Night Home Monitoring System Improves Caregiver Health-Related Outcomes

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Background: Evidence continues to accumulate regarding the deleterious effects that the caregiving role can have on individuals who care for persons with dementia. It is critical to both understand the aspects of the caregiving role that may foster poor health as well as to develop interventions to ameliorate these effects. One area of concern is caregiver sleep and vigilance. Most caregivers report sleep problems and these have been documented well in subjective measures of sleep and to some degree in objective measures of sleep. Caregivers report very high levels of vigilance with indicating that vigilance is required 24 hours of the day with the caregiver being in the same room as the care recipient. Both poor sleep and high levels of vigilance have been associated with health changes including changes in cognitive and cardiovascular domains.

Methods: A night home monitoring system was developed to assist caregivers' management of the care recipient during the night. The system provides reliable alerts so that the caregiver can provided targeted assistance but sleep soundly when not needed. A repeated measures, clinical trial of the device was conducted with both a quantitative and qualitative arm.

Results: In the qualitative study, caregivers reported greater peace of mind and lower levels of worry and vigilance. These benefits translated into better mood during the day, higher levels of self-care activity and increased engagement in social activities.

Conclusions: Research is continuing to understand the physiologic changes that accompany the perceptions of improved well-being.

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Alzheimer's & Dementia, v. 9, issue 4, p. P516