A randomised controlled trial of the Learning Skills Together (LST) intervention to improve dementia family caregivers’ self-efficacy with complex care

Kylie Meyer, Kyungmi Lee, Sutthinee Thorngthip, Patricia Burant, Megan Lippe, Daria Neidre, Carole White, Rocio Norman, Byeong Yeob Choi, Crystal M. Glover, Janice Bell, Kenneth Hepburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nearly two-thirds of family caregivers of persons living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (AD/ADRD) provide complex care, including medical care. Family caregivers typically receive little to no training on how to provide this care. Furthermore, family caregivers simultaneously grapple with the presence of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), diminished communication abilities, and comorbidities such as diabetes. We developed Learning Skills Together (LST), a 6-week digitally delivered psychoeducational program, to facilitate family caregiver abilities to administer complex care tasks. The goal of the present study is to test the efficacy of LST and to reduce adverse outcomes associated with caregiving, such as depressive symptomology and negative appraisal of BPSD. Methods: To test the efficacy of LST, we will conduct a two-arm single-site randomized controlled trial (RCT) with N = 200 family caregivers of persons living with AD/ADRD. Eligible family caregivers will be randomly assigned to participate in either the LST intervention or a structurally equivalent control condition focused on healthy living. All family caregivers will complete four surveys, including a baseline survey administered prior to randomization, a post-intervention survey, and a 3- and 6-month follow-up survey to assess change in study outcomes. Between-group comparisons of each outcome will be evaluated using generalized estimating equation models. Mediation analyses will assess family caregiver self-efficacy as the intervention’s mechanism of change in depressive symptomology and BPSD. We will also examine caregiver race, ethnicity, and gender as effect modifiers of the intervention. Discussion: LST findings will inform the field of AD/ADRD and caregiving regarding optimally supporting family caregivers in managing complex care tasks. If efficacious, the LST intervention will support family caregivers in preserving their own mental health while providing complex care. Trial registration: Clinical Trials.gov NCT05846984. This study was registered on May 6, 2023.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number369
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia
  • Family caregiving
  • Non-pharmacological intervention
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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