Blended psychosocial support for partners of patients with ALS and PMA: results of a randomized controlled trial

Jessica De Wit, Anita Beelen, Constance H.C. Drossaert, Ruud Kolijn, Leonard H. Van Den Berg, Carin D. SchrÖder, Johanna M.A. Visser-Meily*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Objective: To evaluate whether a blended (face-to-face and online) psychosocial support program for caregivers of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Progressive Muscular Atrophy (PMA), aimed at enhancing feeling of control over caregiving, reduces psychological distress. Methods: A randomized controlled trial using a wait-list control design was conducted. Caregiver-patient dyads were randomly assigned to either the support program (n = 74) or to a wait-list control group (n = 74). The support program, based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, consists of 1 face-to-face contact, 6 online guided modules and 1 telephone contact. Participants filled in questionnaires at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Caregivers’ feeling of control over caregiving was assessed using two self-efficacy measures. Primary outcome was caregivers’ psychological distress. Secondary outcomes included caregiver burden, caregiver quality of life and patients’ quality of life and psychological distress. Intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were performed using linear mixed models. Results: The support program had no effect on the primary or secondary outcomes, despite a significant positive effect on the intervening variable self-efficacy with regard to control over thoughts. Almost half of the caregivers did not complete the intervention with the most frequently reported reason being lack of time. Caregivers who completed the intervention evaluated the support program positively. Conclusions: The support program did not reduce distress of partners of patients with ALS/PMA but may be beneficial by increasing feeling of control over the caregiving situation. The high level of intervention drop outs may have limited the ability to detect an intervention effect. Trial registration: Netherlands Trial Registry NTR5734, registered 28 March 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-354
Number of pages11
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Volume21
Issue number5-6
Early online date2 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Caregivers
  • progressive muscular atrophy
  • psychological distress
  • psychosocial support
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

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