Caring for carers of people with dementia : a protocol for harnessing innovation through deploying leading edge technologies to enable virtual support groups and services
Parkingson, L, Banbury, A, Livingstone, A, Gordon, S, Ray, B, Byrne, L, Nancarrow, S, Doran, C, McAllister, M, Petersen, C, Pedell, S & Wood, D 2018, 'Caring for carers of people with dementia : a protocol for harnessing innovation through deploying leading edge technologies to enable virtual support groups and services', Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, vol. 246, pp. 29-41.
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In rural Australia, knowledge and utilisation of support by informal carers is lacking. During the caregiving period, socioemotional support from family and friends plays an important role in sustaining caregiving activities. Post-care, these social networks facilitate adjustment to role change and dealing with grief. Developing and improving access to peer support to enable carers to effectively cope with the challenges of caring may positively influence their caring experience. The primary objective of this project is to examine the response of isolated rural carers for older people with dementia to a videoconference (VC) based peer support and information program. Will participation in the program improve self-efficacy, quality of life, and mental health? Secondary objectives are to develop a VC based peer support program for isolated rural carers for older people with dementia, using a co-design approach; and to assess the feasibility of VC technology for enhancing social support to family caregivers in their homes. This project will collaboratively co-design and evaluate a facilitated VC peer support and information program to carers of people with dementia within rural areas. Carers will be recruited through community health and care providers. Program development will use an information sharing approach to facilitate social interaction. A focus of the project is to use off-the-shelf technology which will be more accessible than specialised bespoke solutions that are currently popular in this area of research. A mixed methods repeated measures randomized wait list design will be used to evaluate the project. The primary outcomes are self-efficacy, quality of life, and mental health. Secondary outcomes are perceived social support and user satisfaction with the technology, and intention to continue VC interaction.