research protocol, design and delivery and contributed to dissemination and sharing of good practice. There were challenges due to the emotional toll when PCPI members shared their stories and the extensive time commitment. Positive experiences of learning and fulfilment were reported by the individual researchers and PCPI members. Wider organisational administrative and financial support facilitated the PCPI. The researchers’ existing positive regard for PCPI and the clear focus of the group were key to the successful co-design of this research. Conclusions: The value and learning from the PCPI collaborative work with the researchers was of benefit to the study and the individuals involved. Specific PCPI influences were a challenge to pinpoint as successful co-design meant the researchers’ and carers’ contributions were intertwined and decision-making shared.

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Caregivers’ failure to thrive: A case for health and continuing care systems transformation

Excluding family caregivers and their goals from healthcare thinking and system design has contributed to their “failure to thrive.” Family caregivers are diverse, with dynamic, enduring, and variable life course care trajectories that are largely ignored. Using a co-design approach, caregivers prioritized their goals across seven life domains in an on-line survey. Physical, mental, and emotional health goals were top priorities across all ages. However, care-related goals were not caregivers’ highest priority. Goals related to financial well-being, social connections, employment, education, and care were variable across ages. Our findings suggest that transforming health and continuing care systems begins with recognizing variability of caregivers’ goals across their life courses. Adopting a co-design approach with family caregivers may serve as a model to develop a collaborative health and continuing care system. One that recognizes and supports family caregivers to achieve their goals, so that they not only survive but thrive.

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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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Centering and Embedding Family Carers in the Co-Production of Carer Research, Supports and Policy

Project aims: 

Underpinned by an engaged research approach, CARERENGAGE has an overall aim to coproduce in-depth, practically-oriented knowledge and evidence-based research impacting family carers in Ireland. Specifically, this will involve Institute of Social Science in the 21st Century UCC (ISS21) and Care Alliance Ireland (CAI) facilitating and delivering three national workshops addressing three key research and policy areas identified by CAI, in consultation with its 85 CVO members.

This aim is supported by the following action-specific objectives:

  1. Develop a CVO-academic-policy-citizen-carer-service provider knowledge network to support family carers’ capacity to make informed decisions and achieve policy goals

  2. Co-facilitate three national workshops to encourage knowledge exchange and coproduction dialogue between network members to bridge the gap between research, policy, practice and family carer requirements.

  3. Co-develop, communicate and translate policy, academic, CVO provider, recommendations to maximise the value and impact of family carer research. 

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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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Participant and Caregiver Perspectives on Clinical Research During Covid‐19 Pandemic

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES The COVID‐19 pandemic has massively disrupted essential clinical research. Many regulatory organizations have rightfully advocated to temporarily halt enrollment and curtail all face‐to‐face interactions. Views and opinions of patients and their caregivers are seldom considered while making such decisions. The objective was to study older participantsʼ and their caregiversʼ perspectives to participate in ongoing clinical research during the COVID‐19 pandemic. DESIGN Cross‐sectional. SETTING VISN‐16/Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Department of Veterans Affairs. PARTICIPANTS Older participants and their caregivers (N = 51) enrolled in ongoing clinical research studies. MEASUREMENTS Questions about perceptions of safety to attend research visit, the level of panic among the general public, and medical centerʼs preparedness in handling the pandemic. Other questions identified the source of pandemic information and the preference of a phone or in‐person visit. RESULTS Mean age was 69.3 (±9.4) years, 53% were male, 39% were caregivers, and 65% were Caucasian. Majority (78%) of the participants felt safe/very safe attending the scheduled research appointment; 63% felt that the extra screening made them feel safe/very safe; 82% felt that the medical center was prepared/very prepared for the pandemic. Participants split evenly on their preference for phone versus in‐person visits. Family members and television news media were the commonly used sources of pandemic information irrespective of their education. Perceptions were influenced by gender and source of information, not by age or education. Females perceived higher level of panic compared to males (P = .02). Those relying on news media felt safer compared to those that relied on family members (P = .008). CONCLUSION Even though informants felt that the medical center was prepared to handle the pandemic, only half the participants preferred the in‐person visit. Pandemic information was obtained from family members or the television news media. Knowing patientsʼ perspectives may help researchers be better prepared for future pandemics.

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It takes two to tango: Carers' reflections on their participation and the participation of people with dementia in the James Lind Alliance process

Background: Worldwide, patient and public involvement (PPI) in health research has grown steadily in recent decades. The James Lind Alliance (JLA) is one approach to PPI that brings patients, carers and clinicians together to identify priorities for future research in a Priority Setting Partnership (PSP). Our study aim was to describe the reflections of informal carers of people with dementia on the possibility of participating in the JLA's PSP process, for both themselves and the recipients of their care. In addition, we wanted to explore barriers to and facilitators of their participation. Methods: We conducted four focus groups with 36 carers of people with dementia. Thematic analysis was applied to analyse the data. Results: An overarching theme emerged from the participants' reflections: "Creating empowering teams where all voices are heard". The overarching theme incorporates the participants' suggestions about the importance of equivalence in power, mutual agreement with and understanding of the goals, adequate support, openness about each partner's tasks and the bonds needed between the partners to sustain the enterprise, and expectations of positive outcomes. From the overarching theme, two main themes emerged: "Interaction of human factors, the PSP process and the environment" and "The power of position and knowledge". The overall results indicated that carers are willing to participate in PSP processes and that they thought it important for people with dementia to participate in PSP processes as well, even if some might need extra support to do so. The carers also identified the need for research topics that influence their everyday lives, policy development and healthcare services. Conclusions: Both carers and the people with dementia for whom they care are able to contribute to the PSP process when given sufficient support. The involvement of these groups is important for setting healthcare research agendas, developing research projects that increase awareness and knowledge about their circumstances and improving health professionals', researchers' and policymakers' understanding of and insight into their unique situations.

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Getting back to life after stroke: co-designing a peer-led coaching intervention to enable stroke survivors to rebuild a meaningful life after stroke

Purpose: Rebuilding one’s life after stroke is a key priority persistently identified by patients yet professionally led interventions have little impact. This co-design study constructs and tests a novel peer-led coaching intervention to improve post-stroke leisure and general social participation. Methods: This study followed the principles of co-design by actively engaging and harnessing the knowledge of stroke survivors in order to develop and test a peer-lead coaching intervention. Phase 1 assessed function, mood, and involvement in leisure and social activities 6 months following stroke (n = 79). Phase 2 involved semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 18 stroke survivors, and 10 family carers to explore experiences related to social and leisure participation. Phase 3 tested the co-designed peer-led coaching intervention. Data collected also included co-design feedback sessions and a training workshop with selected peer coaches and in addition, interviews with stroke survivors and their peer coaches at two time-points: following the training program (n = 5) and delivery of the intervention (n = 2). Results: A peer-coaching intervention was successfully co-designed and tested combining the use of lay knowledge sociocognitive and self-regulatory theories with principles of transformational leadership theory. Both peers and stroke survivors reported having benefited at a personal level. Conclusions: This study reports on an innovative community-based and peer-led intervention and its results have generated new evidence on how stroke survivors engage with and respond to peer coaching support. It further provides a theoretical platform for designing and implementing peer interventions. Hence, these results have the potential to inform the development of future peer coaching intervention not only for stroke rehabilitation but also for a wide range of chronic conditions.Implications for rehabilitation The results of this co-design study, if replicated and extended, provide a theoretical framework to guide rehabilitation professionals about the optimal timing of peer-coaching interventions and contextual factors that need to be taken into account. Applying transformational leadership theory principles to the training of peers may prove useful at the time of the implementation of a coaching intervention. Peer-led coaching interventions, which are community-based and tailored to stroke survivors at the time of discharge, may help support re-engagement in social and leisure activities.

