ReThink Respite Online

ReThink Respite Online

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

Dementia Research Foundation
Duration: March 2016 - March 2017


Despite the established benefits of respite, many carers of people with dementia are reluctant to use or are unaware of services or strategies which may provide them respite from their caring role. The ReThink Respite Online Project aimed to address the barriers to respite use by developing an online education and support program for carers of people with dementia. The intervention was delivered online in an attempt to increase access to the program and investigate the utility of an online intervention. The online program was developed from the ReThink Respite project run in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region during 2016.

What we did

Formative research for the online program involved adapting the ‘ReThink Respite’ coaching manual and developing a user-friendly online platform. Project resources included 10 education modules in an email format, online ‘coaching space’ (using the Adobe Connect platform), and a tailored website which featured an online discussion forum, ‘respite experiences’ videos, and various tools and resources for participants. All project resources were reviewed by current carers of people with dementia to confirm their relevance and suitability.

The program includes information about the service system and the different types of respite services and strategies available. The program adopts a motivational approach and facilitates participants to develop a personal goal to work towards over the course of the program. Additionally, participants are encouraged to consider how their personal strengths and values may assist their organisation and use of respite services/strategies. Other topics include information and activities about day centre respite, in-home and flexible respite, counselling and support groups, residential respite, emergency respite, informal respite, and various respite strategies.

The project used an experimental design to compare the efficacy of three online interventions, which included a group receiving the education modules with online coaching sessions with a health professional; a group receiving the education modules with access to an online discussion forum with other carers; and a control group (i.e., receiving the education modules only).

The project is continuing to recruit participants. Participant feedback will be collected for analysis to determine the efficacy of the project. Feedback is also being collected from the health professionals who delivered the online coaching sessions, who were provisionally registered psychologists involved in the project as part of their student placements.

Last reviewed: 30 January, 2017

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