Family Caregiver Self-Management of the Unmet Needs of Persons with Dementia
Investigator: Sarah Morgan, PhD, RN

Persons with moderate to severe dementia may be unable to communicate their needs in a way that caregivers can recognize. Dr. Christine Kovach and colleagues have been successful in teaching professional caregivers in long term care settings to address discomfort and other unmet needs by responding to behavioral changes using the Serial Trial Intervention (STI).

The purpose of this study is to test the feasibility and cost of:
  • A newly designed intervention, the Caregiver Self-Management of Unmet Needs (C-SUM).

In consultation with Dr. Kovach, the C-SUM was designed as an adaptation of the STI so as to translate the work into the community setting. This innovative intervention teaches family caregivers to self-manage the needs of persons living with dementia in order to reduce unmet needs—thereby reducing their discomfort, agitation, and stress, as well the caregiver’s own burden and stress levels.

The project is being carried out in two phases:

Phase One
  • assesses intervention feasibility
Phase Two
  • pilot study will test intervention efficacy on five outcome variables:
    • caregiver stress
    • caregiver burden
    • family member stress
    • discomfort
    • agitation.
The overall intent is to reduce negative factors that, over time, can lead a caregiver to place their family member in long-term care