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What motivates patients and caregivers to engage in health research and how engagement affects their lives: Qualitative survey findings

Background: US research organizations increasingly are supporting patient and stakeholder engagement in health research with a goal of producing more useful, relevant and patient-centered evidence better aligned with real-world clinical needs. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) engages patients, family caregivers and other health-care stakeholders, including clinicians, payers and policymakers, as active partners in prioritizing, designing, conducting and disseminating research as a key strategy to produce useful evidence for health-care decision making. Objective: To inform effective engagement practices and policies, we sought to understand what motivates patients and caregivers to engage as partners on PCORI-funded research projects and how such engagement changed their lives. Methods: We conducted thematic analysis of open-ended survey responses from 255 patients, family caregivers and individuals from advocacy and community-based organizations who engaged as partners on 139 PCORI-funded research projects focusing on a range of health conditions. Results: Partners' motivations for engaging in research were oriented primarily towards benefiting others, including a desire to improve patients' lives and to support effective health-care interventions. In addition to feeling they made a positive difference, many partners reported direct benefits from engagement, such as new relationships and improved health habits. Discussion and Conclusions: By identifying patient and caregiver motivations for engaging in research partnerships and what they get out of the experience, our study may help research teams and organizations attract partners and foster more satisfying and sustainable partnerships. Our findings also add to evidence that engagement benefits the people involved as partners, strengthening the case for more widespread engagement. 

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Carers’ breaks for young carers and young adult carers: Guidance for commissioners and providers

This guidance is for commissioners, providers and others involved in the planning, shaping and delivery of support for young carers and young adult carers in transition, primarily in England. This guidance supplements the carers’ breaks guidance for adult carers. It will be of interest to commissioners within local authorities (including public health), and may be of interest to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and partners within both health and education such as GPs and schools. It will also be of interest to a wide range of providers – including those from the voluntary, community, private and public sectors, and not just those already providing young carers’ breaks and support.

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Patient and public involvement in doctoral research: Impact, resources and recommendations

Background and aim: Patient and public involvement (PPI) has potential to enhance health‐care research and is increasingly an expectation, particularly for many funding bodies. However, PPI can be tokenistic, which may limit this potential. Furthermore, few studies report PPI processes and impact, particularly in doctoral research studies, which are seldom reported in peer‐reviewed papers. The aim of this paper was to explore the impact of PPI on two health‐related doctoral research studies and identify how PPI could be used meaningfully at this level. Method: The PPI processes included (a) involvement of two 'Research Buddies' who informed the research design and ensured implementation of a booklet intervention was feasible for family carers, (b) data analysis workshops with 'Research Buddies' to identify emerging themes from practitioner interviews, (c) public and stakeholder involvement who informed data collection tool design, and the design of an intervention to help people with obesity who attend weight loss groups. Findings: The application of PPI enhanced both doctoral studies by assisting data analysis; problem solving and improving recruitment rates; improving the usability and appeal of data collection tools and interventions; and developing implementation strategies. Patient and public involvement was considered a rewarding experience for both researchers and PPI contributors. Conclusion: This paper demonstrates the value of PPI in doctoral research in relation to its impact on research processes, researchers and contributors. We also present recommendations on how PPI could be incorporated into future doctoral research, including resources required, planning PPI processes and involving PPI contributors in all stages of research.

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Nursing Research Priorities in Critical Care, Pulmonary, and Sleep: International Delphi Survey of Nurses, Patients, and Caregivers

The objective of this workshop was to determine current nursing research priorities in critical care, adult pulmonary, and sleep conditions through input from consumer (patient, family, and formal and informal caregivers) and nursing experts around the world. Working groups composed of nurses and patients selected potential research priorities based on patient insight and a literature review of patient-reported outcomes, patient-reported experiences, and processes and clinical outcomes in the focal areas. A Delphi consensus approach, using a qualitative survey method to elicit expert opinion from nurses and consumers was conducted. Two rounds of online surveys available in English, Spanish, and Chinese were completed. A 75% or greater threshold for endorsement (combined responses from nursing and consumer participants) was determined a priori to retain survey items. A total of 837 participants (649 nurses and 188 patients, family, and/or caregivers) from 45 countries responded. Survey data were analyzed and nursing research priorities that comprise 23 critical care, 45 adult pulmonary, and 16 sleep items were identified. This project was successful in engaging a wide variety of nursing and consumer experts, applying a patient-reported outcome/patient-reported experience framework for organizing and understanding research priorities. The project outcome was a research agenda to inform, guide, and aid nurse scientists, educators, and providers, and to advise agencies that provide research and program funding in these fields.

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Supporting family caregiver engagement in the care of old persons living in hard to reach communities: A scoping review

Today, 8.5% of the world's population is 65 and over, and this statistic will reach 17% by 2050 (He et al., U.S. Census Bureau, international population reports, P95/16‐1, An ageing world: 2015, U.S., 2016). They are the people who, with increasing age, will find themselves more closely interfacing with the national health system, which in many countries shows strong imbalances between rural and urban areas. In this context, a fundamental role is played by the relatives who find themselves becoming informal caregivers to compensate for lack of services. To date, however, little has been done to help these people. In this article, we want to identify the nature and extent of research evidence that had its objective to help informal caregivers in rural, hard to reach areas (Grant & Booth, Health Information & Libraries Journal, 2009, 26, 91). Following the approach set out by Arksey and O'Malley (International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 2005, 8, 19), we conducted a scoping review in May 2018 and closed the review with an update in September 2018. We identified 14 studies published from 2012, the European Year of Active Ageing, promoted by the European Commission, which had three domains of implementation: emotional support to decrease the emotional burden of caregivers, educational support to increase their skills, and organisational support to improve the mobility of caregivers and carereceivers. Although informal caregivers play a fundamental role in many countries, the studies that have been involved in alleviating their caring burden are few; nevertheless, they provide interesting indications. This lack of attention confirms how this portion of the population is still neglected by scientific research and risks having unequal access to health and social care. Future research is needed, not only to create and improve services to caregivers in rural, hard to reach areas, but also to evaluate and focus on the participation and the engagement of caregivers in the co‐design of these services. 

