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

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Highlights

  • This study aimed to determine whether delivery of a dyadic dementia care program using telehealth methods was noninferior to delivery of the same program using the traditional face-to-face home visit delivery methods

  • We found no significant differences between groups for the primary or secondary outcomes following intervention suggesting that telehealth was noninferior.

  • Findings suggest that adaptation of evidence based dyadic interventions can be adapted for telehealth delivery and as such will increase accessibility.

Abstract

Objective

This study aimed to determine whether delivery of a dyadic intervention using telehealth was noninferior to delivery of the same program using traditional face-to-face delivery through home visits.

Design

We conducted a noninferiority randomized controlled trial.

Participants

Participants had a diagnosis of dementia, were living in the community, and had an informal caregiver who reported difficulties in managing activities of daily living or behavioral symptoms.

Intervention

Participants were randomized to receive either telehealth or home visit delivery of the same intervention program.

Measurements

The primary outcome was the Caregiving Mastery Index, secondary outcomes included caregiver’s perceptions of change, activities of daily living function, and type and frequency of behavioral symptoms of persons living with dementia. Therapists delivering the intervention recorded the time spent delivering the intervention as well as travel time.

Results

Sixty-three dyads were recruited and randomized. Both groups reported improvements for the primary outcome, however, these were not statistically significant. There were no significant differences between groups for the primary outcome (mean difference 0.09 (95% confidence interval −1.26 to 1.45) or the secondary outcomes at 4 months. Both groups reported significant improvements in caregiver’s perceptions of change. The amount of time spent delivering the content of the program was similar between groups, however offering the intervention via telehealth significantly reduced travel time (mean 255.9 minutes versus mean 77.2 minutes, p <0.0001).

Conclusion

It is feasible to offer dyadic interventions via telehealth and doing so reduces travel time and results in similar benefits for families.

Key Words

BACKGROUND

The majority (70%) of people with dementia live in their own home and rely on family members and friends for assistance.

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  • Rainer S
  • Thomas D
  • Tokarz D
  • et al.
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