Project Overview +

WeCare is a novel tool with the potential to significantly improve quality of life for families by changing how one of the most pernicious and challenging aspects of the disease of dementia, behavioral symptoms, are monitored and managed at home.  This proposal addresses the public health imperative to enhance dementia care supported by the recently passed National Alzheimer�s Plan Act, and the World Health Organization�s 2012 report on dementia that urged nations to develop a better standard of care for this devastating illness.

Related Media +

Related Media:

Aims +

Aim 1. Identify in a diverse set of patients, caregivers and their providers (total n=60) a) areas of perceived need for education about assessment and management of behavioral symptoms, b) understanding of treatment options, and c) preferences for formatting of the WeCare tool. 

Aim 2. Develop and evaluate the WeCare tool.

Aim 3. Evaluate effects of the WeCare tool on caregiver upset and confidence in the treatment group who receives the WeCare tool (n=30 dyads) compared to a waitlist control group (n=30 dyads) at 1-month.

Participants +

Community persons with dementia, their caregivers, and providers. Turner Senior Resource Center (TRSC) and Turner Senior Resource Center Silver Club at Brown Chapel AME (Ypsilanti, Michigan) will serve as the study sites. The TSRC is home to a number of programs for persons with memory loss and their caregivers. The affiliated Silver Club at Brown Chapel (SCBC), created for African-American persons with dementia and their caregivers, will assist in ensuring diversity of the Phase I sample.

Intervention +

Phase I: Three caregiver focus groups (n=8 each; 24 total) will be recruited from the TSRC and SCBC, the two provider focus groups (n=8 each; 16 total) will be recruited from participating UM clinics. Subjects will be asked about their beliefs regarding behavioral symptoms of dementia and their treatment. In addition to the focus groups, we will conduct in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews with caregiver-person with dementia dyads (n=10 dyads for a total of 10 caregivers and 10 persons with dementia).

Phase II: Development and testing of the WeCare tool.

Phase III: A total of 60 caregiver-person with dementia dyads will be recruited from the Phase III study sites in Ann Arbor and Baltimore (30 each) through a variety of methods. We will randomize 30 dyads to a treatment group that receives the WeCare tool immediately (15 at each site), and 30 dyads (15 at each site) to a waitlist control (who receive the WeCare tool one month later).

An Innovative Caregiver Tool to Assess and Manage Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia

09/01/2012 - 05/31/2016


National Institute of Nursing Research

Principal Investigators:

Helen C. Kales, MD, PPA
Laura N. Gitlin, PhD