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Quality of patient, family, caregiver and public engagement in decision-making in healthcare systems: a scoping review protocol

Introduction: To advance person- and family-centred healthcare, government initiatives have supported the engagement of patients and family caregivers in decision-making in healthcare systems. There is, however, no consensus on how to define success for such initiatives. This scoping review aims to identify the key elements for defining the quality of patient and family caregiver engagement in decision-making across the engagement domains (individual, community/organisation, system) of British Columbia's healthcare system. We will use those elements to develop a conceptual evaluation framework.; Methods and Analysis: This scoping review follows Arskey and O'Malley's methodology. (1) The research question was identified through team discussions. (2) Articles for data source will be identified using a librarian-informed search strategy for seven bibliographic databases as well as grey literature sources. (3) Selected articles will be relevant to the evaluation of patient and family caregiver engagement in healthcare systems. (4) Two researchers will independently extract data into predefined and emerging categories. (5) The researchers will reconcile and organise the identified elements. The research team's collective perspective will then refine the elements, and select, interpret and summarise the results. (6) Persons from key stakeholder groups will be consulted to refine the emergent conceptual framework.; Ethics and Dissemination: We will seek ethics approval for the stakeholder consultation. This study follows an integrated knowledge translation approach. The results will inform evaluation of the Patients as Partners Initiative of the British Columbia Ministry of Health, and will be disseminated as a scientific article, a research brief, and presentations at conferences and stakeholder meetings.;

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Portrait of a Caregiver: Ethnodrama Development and Its Influence on Caregiver Well-Being

Background and Objectives: The majority of long-term care needs are placed upon family members who often receive minimal support. In this study, we collaborate with family caregivers to create an ethnodrama about their experience and assess outcomes of participation, including caregiver well-being.; Methods: Participants met over 4 months to discuss their roles as informal caregivers. Discussions were analyzed in a two-phase process and themes were developed into a script. Member checks included script review and revisions, culminating in viewing a professional performance of the play followed by a post-performance discussion and reflection. Data were gathered at six timepoints to assess caregiver well-being and longitudinal analysis was used to assess change during the course of the intervention.; Results: Twenty-two caregivers completed intervention activities. Participant reactions to the process evolved overtime, from an initial hesitance about what individuals had to offer leading to an acknowledgement of feeling heard and a desire to help others. Caregivers had high levels of burden and positive perceptions towards caregiving. Those with high levels of self-rated health had the lowest levels of burden and the most positive perceptions of caregiving.; Discussion and Implications: Developing an ethnodrama in partnership with caregivers is a unique and feasible method of caregiver support, mentoring, reflexivity, and meaning making. Promoting caregiver health early in the caregiving trajectory has the potential of reducing burden and elevating positivity towards caregiving.

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Patient and family perspectives in resilient healthcare studies: A question of morality or logic?

Whilst interest in resilient healthcare (RHC) research has increased over the past five years, our understanding of the role of patients, families and carers in supporting system resilience remains limited (Berg et al., 2018; Laugaland and Aase, 2015). The extant empirical evidence for RHC has almost exclusively been undertaken from the perspective of staff. However, evidence is emerging suggesting that patients, families and carers impact on variability and outcomes within complex health systems, and as such could be regarded as co-creators of resilience (Schubert et al., 2015 ; O'Hara et al., 2019). Within health services research and improvement, engagement of patients and the public is widespread, with an ever building evidence base examining how, and in what ways such engagement should be done (Kirwan et al., 2017). Thus, as it grows as a discipline, there is no doubt that this 'moral' argument for the involvement of patients and families in RHC research will increase. However, in this paper we argue that whilst involving patients and families in RHC research clearly remains a moral imperative, it is also – and perhaps as importantly – driven by the logic of doing so. We view the integration of patient and family perspectives in RHC studies, as comprising two discrete, but not mutually exclusive approaches: (i) Patient and family 'involvement' in RHC studies, as co-creators of evidence ; and, (ii) exploring and modeling patient and family 'functional activity' within systems, recognising their role as co-creators of resilience. We will discuss six case studies of RHC research: two that explore the role of patient and family activity within systems, and four that do not view patient and family activity as part of the system. Our aim is to demonstrate how without these perspectives, our understanding of work-as-done may be limited, and not account for variability introduced by these key actors within the system, that both supports, and compromises, the resilience of that system. In short, without understanding this variability we risk misunderstanding the resilience of our healthcare systems. Drawing on the case study examples, we present a planning support tool for the involvement of patient and family perspectives in RHC studies, which will provide practical guidance to support decisions about when, and how, to explore and document patient and family activity within systems. As key stakeholders in healthcare systems, patients and families should always be involved as co-creators of evidence in RHC studies. However, here we argue that for most healthcare systems, they are likely to additionally be co-creators of resilience.

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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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Framework for Patient and Informal Caregiver Participation in Research (PAICPAIR): Part 1

The term user involvement is frequently applied in research. Frameworks for patient and informal caregiver participation as coresearchers in studies concerning patients with life-threatening illness are however sparse. The PhD project Dying With Dignity-Dignity-Preserving Care for Older Women Living at Home With Incurable Cancer has implemented a thorough cooperation with patients and informal caregivers from the early stages of the research process. A framework for Patient and Informal Caregiver Participation In Research (PAICPAIR) is suggested-creating a stronger foundation for democracy, equality, and research quality by also promoting active participation among vulnerable people experiencing incurable, life-threatening illness, as coresearchers.

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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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Caregivers as researchers: An evaluation of early positive approaches to support (e-pats) in partnership with family caregiver co-researchers

Introduction: E‐PAtS is a co‐produced and co‐facilitated group‐programme to support caregiver wellbeing and positive development for children with intellectual/developmental disabilities. E‐PAtS has previously been evaluated in traditional ways. This study, explored the process and benefits of training three caregivers as co‐researchers in the evaluation of E‐PAtS.  Methods: Three caregivers were invited to serve as co‐researchers and provided with training/supervision. Co‐researchers gathered baseline and follow‐up data by supporting families who attended E‐PAtS to complete questionnaires and conducted follow‐up interviews with a subset of families. All co‐researchers were later interviewed to explore their own experiences of serving in this role. Results: Findings from this study are three‐fold and cover: quantitative analysis of pre and post‐questionnaire data from 6 E‐PAtS groups; a thematic analysis of these groups and a thematic analysis of interviews with co‐researchers themselves. Findings from both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of this work will be presented. Implications: Partnering with caregivers in the evaluation of E‐PAtS helped produce rich and meaningful data that had advantages beyond traditional methods. Co‐researchers reported multiple positive experiences relating to their role. The co‐researcher model therefore has good potential to enhance both research and caregiver empowerment in the field.

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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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Consumer and carer leadership in palliative care academia and practice: A systematic review with narrative synthesis

Background: Contemporary health policies call for consumers to be part of all aspects of service planning, implementation, delivery and evaluation. The extent to which consumers are part of the systemic decision-making levels of palliative care appears to vary between and within services and organisations. Aim: The aim of this systematic review is to develop understandings about consumer and carer leadership in palliative care. Design: A systematic, narrative synthesis approach was adopted due to the heterogeneity of included studies. The review was registered on PROSPERO prospectively (PROSPERO 2018 CRD42018111625). Data sources: PubMed, Scopus and PsycINFO were searched for all studies published in English specifically focusing on consumers’ leadership in palliative care organisations and systems. Articles were appraised for quality using a modified JBI-QARI tool. Results: Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria and quality assessment. Consumers are currently involved in leadership of palliative care teaching, research and services. Findings highlight the benefits of consumer leadership in palliative care including more relevant, higher-quality services, teaching and research. Across the included studies, it was not clear the extent to which consumer leaders had influence in relation to setting agendas across the palliative care sector. Conclusion: The findings suggest that more could be done to support consumer leadership within palliative care. Academics and clinicians might improve the relevance of their work if they are able to more meaningfully partner with consumers in systemic roles in palliative care.

