Examining the benefits and harms of Alzheimer's disease screening for family members of older adults: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Nicole R. Fowler, Katharine J. Head, Anthony J. Perkins, Sujuan Gao, Christopher M. Callahan, Tamilyn Bakas, Shelley D. Suarez, Malaz A. Boustani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Multiple national expert panels have identified early detection of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) as a national priority. However, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not currently support screening for ADRD in primary care given that the risks and benefits are unknown. The USPSTF stresses the need for research examining the impact of ADRD screening on family caregiver outcomes. Methods: The Caregiver Outcomes of Alzheimer's Disease Screening (COADS) is a randomized controlled trial that will examine the potential benefits or harms of ADRD screening on family caregivers. It will also compare the effectiveness of two strategies for diagnostic evaluation and management after ADRD screening. COADS will enroll 1800 dyads who will be randomized into three groups (n = 600/group): the 'Screening Only' group will receive ADRD screening at baseline and disclosure of the screening results, with positive-screen participants receiving a list of local resources for diagnostic follow-up; the 'Screening Plus' group will receive ADRD screening at baseline coupled with disclosure of the screening results, with positive-screen participants referred to a dementia collaborative care program for diagnostic evaluation and potential care; and the control group will receive no screening. The COADS trial will measure the quality of life of the family member (the primary outcome) and family member mood, anxiety, preparedness and self-efficacy (the secondary outcomes) at baseline and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. Additionally, the trial will examine the congruence of depressive and anxiety symptoms between older adults and family members at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months and compare the effectiveness of two strategies for diagnostic evaluation and management after ADRD screening between the two groups randomized to screening (Screening Only versus Screening Plus). Discussion: We hypothesize that caregivers in the screening arms will express higher levels of health-related quality of life, lower depressive and anxiety symptoms, and better preparation for caregiving with higher self-efficacy at 24 months. Results from this study will directly inform the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, the USPSTF and other organizations regarding ADRD screening and early detection policies. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03300180. Registered on 3 October.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number202
JournalTrials
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 19 2020

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Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Benefits
  • Caregivers
  • Dementia
  • Family
  • Harms
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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