Elizabeth Cridland

Investigating the efficacy of an online intervention aiming to increase respite use amongst carers of people with dementia: Roles of motivational enhancement and professional delivery

2015 AADRF Project Grant
Project Snapshot

The benefits of respite for both carers and people with dementia are well established. However, research indicates many carers and people with dementia are reluctant to use respite services and strategies. This project aims to understand these barriers and learn more about ways to facilitate carers’ use of respite services and strategies by developing and comparing three online programs. The first program will include motivation enhancing activities, such as developing a ‘respite goal’, and will be delivered by a health professional. The second program will include motivation enhancing activities in a self-paced format (i.e., not delivered by a health professional). The third program will provide education about respite services and strategies only. By directly comparing the outcomes of these programs, project findings will provide valuable information to inform the design of future online programs to support carers of people with dementia accessing respite services and strategies.

Detailed Project Summary

In addressing known barriers to respite utilisation by carers of people with dementia, this project aims to explore the efficacy of online interventions for improving carer knowledge about, attitudes towards, and uptake of respite services and strategies. The experimental design comprises of three online interventions: a motivational intervention delivered by a health professional; a self-delivered motivational intervention; and an education only intervention. The motivationally informed interventions are hypothesised to be more effective in accomplishing carer respite goals than the education only intervention. Furthermore, whilst both motivationally informed interventions will involve an assessment of carer values, strengths, and needs, the intervention delivered by a health professional is hypothesised to be more effective. Delivering these interventions online will be cost-effective thereby reducing access barriers, and also builds on preliminary research indicating positive outcomes for online groups for carers of people with dementia. By directly comparing these delivery formats, project findings will contribute to our understanding of the relative efficacy of informational, motivational, and professional components of online interventions for carers. In doing so, findings will help target cost intensive respite interventions for carers.   

Where are they now?

Dr Cridland is a registered psychologist involved in both clinical research and practice. Her research interests involve understanding ways to support individuals with cognitive impairment, and their family. Her role as a Research Fellow at the Australian Health Services Research Institute (ASHRI), University of Wollongong primarily involves working on her AADRF grant which is investigating the utility of a professionally delivered online intervention for carers of people with dementia.