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The legal, governance and ethical implications of involving service users and carers in research

Purpose Service user and carer involvement in all aspects of the health and care research process, from co-applicant on funding applications to active engagement in a research study, is now a requirement for most research funders. However, as co-production increases and service users and carers take on more responsibilities, this involvement has legal, governance and ethical implications. The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness of the issues and consider potential solutions. Design/methodology/approach Experiences of engagement as co-applicants in research funding applications, of involvement as research study team members, and as co-researchers were gathered from a range of service user and carer experts. Consultation and a workshop gathered further evidence from a range of stakeholders across the research management community. Findings Service users and carers, who contribute to the research protocol and process, feel a strong sense of responsibility to ensure the high quality of a research study. However, they may be new to their roles, status and key responsibilities when acting as project team members, co-researchers or co-applicants engaging in funding applications. The responsibility of sponsors, grant holding organisations, funders and other members of the research community is to communicate with and support service users and carers in those roles. More needs to be done to understand the contractual, a legal and governance issues and responsibilities that are specific to service user and carer co-applicants, project team members and co-researchers, from both an organisational and individual service user and carer perspective. Practical implications The implications of the findings are to raise awareness of the practical, legal and ethical issues arising from this type of involvement and the potential risks arising from lack of cohesion or understanding. The review also highlights the concerns and barriers service users and carers may find in becoming involved. Originality/value The findings highlight a range of issues for research regulators, sponsors and investigators to consider to ensure service users and carers can fulfil their responsibilities and be supported in doing so.

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Moving beyond the first response phenomenon: Exploring carers’ views and experiences of being involved in research and development work

Purpose: In Sweden, the care of older people and people with disabilities is increasingly carried out by informal carers, often family members, who are unpaid and outside a professional or formal framework. While there is an increasing awareness of the role of carers within service systems and their own needs for support, their involvement in research is underexplored. The purpose of this paper is to explore carers’ views and experiences of involvement in research and development (R&D) work. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative study was conducted, consisting of 12 individual interviews with carers from different local Swedish carer organizations. Findings: Core findings included carers’ discussions of the perceived challenges and benefits of their involvement in research, both generally and more specifically, in the context of their involvement in the development of a national carer strategy. Research limitations/implications: Limitations included the relative lack of male carer participants and the convenience sample. Practical implications: Authentic carer involvement in research demands a high level of engagement from researchers during the entire research process. The provided CRAC framework, with reference to the themes community, reciprocity, advocacy and circumstantiality, may help researchers to understand and interpret carer involvement in research and provide the prerequisites for their involvement. Originality/value: There is a dearth of studies that systematically examine carer involvement in research. This paper attempts to redress this gap by providing a nuanced analysis of carer involvement in R&D work from the perspective of carers themselves.

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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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Methods for involving people living with dementia and their informal carers as co-developers of technological solutions

This paper reports on the research methods used in five different projects aimed at supporting people living with dementia in their everyday lives and activities of daily living. In all five projects, people living with dementia and their informal carers were involved. Applied methods ranged from passive involvement in the form of observations to very active involvement consisting of consultation rounds and think-aloud sessions. The projects highlighted that people living with dementia can still contribute to the development of solutions that support them in the self-management of their symptoms and challenges, as well as technological solutions that support them in daily living. 

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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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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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Co‐production for service improvement: Developing a training programme for mental health professionals to enhance medication adherence in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Service Users

AimTo co‐produce consensus on the key issues important in educating mental health‐care professionals to optimize mental health medication adherence in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. Objectives To identify perceptions of factors enabling or disabling medication adherence. To achieve consensus on content and delivery of an educational intervention for mental health‐care professionals. Methods Data were collected from 2016 to 2018. Using individual interviews and a consensus workshop with carers and service users (SUs treated under the 1983 Mental Health Act 1983/revised 2007 for England and Wales), the experience of taking prescribed mental health medication and perspectives on adherence were explored. Data were analysed using 2‐stage qualitative coding via the software tool NVivo version 11 to analyse transcribed data and to produce the main explanatory categories. Results SU and carer participants' perspectives substantially altered the original research design. The need to educate students rather than trained professionals was emphasized, and they suggested that educational content should be packaged in a contemporary manner (a virtual reality experience). Findings indicated that education should focus upon understanding the impact of taking prescribed antipsychotic medication on both SUs and carers. Discussion The importance of effective communication between health professionals, SUs and carers and a willingness to learn about and appreciate how BAME culture influences perception of mental illness and mental well‐being were highlighted. Conclusion In working co‐productively, researchers need to be flexible and adaptable to change.

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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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Patient and carer involvement in palliative care research: An integrative qualitative evidence synthesis review

Background: Patient/carer involvement in palliative care research has been reported as complex, difficult and less advanced compared to other areas of health and social care research. There is seemingly limited evidence on impact and effectiveness. Aim: To examine the evidence regarding patient/carer involvement in palliative care research and identify the facilitators, barriers, impacts and gaps in the evidence base. Design: Qualitative evidence synthesis using an integrative review approach and thematic analysis. Data sources: Electronic databases were searched up to March 2018. Additional methods included searching websites and ongoing/unpublished studies, author searching and contacting experts. Eligibility criteria were based on the SPICE (Setting, Perspective, Intervention, Comparison, Evaluation) framework. Two quality assessments on methodology and involvement were undertaken. Results: A total of 93 records were included. Eight main themes were identified, mainly concerning facilitators and barriers to effective patient and carer involvement in palliative care research: definitions/roles, values/principles, organisations/culture, training/support, networking/groups, perspectives/diversity, relationships/communication and emotions/impact. Evidence on the impact of involvement was limited, but when carried out effectively, involvement brought positive benefits for all concerned, improving the relevance and quality of research. Evidence gaps were found in non-cancer populations and collaborative/user-led involvement. Conclusion: Evidence identified suggests that involvement in palliative care research is challenging, but not dissimilar to that elsewhere. The facilitators and barriers identified relate mainly to the conduct of researchers at an individual level; in particular, there exists a reluctance among professionals to undertake involvement, and myths still perpetuate that patients/carers do not want to be involved. A developed infrastructure, more involvement-friendly organisational cultures and a strengthening of the evidence base would also be beneficial.

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Development and pilot testing of the “focus on the person” form: Supporting care transitions for people with dementia

When people with dementia are hospitalised, their capacity to communicate with the staff may be limited, compounding risks of distress and other adverse outcomes. Opportunities for carers to share relevant information to inform appropriate person-centred care are also limited. This four-phase mixed methods study aimed to develop an evidence-based family carer–staff communication form, the Focus on the Person form, to address this concern. In Phase I, a literature review plus consultation with clinicians and carers informed form development. In Phase II, the professionally formatted form was piloted by 31 family carers, who were then interviewed about their experiences. These data, combined with data from 30 hospital staff members who participated in Phase III focus groups, led to final, Phase IV, refinements of the form. The form now provides an opportunity for families to inform the person-centred care of people with dementia in hospital, potentially improving outcomes for this vulnerable group. 

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A realist evaluation of a regional Dementia Health Literacy Project

Background: A Dementia Health Literacy Project was undertaken in the north coast region of NSW, Australia, after it was identified as having a high prevalence of dementia. A Dementia Support Kit was produced with service user engagement to provide useful information to people with dementia and their families. Objective: To evaluate the Dementia Health Literacy Project using a realist evaluation framework. Setting and participants: The setting was the region of the north coast of New South Wales. Eight people diagnosed with dementia and their carers, 13 members of social groups of older people in the local area, and 22 local GPs and other health‐care and service providers participated in this study. Results: Two context‐mechanism‐outcome configurations were identified: (a) co‐design workshops where the stakeholders' opinions were equally valued (context) led service users to feel listened to and prompted them to provide feedback (mechanism) to develop a practical resource that they would use (outcome); and (b) use of health professionals to distribute the resources (context) that they consider useful and valuable (mechanism) resulted in the target audience receiving the resources (outcome). Discussion and conclusions: The Dementia Health Literacy Project produced a Dementia Support Kit that is likely to provide locally relevant and useful information for people with dementia and their carers. The results highlight the value of the co‐design approach in producing and disseminating dementia health literacy resources. Further evaluation is required to confirm the impact of the Kit over time on service users' behaviour and consequently on their health outcomes.

