Background: For the rising number of people living with dementia, cost-effective community-based interventions to support psychosocial care are needed. The FindMyApps intervention has been developed with and for people with dementia and their caregivers, to help them use tablets to facilitate self-management and engagement in meaningful social activities. A feasibility study and exploratory pilot trial evaluating FindMyApps have been carried out. This definitive trial further evaluates the effectiveness of the intervention and, for the first time, the cost-effectiveness.
Methods: A randomized controlled non-blinded single-center two-arm superiority trial will be conducted. Community-dwelling people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), or dementia with a Mini Mental-State Examination (MMSE) of > 17 and < 26, or Global Deterioration Scale 3 or 4, with an informal caregiver and access to a wireless internet connection will be included. In total, 150 patient-caregiver dyads will be randomly allocated to receive either usual care (control arm - tablet computer; n = 75 dyads) or usual care and the FindMyApps intervention (experimental arm - tablet computer and FindMyApps; n = 75 dyads). The primary outcomes are: for people with dementia, self-management and social participation; for caregivers, sense of competence. In addition to a main effect analysis, a cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed. In line with MRC guidance for evaluation of complex interventions a process evaluation will also be undertaken.
Discussion: Results of the trial are expected to be available in 2023 and will be submitted for publication in international peer-reviewed scientific journals, in addition to conference presentations and reporting via the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie DISTINCT ITN network By providing evidence for or against the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the FindMyApps intervention, the results of the trial will influence national implementation of FindMyApps. We hope that the results of the trial will further stimulate research and development at the intersection of technology and psycho-social care in dementia. We hope to further demonstrate that the randomized controlled trial is a valuable and feasible means of evaluating new digital technologies, to stimulate further high-quality research in this growing field.