A telephone intervention for dementia caregivers: background, design, and baseline characteristics
Year of Publication 2013
Family caregivers of individuals with dementia are at heightened risk for emotional and mental health problems. Many caregivers do not seek assistance or become isolated in their caregiving role. Multi-component interventions have demonstrated efficacy for reducing emotional distress and burden, although these approaches are potentially costly and are not widely accessible. In response to these issues, we developed the Family Intervention: Telephone Tracking – Caregiver (FITT-C), which is an entirely telephone-based psychosocial intervention. The purpose of this paper is to describe the study design, methodology, and baseline data for the trial. This study uses a randomized controlled trial design to examine the efficacy of the FITT-C to reduce depressive symptoms and burden in distressed dementia caregivers. All participants (n=250) received a packet of educational materials and were randomly assigned to receive 6 months of the FITT-C intervention or non-directive telephone support. The FITT-C intervention was designed to reduce distress in caregivers and is based on the McMaster Model of Family Functioning, transition theory, and Lazarus and Folkman’s Stress and Coping Models. The primary dependent variables were depressive symptoms (Centers for Epidemiological Studies – Depression) and burden (Zarit Burden Interview, Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist – Reaction). Secondary outcome measures included family functioning, self-efficacy, and health-related quality of life. Results of the study will provide important data about the efficacy of a telephone-based approach to reduce distress in dementia caregivers.; © 2013.