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Mindfulness-based practices with family carers of adults with learning disability and behaviour that challenges in the UK: Participatory health research

Background: Family carers of adults with learning disability and behaviours that challenge lead complex and stressful lives. Their caring role can leave them isolated and unsupported. In the UK, effective services designed to build resilience for people in long-term caring roles are lacking. There are none (to our knowledge) designed using a participatory health research (PHR) approach with family carers and professionals.; Objective: With positive behaviour support (PBS) and mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) as key elements, a PHR approach was used to understand the basis for a successful course that supported the capabilities and resilience of family members in long-term caring roles.; Design: The research was guided by the principles of PHR with participation as the defining principle throughout. Central to the research were reflexive conversations (communicative spaces) where diverse knowledges were shared and critiqued.; Findings: Mindfulness/ACT can change long-standing response behaviours and build personal resilience and improve mental health. Elements enabling positive change included a facilitation approach for collaborative reflexivity and the complementary, interactive approach to collaborative enquiry for learning and decision making afforded by PHR.; Discussion: The use of PHR accessed knowledges that would have been lost to more traditional, professional-expert driven processes and facilitated change in constructs for action for both professionals and family carers. Findings challenge service providers to consider how experiential knowledge has agency in professional practice and service design. Reflection on the PHR process across the FaBPos project led to a re-consideration of quality issues in relation to PHR and participation.

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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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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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Stakeholder Engagement to Enhance Interventions for Family Caregivers of People with Dementia: A Case Study of Care to Plan

Family members are prominent providers of necessary care to persons with dementia. The psychological, emotional, and social costs of care have led to the development of interventions to support these families. Although evidence supports the effectiveness of dementia caregiver interventions, few have been implemented into practice. Stakeholder involvement may increase the potential for interventions to be integrated into community contexts. Utilization of community advisory boards (CABs) have been identified as a successful strategy to engage stakeholders in research and intervention development. Yet, little is known about the use of CABs when developing and refining interventions in dementia care. This article presents a case study of a CAB intended to inform the development and translation of an online dementia caregiver resource: Care to Plan. Qualitative thematic analysis of transcripts from seven CAB meetings over a 3-year period identified two major categories. First, the CAB process: who participated, how meetings were conducted, and issues that arose. Second, Care to Plan improvement: how CAB members provided key stakeholder perspectives resulting in changes in language, functionality, substance, and dissemination. Findings demonstrate how CABs can inform gerontological social work when facilitating the development, translation, and implementation of meaningful, community-based resources for dementia caregivers.

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Defining Essential Elements of Caregiver Support in Gynecologic Cancers Using the Modified Delphi Method

PURPOSE: Family caregivers are instrumental to patients with gynecologic cancer and can be deeply affected by the demands of caregiving. Our aims were as follows: (1) increase awareness of unmet needs of caregivers and (2) identify and prioritize the unmet needs of caregivers and essential support services to be provided in gynecologic cancer centers. METHODS: From July 2017 to June 2018, a 16-person steering committee and 40 stakeholders, including caregivers, patients, and clinicians, participated in a modified Delphi approach to generate, review, and prioritize a set of essential elements for caregiver support. Stakeholders prioritized caregiver needs and brainstormed, discussed, and prioritized essential support services to meet those needs, using three rounds of a consensus-building protocol. Basic descriptive statistics were performed to feed means and rankings back to stakeholders before each round. RESULTS: The top three caregiver needs were as follows: (1) to obtain information about their loved one's cancer, (2) how to provide support and comfort to their loved one, and (3) how to maintain their own emotional health and well-being. Fifteen essential elements of support for caregivers of patients with gynecologic cancer were identified and ranged from elements currently attainable (eg, information on managing symptoms, skilled-care training, a point person to help navigate the system) to more aspirational elements (eg, integrative services to promote caregiver well-being). CONCLUSION: To ensure comprehensive quality care, clinicians and health care providers should strive to provide caregivers with the identified essential elements of support. Health care settings should work to incorporate caregiver needs into cancer care delivery.

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Identifying and integrating patient and caregiver perspectives in clinical practice guidelines for percutaneous renal biopsy

Aim: Percutaneous renal biopsy is often essential for providing reliable diagnostic and prognostic information for people with suspected kidney disease, however the procedure can lead to complications and concerns among patients. This study aims to identify and integrate patient priorities and perspectives into the Kidney Health Australia – Caring for Australasians with Renal Impairment clinical practice guidelines for renal biopsy, to ensure patient‐relevance. Methods: We convened a workshop, consisting of three simultaneous focus groups and a plenary session, with 10 patients who had undergone a renal biopsy and seven caregivers. Topics and outcomes prioritized by patients and their caregivers were compared to those identified by the guideline working group, which was comprised of seven nephrologists. Transcripts and flipcharts were analyzed thematically to identify the reasons for participants' choices. Results: In total, 34 topics/outcomes were identified, 14 of which were common to the list of 28 previously identified by the guideline working group. Most of the new topics identified by patients/caregivers were related to communication and education, psychosocial support, and self‐management. We identified five themes underpinning the reasons for topic and outcome selection: alleviating anxiety and unnecessary distress, minimizing discomfort and disruption, supporting family and caregivers, enabling self‐management, and protecting their kidney. A new topic on patient care and education was added to the guideline as a result. Conclusions: Patient and caregiver involvement in developing guidelines on renal biopsy ensured that their concerns and needs for education, psychosocial support, and self‐management were explicitly addressed; enabling a patient‐centred approach to renal biopsies. Summary at a Glance: This paper, with a patient‐centred care perspective, provides opportunities to improve care for patients undergoing renal biopsy. Meanwhile, it identifies the importance of education, psychosocial support, and self‐management for both patients and caregivers.

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The Novel Use of Life Grids in a Phenomenological Study of Family Carers of People With Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities and Dysphagia

Life grids have been used in qualitative studies for the last two decades. They provide an activity which researcher and participant can focus their attention on, help build rapport, and reduce the control the researcher may hold within a session. Here we describe the novel use of life grids at the end of a data collection phase. Used in this previously unreported way, life grids assisted the closure of the data collection phase by summarizing the data collection and marking departure from the field. Creation of a life grid produced a tangible outcome, evidencing the work undertaken within the data collection period. They served as a powerful member checking tool, allowing participants to make additions and corrections to the data. In this article, the use of life grids in this novel way is described and recommended by the authors. 

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Advance care plans in dementia: User-centred design

Objectives: Historically, dementia has not been recognised as a life-limiting condition or one that may benefit from a palliative approach to its care. There are many challenges in providing palliative and end-of-life care to this group of people, some of which may be reduced through advance care planning (ACP) to support people with dementia to have a greater influence on their care at end of life. ACP has been defined as a process of discussing and recording of wishes, values and preferences for future care and treatment held between an individual, family members and their care provider(s) that takes effect when the person loses capacity. The objective of this project was to involve people with dementia and their family carers in co-design of ACP guide and template to prepare for further study related to communication processes in ACP. Methods: A user-centred design process cycle of development and review was undertaken by Dementia UK which involved people with dementia, family carers, Admiral Nurses and other key stakeholders in developing an ACP guide and template. Results: Nine cyclical stages were undertaken to achieve the outcome of an ACP guide and template. Conclusion: Co-production using a user-centred design approach offers a structured and inclusive approach to developing ACP materials.

