Empowering dementia carers with an iSupport virtual assistant (e-DiVA) in Asia-Pacific regional countries: Protocol for a pilot multisite randomized controlled trial

Tuan Anh Nguyen, Kham Tran, Adrian Esterman, Bianca Brijnath, Lily Dongxia Xiao, Penelope Schofield, Sunil Bhar, Nilmini Wickramasinghe, Ronald Sinclair, Thu Ha Dang, Sarah Cullum, Yuda Turana, Ladson Hinton, Katrin Seeher, Andre Q. Andrade, Maria Crotty, Susan Kurrle, Stefanie Freel, Thang Pham, Thanh Binh NguyenHenry Brodaty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Dementia is a global public health priority with an estimated prevalence of 150 million by 2050, nearly two-thirds of whom will live in the Asia-Pacific region. Dementia creates significant care needs for people with the disease, their families, and carers. iSupport is a self-help platform developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide education, skills training, and support to dementia carers. It has been adapted in some contexts (Australia, India, the Netherlands, and Portugal). Carers using the existing adapted versions have identified the need to have a more user-friendly version that enables them to identify solutions for immediate problems quickly in real time. The iSupport virtual assistant (iSupport VA) is being developed to address this gap and will be evaluated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Objective: This paper reports the protocol of a pilot RCT evaluating the iSupport VA. Methods: Seven versions of iSupport VA will be evaluated in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Vietnam in a pilot RCT. Feasibility, acceptability, intention to use, and preliminary impact on carer-perceived stress of the iSupport VA intervention will be assessed. Results: This study was funded by the e-ASIA Joint Research Program in November 2020. From January to July 2023, we will enroll 140 dementia carers (20 carers per iSupport VA version) for the pilot RCT. The study has been approved by the Human Research Committee, University of South Australia, Australia (203455). Conclusions: This protocol outlines how a technologically enhanced version of the WHO iSupport program-the iSupport VA-will be evaluated. The findings from this intervention study will provide evidence on the feasibility and acceptability of the iSupport VA intervention, which will be the basis for conducting a full RCT to assess the effectiveness of the iSupport VA. The study will be an important reference for countries planning to adapt and enhance the WHO iSupport program using digital health solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere33572
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Volume10
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Dementia
  • Digital health
  • Informal carer
  • ISupport
  • Virtual assistant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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