PURPOSE: Interventions delivered using telehealth modalities are becoming standard practice with patient populations around the world, partly because of innovation necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and partly due to improved infrastructure and comfort of providers, patients, and families, through technology. Though increasingly utilized, the effectiveness of telehealth interventions with families with dementia remains unclear. This gives rise to the need for investigation to develop telehealth interventions that are evidence based and not merely convenient tools. This current study is designed to systematically examine the impact and effectiveness of telehealth-delivered psychoeducational and behavioral interventions among persons with dementia and their caregivers.
DESIGN: The design combines systematic review and meta-analysis.
METHODS: A total of eight databases were electronically accessed and searched as of November 16, 2021. Experimental studies identifying the results of telehealth interventions for persons with dementia and associated caregivers published in English have been reviewed in this study. Standardized mean differences (SMD) offering 95% confidence intervals (CI) were developed to pool the effect size using a random effects model (in this case, Stata 16.0). The Revised Cochrane Risk-of-Bias Tool for Randomized Trials (RoB-2) was used to analyze the study's methodological soundness.
FINDINGS: Nineteen cases met the eligibility criteria (including 1379 persons with dementia and 1339 caregivers). Overall, telehealth interventions demonstrated effects in the expected directions on depression (SMD -0.63; 95% degree of confidence intervals (CI) -0.88 to -0.38, p < 0.001); and caregivers' perceived competency (SMD 0.27; 95% CI -0.05 to 0.50, p = 0.02). There were, however, no statistically significant effects observed on cognitive function or multiple aspects of quality of life for subjects.
CONCLUSIONS: Telehealth interventions appear to effect a reduction in depression among persons diagnosed with dementia while improving the perceived competency of caregivers.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The study's results could be used as evidence of the effectiveness of using telehealth for persons with dementia and their caregivers, including contextualizing where they are used (i.e., long-term care facilities, private homes, etc.), understanding the mechanisms in play (including intervention delivery and systems), and isolating and identifying mediating influences.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 Sigma Theta Tau International.
- persons with dementia