NIH/NINR – Addressing Caregiver Symptoms through Technological Tools (R21, R01 Clinical Trial Optional)

October 19, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The following description was taken from the R01 version of this FOA.

In the US, over 40 million individuals undertake daily caregiving for a family member or loved one. While the demographics of caregivers are varied, what remains constant is that caregivers are an at-risk population due to the well-documented psychological and physical strains of caregiving. Anxiety, depressive symptoms, loss of energy, sleep disturbance, and irritability are frequently reported by caregivers. The presence of these symptoms adds to the health burden for those caregivers who must manage their own conditions/illnesses, further impacting the ability to provide care. Additionally, caregivers experience social isolation and a reduced quality of life because of their caregiving responsibilities.

The 2017 NINR-led Summit, “Science of Caregiving: Bringing Voices Together” underscored the need to develop evidence-based interventions to support caregivers of all ages and with varied responsibilities, e.g., caring for a high-needs child or an aging parent with dementia. For these reasons, it is imperative to identify and implement new ways to prevent or mitigate the symptoms that arise because of the caregiving experience.

This FOA encourages research that addresses caregiver symptoms and quality of life through the use of technology. A wide range of technologies should be considered, including assistive medical devices, remote communication and monitoring tools, sensors (wearables, in-home devices), mobile technologies, alert systems. Machine learning approaches are encouraged to enhance our understanding of caregivers’ ongoing symptoms and changing needs for addressing their symptoms. Research proposed through this initiative can assess the relative effectiveness of existing strategies or seek to provide more innovative and far-reaching tools. Additional research areas can focus on the validation of current tools and apply “co-care” models of caregiver-patient communication. Any technological tools proposed should be appropriately tailored to the caregiving situation and symptoms targeted. All strategies should consider age, gender, racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity as these factors may drive the types of communication, support and care needs required of caregivers.

Research Objectives include, but are not limited to, those that:

  • Identify, test, and evaluate technologies aimed at symptom recognition and assessment in caregivers
  • Implement technologies aimed at improving provision of care that in turn can prevent or alleviate distressing symptoms in caregivers
  • Develop and test technologies that reduce caregiver symptoms or symptom clusters
  • Assess use of technology in varied caregiving situations and capacity of technology to monitor trajectories of symptoms
  • Identify components of technological tools that promote sustained use by caregivers in addressing symptoms

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the NINR Scientific/Research Contact to discuss proposed research ideas prior to submission of the application.

Deadlines:  standard dates and standard AIDS dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities