Evaluating the CARE4Carer Blended Care Intervention for Partners of Patients With Acquired Brain Injury: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

Vincent Cm Cox, Vera Pm Schepers*, Marjolijn Ketelaar, Caroline M van Heugten, Johanna Ma Visser-Meily

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Support programs for partners of patients with acquired brain injury are necessary since these partners experience several unfavorable consequences of caregiving, such as a high burden, emotional distress, and poor quality of life. Evidence-based support strategies that can be included in these support programs are psychoeducation, skill building, problem solving, and improving feelings of mastery. A promising approach would seem to be to combine web-based support with face-to-face consultations, creating a blended care intervention.

Objective: This paper outlines the protocol of a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the CARE4Carer blended care intervention for partners of patients with acquired brain injury.

Methods: A multicenter two-arm randomized controlled trial will be conducted. A total of 120 partners of patients with acquired brain injury will be recruited from five rehabilitation centers in the Netherlands. The blended care intervention consists of a nine-session web-based support program and two face-to-face consultations with a social worker. Themes that will be addressed are: giving partners insight into their own situation, including possible pitfalls and strengths, learning how to cope with the situation, getting a grip on thoughts and feelings, finding a better balance in the care for the patient with acquired brain injury, thinking about other possible care options, taking care of oneself, and communication. The intervention lasts 20 weeks and the control group will receive usual care. The outcome measures will be assessed at baseline and at 24- and 40-week follow-up. The primary outcome is caregiver mastery. Secondary outcome measures are strain, burden, family functioning, emotional functioning, coping, quality of life, participation, and social network.

Results: The effect of the intervention on the primary and secondary outcome measures will be determined. Additional a process evaluation will be conducted.

Conclusions: The findings of this study will be used to improve the care for partners of patients with acquired brain injury. Barriers and facilitators that emerge from the process evaluation will be used in the nationwide implementation of the intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
Number of pages9
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2018


  • Journal Article
  • telemedicine
  • randomized controlled trial
  • caregivers
  • brain injuries
  • internet

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