Tailored videoconferencing counselling program to support family carers of people living with dementia during the transition to permanent residential care: a pilot and feasibility randomised trial

Deborah Brooks, Katy Wyles, Nancy A. Pachana, Elizabeth Beattie, Joseph E. Gaugler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Decisions surrounding the permanent residential care placement of people living with dementia can be stressful and distressing; however, providing access to targeted information and support prior to placement may help carers better cope. This mixed methods study aimed to test the feasibility, acceptability, and potential benefits of providing a tailored, individual counselling program (the Residential Care Transition Module), delivered via videoconferencing, to Australian family carers of a relative with dementia during the transition to permanent residential care. Methods: A total of 18 family carers were randomly allocated to receive either the counselling intervention (six sessions delivered over 12 weeks) or a check-in call, delivered by a trained Transition Counsellor. Both groups received help-sheets about residential care, coping with placement, and managing feelings. Carers completed online surveys about stress, guilt, anxiety, depression, grief, and support for caring at baseline and four months post-baseline. Carers were also invited to participate in semi-structured exit interviews, conducted after follow-up surveys were completed. Process data relating to recruitment, retention, intervention dose and delivery were collected via logs. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and repeated measures ANOVA. Qualitative data, relating to feasibility, acceptability, and perceived benefits of the program, were analysed using the ‘framework’ approach developed by the Medical Research Council to inform the process evaluation of complex interventions. Results: Qualitative findings indicated that delivery of the counselling program during the transition period was deemed by participants to be feasible and acceptable. Delivery via videoconferencing was deemed convenient and acceptable, with few technical issues. The skills and knowledge of the Transition Counsellor were perceived to be important mechanisms of impact. Though not statistically significant, promising quantitative findings were identified in terms of reduced carer stress and guilt and improved support for caring. Conclusions: Delivery of a tailored counselling program via videoconferencing to family carers of people living with dementia during the transition to residential care was feasible and acceptable. The program has the potential to improve transitional support to family carers. Trial registration: This study was registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12621001462875.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number375
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • Counselling
  • Dementia
  • Family carers
  • Nursing home
  • Psychosocial support
  • Residential care
  • Transition
  • Videoconferencing

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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