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Adapting and testing an intervention for carers of people with dementia

Caring for someone with dementia can put strain on family supporters. The carer’s ability to stay emotionally and physically well is crucial for both the carer and the person with dementia. Preparing for such change is important and can be supported. In the CARECOACH project, we are building on work carried out in the Netherlands, where a ‘Partner in Balance’ intervention has already been shown to reduce the burden and stress of caring for a family member or friend with dementia (Boots et al., 2018).


  • We will develop a UK version of the Partner in Balance programme combining face-to-face sessions, a web-based home programme and support from a coach. The Carecoach support package will include additional film clips and other materials to ensure good connection with the UK population and care situations
  • We will work with family carers and healthcare professionals to develop and test our new blended care approach – to really make sure it works in real life
  • We will then carry out a feasibility study across seven sites, before testing the effects of PiBUK, in a randomised controlled trial in 26 sites
  • We will find out how the programme impacts on carers’ sense of being able to care well, their mood and their quality of life.


The project is led by Dr Jane Cross, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia and Prof Chris Fox from Norwich Medical School, in collaboration with the University of Bradford, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Nottingham, the University of Amsterdam, and Maastricht University.

Collaborators include Dementia UK, the Alzheimer’s Society, the TIDE network of carers, former carers and health and care professionals (Together In Dementia Everyday) and INTERDEM (the European network on research into early detection and timely intervention in dementia). Software will be developed by Ilionx.

Jan Oyebode, Professor of Dementia Care, is co-leading a key work package of the project on Carer Experience.


Reference: Boots, L. M., de Vugt, M. E., Kempen, G. I., & Verhey, F. R. (2018). Effectiveness of a blended care self-management program for caregivers of people with early-stage dementia (partner in balance): randomized controlled trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 20(7), e10017.


The project is funded through an NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research (£1,902,039).