Background: People living with Alzheimer disease and related dementias (ADRD) require prolonged and complex care that is primarily managed by informal caregivers who face significant unmet needs regarding support for communicating and coordinating across their informal care network. To address this unmet need, we developed CareVirtue, which provides (1) the ability to invite care network members; (2) a care guide detailing the care plan; (3) a journal where care network members can document, communicate, and coordinate; (4) a shared calendar; and (5) vetted geolocated caregiver resources.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate CareVirtue’s feasibility based on: (1) Who used CareVirtue? (2) How did caregivers use CareVirtue? (3) How did caregivers perceive the acceptability of CareVirtue? (4) What factors were associated with CareVirtue use?

Methods: We conducted a feasibility study with 51 care networks over a period of 8 weeks and used a mixed methods approach that included both quantitative CareVirtue usage data and semistructured interviews.

Results: Care networks ranged from 1 to 8 members. Primary caregivers were predominantly female (38/51, 75%), White (44/51, 86%), married (37/51, 73%), college educated (36/51, 71%), and were, on average, 60.3 (SD 9.8) years of age, with 18% (9/51) living in a rural area. CareVirtue usage varied along 2 axes (total usage and type of usage), with heterogeneity in how the most engaged care networks interacted with CareVirtue. Interviews identified a range of ways CareVirtue was useful, including practically, organizationally, and emotionally. On the Behavioral Intention Scale, 72% (26/36) of primary caregivers reported an average score of at least 3, indicating an above average intention to use. The average was 81.8 (SD 12.8) for the System Usability Scale score, indicating “good” usability, and 3.4 (SD 1.0) for perceived usefulness, suggesting above average usefulness. The average confidence score increased significantly over the study duration from 7.8 in week 2 to 8.9 in week 7 (P=.005; r=0.91, 95% CI 0.84-0.95).

Conclusions: This study establishes the acceptability and feasibility of CareVirtue among ADRD care networks and highlights the importance of designing flexible, multicomponent interventions that allow care networks to tailor their engagement according to their needs. The results will be used to improve CareVirtue feasibility and acceptability in preparation for a subsequent randomized trial to test CareVirtue’s effectiveness in improving caregiver outcomes.

Full JMIR article here.