Recruiting Dementia Caregivers Into Clinical Trials: Lessons Learnt From the Australian TRANSCENDENT Trial

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Abstract

The burden on those caring for a person with dementia is substantial. Although quality research assists in addressing the needs of these caregivers, recruiting caregivers into clinical studies is often problematic. This investigation explores the difficulties and successes in recruiting dementia caregivers into community-based clinical research by reporting the findings of a mixed-method substudy of a multicenter randomized controlled trial involving 40 community-dwelling dementia caregivers living in Adelaide, South Australia. Data for the substudy were derived from standardized trial monitoring documentation and structured telephone interviews. From a total of 16 distinct methods used across a 12-month recruitment campaign, the most cost-effective strategy was the distribution of flyers through a single study site. This approach generated the greatest number of enrollments of all methods used, achieving a 67% recruitment yield. The least cost-effective strategy, with a 0% recruitment yield, was the publication of a newspaper advertisement. Themes that emerged from the interviews pointed toward 5 key facilitators and 3 barriers to future trial recruitment. This study has generated new insights into the effective recruitment of dementia caregivers into clinical trials. We anticipate that these lessons learnt will assist in shaping the recruitment strategies of future studies of dementia caregivers.

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