Using Technology to Deliver Evidence-Based Interventions to Alzheimer Caregivers

Period of Performance: 09/30/2014 - 08/31/2015


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Hofmeier and Zurawski Enterprieses, Inc.
Lake Bluff, IL 60044
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Family caregiving is a growing public health concern and caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias need appropriate, timely, and ongoing training to successfully meet their caregiving responsibilities. Well-designed interventions can significantly reduce risks to caregivers'mental health and improve care recipient outcomes. However, few interventions are successfully translated into everyday practice. Most of those that have been successful rely on in-person, professionally led delivery methods, which make them inaccessible to the majority of family caregivers. The product to be developed in this STTR is a six-course, evidence-based Caregiver Skill Building intervention that will be available via online or mobile formats for family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. The six on-demand interactive multimedia training courses make up an integrated web-based product that teaches family caregivers who lack healthcare knowledge and skills how to care for someone with Alzheimer'disease or dementia, how to increase their care management skills, and how to decrease their own stress and burden. The product is novel because it is the only existing caregiver training solution that incorporates all of the following features in a single integrated product: a) based on intervention techniques proven to be effective in formal clinical trials;b) focuses on developing caregivers'care management skills rather than teaching facts;c) interactive, giving the caregiver opportunities to apply their knowledge to realistic scenarios and receive instant feedback;d) comprehensive, covering a broad range of topics;and e) convenient, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from any location with internet access, without the input of a professional facilitator. Two primary markets for the product are individual caregivers who will purchase the product for their own use, and health care agencies and organizations who will purchase the product as a resource for their clients who are caregivers. A market research study with current caregivers of persons with dementia suggests that 48 percent of caregivers would be likely to purchase the product at the price of $25, which could produce sales of approximately $70 million. Phase I established the feasibility of translating intervention content from an in-person to a web-based format. Caregivers responded very positively to eLearning and significantly increased their skills in managing dementia-related behavioral problems (t=4.84;p<.0001), establishing the preliminary effectiveness of the product. Specific aims of Phase II are to: 1) Develop the remaining four courses that make up the integrated six- course Caregiver Skill Building intervention product, using both online and mobile formats;and 2) Establish effectiveness of the online Caregiver Skill Building training product as measured by a significant improvement in caregivers'care management skills, and a significant decrease in caregivers'burden and depression at 3 and 6 months after viewing.