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The UP-TECH project, an intervention to support caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients in Italy: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial


Chiatti, Carlos, Masera, Filippo, Rimland, Joseph M., Cherubini, Antonio, Scarpino, Osvaldo, Spazzafumo, Liana, Lattanzio, Fabrizia


Trials, Volume: 14, Pages.: 155-155

Year of Publication



Background: The epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) represents a significant challenge for the health care and social service systems of many developed countries. AD affects both patients and family caregivers, on whom the main burden of care falls, putting them at higher risk of stress, anxiety, mortality and lower quality of life. Evidence remains controversial concerning the effectiveness of providing support to caregivers of AD patients, through case management, counseling, training, technological devices and the integration of existing care services. The main objectives of the UP-TECH project are: 1) to reduce the care burden of family caregivers of AD patients; and 2) to maintain AD patients at home.; Methods/design: A total of 450 dyads comprising AD patients and their caregivers in five health districts of the Marche region, Italy, will be randomized into three study arms. Participants in the first study arm will receive comprehensive care and support from a case manager (an ad hoc trained social worker) (UP group). Subjects in the second study arm will be similarly supported by a case manager, but in addition will receive a technological toolkit (UP-TECH group). Participants in the control arm will only receive brochures regarding available services. All subjects will be visited at home by a trained nurse who will assess them using a standardized questionnaire at enrollment (M0), 6 months (M6) and 12 months (M12). Follow-up telephone interviews are scheduled at 24 months (M24). The primary outcomes are: 1) caregiver burden, measured using the Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI); and 2) the actual number of days spent at home during the study period, defined as the number of days free from institutionalizations, hospitalizations and stays in an observation unit of an emergency room.; Discussion: The UP-TECH project protocol integrates previous evidence on the effectiveness of strategies in dementia care, that is, the use of case management, new technologies, nurse home visits and efforts toward the integration of existing services in an ambitious holistic design. The analysis of different interventions is expected to provide sound evidence of the effectiveness and cost of programs supporting AD patients in the community.; Trial Registration: NCT01700556.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Chiatti_2013, doi = {10.1186/1745-6215-14-155}, url = {}, year = 2013, publisher = {Springer Nature}, volume = {14}, number = {1}, pages = {155}, author = {Carlos Chiatti and Filippo Masera and Joseph M Rimland and Antonio Cherubini and Osvaldo Scarpino and Liana Spazzafumo and Fabrizia Lattanzio}, title = {The {UP}-{TECH} project, an intervention to support caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients in Italy: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial}, journal = {Trials} }


activities of daily living, adaptation psychological, alzheimer disease, caregivers, case management, clinical protocols, cost of illness, delivery of health care integrated, diagnosis, economics, equipment design, health care costs, home care services, house calls, housing, humans, italy, lighting, psychology, quality of life, questionnaires, research design, social work, support, technological, therapy, time factors, toolkit, transducers, treatment outcome

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease

Types of Study

Cost and service use study, Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

Carer Burden (instruments measuring burden), Service use or cost reductions (incl. hospital use reduction, care home admission delay)


Extra Care Housing

Type of Interventions

Intervention for Carers, Non-pharmacological Treatment, Technology (telephone, telecare, telehealth, robots, GPS)

Risk Factor Modifications

At risk population

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Case management / Care navigator

Carer Focussed Interventions

Information and Advice, Other, Training programmes / workshops including behavioural training