DOI: 10.1177/00469580231217981 ISSN: 0046-9580

A Qualitative Analysis of Mechanisms of Benefit in the Residential Care Transition Module: A Telehealth Intervention for Caregivers of Relatives With Dementia Living in Residential Long-Term Care

Elizabeth A. Albers, Robyn W. Birkeland, Katie W. Louwagie, Hawking Yam, Zachary G. Baker, Mary S. Mittelman, Joseph E. Gaugler
  • Health Policy

This study sought to determine the perceived benefits of the Residential Care Transition Module (RCTM), a novel multi-component, psychoeducational/psychosocial, telehealth intervention for caregivers of cognitively impaired relatives living in residential long-term care (RLTC). Few support programs exist for these caregivers. Determining the intervention’s mechanisms of benefit will provide actionable clinical and research information regarding which key features aspects RLTC and public health agencies should offer their families. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 purposively selected participants randomly assigned to receive the RCTM. Additionally, an open-ended survey question solicited feedback at 4 (n = 90), 8 (n = 79), and 12 months (n = 77). Available qualitative data were analyzed for thematic content. Participants endorsed 9 mechanisms of benefit. Six mechanisms were related to RCTM content: education dementia progression and dementia behavior management, personalized resource provision, strategies for communication and engagement with the care recipient (CR) and others, management of multiple roles, and relaxation exercises. Three mechanisms were related to coaching: emotional support, knowledgeability, and being a neutral third party. Common benefits attributed to RCTM included improvement in mood, caregiving confidence, and communication and interactions with CR and others. Using qualitative data and analyses, we discovered the most valued aspects of the RCTM intervention. These mechanisms of benefit have not been described in the literature. Notably, we were unable to detect mechanisms of benefit in a separate analysis utilizing quantitative data. Findings emphasize the importance of including qualitative measures in intervention research and selecting quantitative measures that reflect the intervention’s real effects, if any.

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