Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention

Conditions:Alzheimer Disease, Neurology
Therapuetic Areas:Neurology
Age Range:50 - Any
Start Date:May 2016
End Date:August 2019

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Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention for Dementia Caregiver Empowerment

This 3-phase research plan to employ Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention
(BESI) will overcome the fundamental scientific barriers to realizing prediction of agitation
episodes and detection early stages of dementia related agitation. The goal of which is
empowering caregivers to intervene early and ultimately reduce agitation, thus reducing
caregiver burden and extending aging-in-place and improving the associated quality-of-life
and cost benefits.

The dementia syndrome of Alzheimer's disease and other disorders is rapidly expanding due to
the aging of society and the longevity of citizens. In its varying stages, care of the
dementia syndrome requires differing sets of skills from the caregivers, and more skilled
intervention is required as the disease progresses. These caregivers experience increased
burden due to the challenges and stresses of caring. A recent systematic review of caregiver
burden factors revealed dementia-related agitation to be the most prevalent factor leading
caregivers to institutionalize community-dwelling loved ones with dementia. Tools that
empower caregivers to proactively reduce the incidents and severity of agitation would reduce
stress and increase self-efficacy, thereby extending aging-in-place and the associated
quality-of-life and cost benefits.

This project proposes to develop, deploy, and evaluate such a tool and to address the
fundamental scientific challenges to realizing the benefits of such a technology to
caregivers and persons with dementia (PWD). The tool - BESI: Behavioral and Environmental
Sensing and Intervention - will be an empowerment tool for caregivers of community-dwelling
PWD. BESI comprises:

1. a system of body-worn inertial sensors and in-home acoustic, light, temperature, and
motion sensors,

2. data analysis techniques to detect and assess agitation and environmental context from
these sensor streams,

3. models for the relationship between agitation and the environment that are trained for
each PWD-caregiver dyad based on a&b, and

4. automated real-time notifications to the caregiver based on b&c (e.g., detection of
early agitation stages or of an environment (cumulative and/or instantaneous based on
the models) that has led to agitation in the past), empowering the caregiver to
intervene before agitation escalation.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Diagnosis of dementia

- Living in one home for at least 2 months without hospitalization

- Caregiver seeking support for caregiving needs

- Have a stable caregiver

- Be able to provide consent or assent

Exclusion Criteria:

- Hospitalization in the last 2 months

- Multiple and inconsistent caregivers

- Living in multiple homes

- Unable to provide consent or assent

- No known dementia
We found this trial at
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
(434) 924-0311
Principal Investigator: Azziza Bankole, M.D.
University of Virginia The University of Virginia is distinctive among institutions of higher education. Founded...
Charlottesville, VA
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