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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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146Feasibility of a Resilience-Enhancing Resource for Family Carers of People with Dementia

Background: The WHO recommends involving carers in designing support programmes for people with dementia and their family carers. Moreover, researchers need to develop empowering and inclusive models of research in dementia care. Working with a network of current and former family carers of people with dementia, we co-designed an information and support resource to enhance the resilience of family carers of people with dementia. Branded Take Care of Yourself, the support resource comprises a website containing short video testimonials of family carers of people with dementia, supplemented with written materials. Methods: We conducted a study to establish the feasibility of the resource, in terms of its acceptability and usability among family carers of people with dementia. To test the feasibility of the resource, we developed a logic model in which we established short- medium- and long-term indicators of success, to identify which aspects of the resource were most effective in enhancing family carers’ resilience. To capture these indicators, we conducted a series of workshops among a purposive sample of current and former family carers of people with dementia and other stakeholders, including carers’ advocates and healthcare and support staff. Results: We report the findings of the feasibility study, with reference to the carers’ and other users’ experiences of and responses to the resource, including their perspectives on its content, quality, relevance and capacity to enhance resilience. We present our findings using thematic headings, supplemented with data extracts that exemplify the emergent themes. Conclusion: Consistent with the principles of empowerment and inclusion in research, support resources for family carers of people with dementia need to be developed in partnership with family carers themselves. Moreover, to be effective in meeting the needs of those for whom a resource is designed, the resource content must have fidelity and resonate with users’ real-world experiences.

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Supporting Family Caregivers of Seniors Within Acute and Continuing Care Systems

Family caregivers who provide care to seniors at no cost to the healthcare system are an integral part of the healthcare system. Caregiving, however, can cause significant emotional, physical and financial burden. We held a one-day symposium on how to best involve and support family caregivers in the healthcare system. The symposium brought together caregivers, healthcare providers, administrators and policy-makers to identify needs and make recommendations to address these issues. Methods Participants engaged in conversation circles which were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data were qualitatively analyzed alongside written notes provided by participants. Results Symposium participants identified a lack of both orientation and education for healthcare providers about family caregivers and standardized processes for assessing caregiver burden. They highlighted a need to ensure that the family experience is captured and included as an essential component of care, foster a culture of collaboration, expand the notion of the healthcare team to include family caregivers, provide more integrated palliative care, and enhance policies and programs to acknowledge family caregivers. Conclusion There is a need to recognize the essential role of family caregivers in seniors' health and well-being, and to take on a more comprehensive approach to patient care.

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Building on the recovery approach: the development of a conceptual model of service design for carers in mental health

Carers' views about their role in recovery are under-researched, and studies investigating their needs are underdeveloped. In this study, participatory action research was used; I was supported by a steering group of eight stakeholders to co-produce a training programme on recovery and data collection methods to explore the meaning of recovery for carers. The programme was delivered by me, an expert-by-experience with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and a carer of her son with a similar diagnosis, to a group of eleven participants. Mainly qualitative data was collected together with supplementary quantitative socio-demographic data from the participants. Selected findings based on the carers' discussions are presented which focus on how the relationship between carers and professionals can most effectively facilitate service user recovery. Issues of information exchange between carers and professionals and the impact of patient confidentiality are highlighted, the nature of recovery practice is considered, and the participants' need to be regarded as 'experts' is addressed. A conceptual model of service design based on a recovery-oriented 'triangle of care' is presented. The potential implementation of this model in the current UK mental health service context is considered with the need for co-production between all stakeholders to ensure its development. 

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Processes in an Experience-Based Co-Design Project With Family Carers in Community Mental Health

Experience-based co-design (EBCD) is a service design strategy that facilitates collaborative work between professional staff and service users toward common goals. There is a lack of published examples of it in relation to family carer engagement within a mental health context, and little research exploring the mechanisms behind successful implementation. The aim of this study was to explore the processes that facilitated EBCD with carer involvement. The study adopted a grounded theory–informed approach involving interviews with 16 participants of an existing EBCD project in an English National Health Service (NHS) trust, reflecting multiple stakeholders. EBCD can be thrown off track in two ways: conflict and getting “bogged down.” Leadership by project and design-group leaders could return group cohesion and maintain project momentum. The developed model reflects key processes. Future research should examine EBCD projects with similar ranges of stakeholders and in contexts with different levels of organizational change. 

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Research Commentary: A Carer’s Roadmap for Research, Practice, and Policy on Suicide, Homicide, and Self-Harm

Academic researchers are increasingly asked to engage with the wider world, both in terms of creating impact from their work, and in telling the world what goes on in university research departments. An aspect of this engagement involves working with patients, carers or members of the public as partners in research. This means working with them to identify important research questions and designing studies to address those questions. This commentary was jointly written by two researchers and people with relevant caring experience for this special issue. It brings to the forefront the concerns of carers who are also involved in research as partners. The aim is to highlight their perspectives to inform future research, policy, and practice.

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Healthcare and the Co-creation of Value: Qualifying the Service Roles of Informal Caregivers

The study advances the debate on the co-creation of value in healthcare by treating the informal caregivers as a key organizational resource for the providers. Using the Dialogue, Access, Risk, and Transparency (DART) model developed by Prahalad and Ramaswamy as an interpretative key, this qualitative paper frames the role of the informal caregivers within the multiple experiences of value co-creation in which they are engaged. The central argument is that the informal caregiver performs three intersecting key roles: patient's advocate, system navigator and coordinator of care.

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Co-design of a carers strategy for New South Wales: reflections on a new approach to collaborative policy making with carers

NSW is Australia's most populous state, with 7.7 million people (about a third of the Australian population). There are 905,000 carers in NSW. Carers provide ongoing unpaid support to people who need it because of their disability, chronic illness, mental ill-health, dementia or frail age. This article looks at the New South Wales (NSW) Carers Strategy 2014–19 (NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014), which is a whole-of-government and whole of-community response to support carers in NSW The aim is for carers in NSW to be supported to participate in social and economic life, to be healthy, and to live well.

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The tide is turning for carers

The authors explains how a growing UK-wide network, tide-together in dementia everyday, is ensuring that the expertise of carers influence dementia policy, research and practice. The network, created by carers for carers, does not provide direct support to services to people affected by dementia, so it's members are able to give completely impartial and independent feedback based soley on their lived experiences as carers. (Edited publisher abstract)

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A discrete choice experiment to explore carer preferences

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe a case study to test the applicability of the discrete choice experiment (DCE) method to assess the preferences of carers of people with dementia. The focus of enquiry was home care provision. Design/methodology/approach: A multi-method approach was adopted for this pilot study. A literature review identified key characteristics of home care for dementia. This informed consultations with lay representatives. Key attributes of home care for the DCE were identified and formed the basis for the schedule. In all, 28 carers were recruited by two voluntary organisations to complete the DCE. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to analyse the data. Findings: Seven attributes of home care for people with dementia were identified from the consultation. The use of the DCE approach permitted the identification of those most important to carers. Despite the modest sample, statistically significant findings were reported in relation to five of the attributes indicating their relevance. A lay involvement in the identification of attributes contributed to the ease of administration of the schedule and relevance of the findings. Originality/value: This study demonstrated the utility of a DCE to capture the preferences of carers of people with dementia and thereby gather information from carers to inform policy, practice and service development. Their involvement in the design of the schedule was critical to this process.

