Training Community Consultants to Help Family Members Improve Dementia Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial

ArticleinThe Gerontologist 45(6):802-11 · January 2006with23 Reads
Impact Factor: 3.21 · DOI: 10.1093/geront/45.6.802 · Source: PubMed


    We investigated whether community consultants could be trained to teach family caregivers a systematic behavioral approach for reducing mood and behavior problems in persons with Alzheimer's disease.
    This study consisted of a randomized controlled trial; we randomly assigned 95 family caregivers and care recipients with Alzheimer's disease to STAR-caregivers (STAR-C) or control groups. Masked interviewers conducted assessments at baseline, after treatment, and after 6 months. Consultants were master's-level health care professionals who were currently practicing in community settings serving older adults. We assessed the extent to which consultants were able to learn and adhere to the treatment protocol, and the relationship between adherence and measures of caregiver mood, burden, and care recipient mood and behavior.
    Community consultants were able to learn and adhere to the behavioral treatment protocol. Caregivers receiving STAR-C training showed significant improvements in depression, burden, and reactivity to behavior problems in the care recipient. There were also significant reductions in the frequency and severity of care recipient behavior problems, and improved quality of life. Results were maintained at 6-month follow-up.
    Community-based consultants successfully implemented a behavioral intervention with family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease. Consequently, STAR-C seems to be a practicable and reasonable evidenced-based approach to caregiver training in actual clinical settings.