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Development of an optimised key worker framework for people with dementia, their family and caring unit living in the community

Background In Australia, dementia is a national health priority. With the rising number of people living with dementia and shortage of formal and informal carers predicted in the near future, developing approaches to coordinating services in quality-focused ways is considered an urgent priority. Key worker support models are one approach that have been used to assist people living with dementia and their caring unit coordinate services and navigate service systems; however, there is limited literature outlining comprehensive frameworks for the implementation of community dementia key worker roles in practice. In this paper an optimised key worker framework for people with dementia, their family and caring unit living in the community is developed and presented. Methods A number of processes were undertaken to inform the development of a co-designed optimised key worker framework: an expert working and reference group; a systematic review of the literature; and a qualitative evaluation of 14 dementia key worker models operating in Australia involving 14 interviews with organisation managers, 19 with key workers and 15 with people living with dementia and/or their caring unit. Data from the systematic review and evaluation of dementia key worker models were analysed by the researchers and the expert working and reference group using a constant comparative approach to define the essential components of the optimised framework. Results The developed framework consisted of four main components: overarching philosophies; organisational context; role definition; and key worker competencies. A number of more clearly defined sub-themes sat under each component. Reflected in the framework is the complexity of the dementia journey and the difficulty in trying to develop a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Conclusions This co-designed study led to the development of an evidence based framework which outlines a comprehensive synthesis of components viewed as being essential to the implementation of a dementia key worker model of care in the community. The framework was informed and endorsed by people living with dementia and their caring unit, key workers, managers, Australian industry experts, policy makers and researchers. An evaluation of its effectiveness and relevance for practice within the dementia care space is required.

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Stakeholder Meeting: Integrated Knowledge Translation Approach to Address the Caregiver Support Gap

Family caregivers are an integral and increasingly overburdened part of the health care system. There is a gap between what research evidence shows is beneficial to caregivers and what is actually provided. Using an integrated knowledge translation approach, a stakeholder meeting was held among researchers, family caregivers, caregiver associations, clinicians, health care administrators, and policy makers. The objectives of the meeting were to review current research evidence and conduct multi-stakeholder dialogue on the potential gaps, facilitators, and barriers to the provision of caregiver supports. A two-day meeting was attended by 123 individuals. Three target populations of family caregivers were identified for discussion: caregivers of seniors with dementia, caregivers in end-of-life care, and caregivers of frail seniors with complex health needs. The results of this meeting can and are being used to inform the development of implementation research endeavours and policies targeted at providing evidence-informed caregiver supports.

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Caring For Me and You: the co-production of a computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) package for carers of people with dementia

Objectives: Carers of people with dementia face barriers in accessing therapy for mental health difficulties. Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) packages can be effective in treating a range of presentations; however, tailored packages for carers' unique needs are lacking. Our aim was to design a cCBT package for carers to address the limitations of previous online interventions, by including users and experts as consultants and collaborators throughout the project. Method: We adopted a three-phase approach to the development process. Firstly, a data-gathering phase in which current literature and best practice was reviewed, and semi-structured interviews conducted with service users, academic and clinical experts. Secondly, a co-production and refinement phase with carers testing materials and providing feedback. Thirdly, a pilot field testing phase of service users and the research team testing the package. Results: The ‘Caring For Me and You’ package adopted a transdiagnostic approach to take account of the range of difficulties that carers face. The package consisted of 20 short sessions with features built in to engage users and personalise content to meet individuals' needs. Conclusion: User involvement was central to the design of the ‘Caring For Me and You’ package which is currently being evaluated in a three-arm randomised controlled trial.

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Promoting improved family caregiver health literacy: evaluation of caregiver communication resources

Objectives Family caregivers of cancer patients have a vital role in facilitating and sharing information about cancer, revealing a need to develop caregiver health literacy skills to support caregiver communication. The goal of this study was to investigate caregiver print materials and develop and assess a new caregiver communication resource titled A Communication Guide for CaregiversTM. Methods Using a model of six domains of caregiver health literacy skills, print cancer education materials were collected and evaluated for caregiver communication support. A new caregiver communication resource was also developed and assessed by caregivers and healthcare providers. Caregivers reviewed content and assessed utility, relatability, and reading quality. Healthcare providers also assessed whether the material would be understandable and usable for cancer caregivers. Results Only three of the 28 print materials evaluated were written at the recommended sixth grade reading level and only five addressed all six caregiver health literacy skills. Readability scores for A Communication Guide for CaregiversTM were at the sixth grade level, and caregivers reported its contents were relatable, useful, and easy to read. Healthcare providers also rated the material as easy for patient/family members of diverse backgrounds and varying levels of literacy to understand and use. Conclusions Existing print-based caregiver education materials do not address caregivers' health literacy skill needs and are aimed at a highly literate caregiving population. A Communication Guide for CaregiversTM meets health literacy standards and family caregiver and provider communication needs. The findings are relevant for healthcare professionals who provide cancer education. 

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Interconnections Between My Research and Experience as a Caregiver: Impacts on Empirical and Personal Perspectives

Shortly after I received my first R01 grant to study the health effects of caregiving, my sister and I became caregivers to our father. For the next 13 years, we helped him with activities of daily living (ADLs), accompanied him to doctors’ appointments, arranged for home health care, and finally for home hospice. At first, I was able to connect our assistance with ADLs, frustration with coordinating his care, and our psychological stress with my epidemiologic studies. My familiarity with the language of caregiving and long-term care helped us to navigate the medical and home care systems, and to be advocates for my father. However, as my father’s health declined, I felt an increasing disconnect between my research and my experience: communicating with physicians and other care providers, responding to crises and conversations with my sister about placing our father in a nursing home were greater sources of stress than my father’s dementia. These discrepancies made me realize that I could help caregivers more by helping them to negotiate these challenges than through performing quantitative research. So I enrolled in a counseling psychology program. My manuscript will chronicle the ways that caregiving changed me how my professional work did and did not help me as a caregiver how the developmental and family theories that I am learning in my psychology classes have expanded my understanding of stressors facing adult child caregivers, and how this entire experience ties into generativity and Third Chapter careers that build on midlife experiences.

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Improving Support for America's Hidden Heroes: A Research Blueprint

The United States is home to more than 21 million veterans, many of whom deployed to support combat operations around the globe during their military service and sustained service-related conditions or disabilities. Supporting these wounded, ill, and injured warriors once home are millions of informal caregivers-individuals who provide unpaid support with activities that enable the service member or veteran to live in a noninstitutionalized setting. In this study, researchers describe elements of a research blueprint to inform future efforts to improve support for military and veteran caregivers. To construct this blueprint, researchers inventoried currently available research on caregiving for disabled adults and children and gathered stakeholder input by conducting a survey and facilitating an online panel. The study highlights the need for more studies that examine how military and veteran caregiver needs evolve over time, how programs are working, and how caregiving affects specific subgroups. The resulting blueprint should serve as a guide for the caregiver support community to use in prioritizing and facilitating future research.

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Involving Caregivers of People With Dementia to Validate Booklets on Food-Related Activities: A Qualitative Think-Aloud Study

This study is the first to explore informal dementia caregivers' perceptions and outlook on written materials about all food-related processes: shopping, food preparation, and eating. The aim of the study was to develop and evaluate the content, format, and usefulness of two separate booklets (one newly developed and one existing) on food-related processes. Twenty dementia caregivers were provided with one of the two booklets, and a Think-Aloud method was used to gather information about their views on the booklets. The findings indicated that incorporating all three food processes in a new booklet could be beneficial for the participant. Shopping, purchasing food, driving, and dangers in the kitchen were addressed only in the developed booklet, and participants regarded them as important and useful areas to address. Therefore, this study has shown that tailored information may enhance caregivers' confidence and support them in making decisions to help them adapt to food-related changes.

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Building a Rehabilitative Care Measurement Instrument to Improve the Patient Experience

Objective: To develop and test face and content validity, and user interface design of a rehabilitative care patient experience measure.; Design: Mixed methods, cross-sectional validation study that included subject matter expert input. Cognitive interviewing tested user interface and design.; Setting: Outpatient rehabilitative care settings.; Participants: Subject matter experts (n=3), health care providers (n=137), and patients and caregivers (n=5) contributed to the question development. Convenience and snowball sampling were used to recruit rehabilitative care patients postdischarge (n=9) for cognitive interviews to optimize survey design and user interface (N=154).; Interventions: Not applicable.; Main Outcome Measure: This novel survey instrument measures 6 concepts previously identified as key to outpatient rehabilitative care patients' experience: ecosystem issues, client and informal caregiver engagement, patient and health care provider relations, pain and functional status, group and individual identity, and open-ended feedback.; Results: 502 survey questions from psychometrically tested instruments, secondary data from a related ethnographic study, and consultations with health care providers, patients, caregivers, and subject matter experts, were analyzed to create a 10-item questionnaire representing 6 key constructs that influence patient experience quality. Cognitive interviewing with 9 patients (3 rounds of 3 participants each), produced 3 progressively edited versions of the survey instrument. A final version required no further modifications.; Discussion: Rehabilitative care clients have characteristics that differentiate their experience from that of other sectors and patient groups, warranting a distinct experience measure. The survey instrument includes a parsimonious set of questions that address strategic issues in the ongoing improvement of care delivery and the patient experience in the rehabilitative care sector.; Conclusion: The rehabilitative care patient experience survey instrument developed has an acceptable user interface, and content and face validity. Psychometric testing of the survey instrument is reported elsewhere.

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Priorities for caregiver research in cancer care: an international Delphi survey of caregivers, clinicians, managers, and researchers

Purpose: With an increased investment in psychosocial caregiving research, it becomes critical to establish the need for data of key stakeholders and future strategic directions. The purpose of this international Delphi study was to engage caregivers, clinicians, researchers, and managers to identify priority topics for caregiver research in cancer care.; Methods: A three-round, online Delphi survey took place. In round 1, stakeholders generated caregiver research topics by answering an open-ended question. Content analysis of stakeholders' answers identified topics to be included in the round 2 survey to rate their importance. The round 3 survey included topics with less than 80% agreement for stakeholders to reconsider in light of other participants' responses.; Results: In round 1, eighty-six topics were generated by 103 clinicians, 63 researchers, 61 caregivers, and 22 managers and grouped into 10 content areas: impact of cancer, support programs, vulnerable caregivers, technology, role in health care, caregiver-centered care, knowledge translation, environmental scan, financial cost of caregiving, and policy. Across rounds 2 and 3, nine topics achieved consensus for all stakeholder panels (e.g., home care interventions), with three of these emphasizing more research needed on the financial impact of informal caregiving (e.g., financial impact of "burnout" for caregivers and society). Of note, vulnerable caregivers and use of technology were content areas prioritized particularly by managers and researchers, but not caregivers.; Conclusion: By establishing a confluence of perspectives around research priorities, this study ensures the interests of key stakeholders are integrated in strategic directions, increasing the likelihood of research capable of influencing practice, education, and policy.

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A step-by-step translation of evidence into a psychosocial intervention for everyday activities in dementia: a focus group study

Objective: In order to increase the efficacy of psychosocial interventions in dementia, a step-by-step process translating evidence and public engagement should be adhered to. This paper describes such a process by involving a two-stage focus group with people with dementia (PwD), informal carers, and staff.; Methods: Based on previous evidence, general aspects of effective interventions were drawn out. These were tested in the first stage of focus groups, one with informal carers and PwD and one with staff. Findings from this stage helped shape the intervention further specifying its content. In the second stage, participants were consulted about the detailed components.; Findings: The extant evidence base and focus groups helped to identify six practical and situation-specific elements worthy of consideration in planning such an intervention, including underlying theory and personal motivations for participation. Carers, PwD, and staff highlighted the importance of rapport between practitioners and PwD prior to commencing the intervention. It was also considered important that the intervention would be personalised to each individual.; Conclusions: This paper shows how valuable public involvement can be to intervention development, and outlines a process of public involvement for future intervention development. The next step would be to formally test the intervention.

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The development of service user-led recommendations for health and social care services on leaving hospital with memory loss or dementia - the SHARED study

Background Health and social care services are under strain providing care in the community particularly at hospital discharge. Patient and carer experiences can inform and shape services. Objective To develop service user-led recommendations enabling smooth transition for people living with memory loss from acute hospital to community. Design Lead and co-researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with 15 pairs of carers and patients with memory loss at discharge, 6 and 12 weeks post-discharge and one semi-structured interview with health and social care professionals and Admiral Nurses. Framework analysis was guided by co-researchers. Two focus groups of study participants, facilitated by co-researchers, met to shape and finalize recommendations. Setting and participants Recruitment took place in acute hospitals in two National Health Service (NHS) Trusts in England. Patients were aged 65 and over, with memory loss, an in-patient for at least 1 week returning to the community, who had a carer consenting to be in the study. Results Poor delivery of services caused considerable stress to some study families living with memory loss. Three key recommendations included a need for a written, mutually agreed discharge plan, a named coordinator of services, and improved domiciliary care services. Discussion and conclusions Vulnerable patients with memory loss find coming out of hospital after an extended period a stressful experience. The SHARED study contributes to understanding the hospital discharge process through the eyes of the patient and carer living with memory loss and has the potential to contribute to more efficient use of resources and to improving health outcomes in communities. 

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Involving healthcare professionals and family carers in setting research priorities for end-of-life care

It is important to ensure regional variances are considered when setting future end-of-life research priorities, given the differing demographics and service provision. This project sought to identify end-of-life research priorities within Greater Manchester (United Kingdom). Following an initial scoping exercise, six topics within the 10 national priorities outlined by The Palliative and end-of-life care Priority Setting Partnership were selected for exploration. A workshop involving 32 healthcare professionals and a consultation process with 26 family carers was conducted. Healthcare professionals and carers selected and discussed the topics important to them. The topics selected most frequently by both healthcare professionals and carers were 'Access to 24 hour care', 'Planning end-of-life care in advance' and 'Staff and carer education'. Healthcare professionals also developed research questions for their topics of choice which were refined to incorporate carers' views. These questions are an important starting point for future end-of-life research within Greater Manchester.

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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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Culture shift: carer empowerment and cooperative inquiry

Government policy has directed local services to address the needs of carers as a way of maintaining care in the community. This study was initiated to enable carers to develop an information pack based upon their identified needs. Cooperative inquiry was the method used to ensure full participation of the carers. Group meetings were already in existence through a charity organization who provides a carers support network. The first author participated in a number of carers group meetings. Cooperative inquiry was used to clarify a number of themes identified and reflective cycles ensured that those themes remained relevant. It was found that carers did want to be involved in their relative's care, not as passive recipients but as collaborative care providers. To do this they need to be fully informed of the processes of care provision. Carers need information that is relevant, easily accessible and obtainable in varying degrees of comprehension. This study suggests that a culture shift within mental health nursing is necessary if professionals are to recognize that a perceived lack of support may lead to a breakdown in relationships between the carer, the person being cared for and the professionals.

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