Internet support for informal caregivers of people with dementia: Improving caregivers’ mental health and wellbeing

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NetherlandsVU University Netherlands

Early Stage Researcher (ESR14)

Ángel C. Pinto Bruno

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Prof. Annemiek van Straten (VU, Amsterdam)

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Prof. Anne Margriet Pot (WHO, Geneva)

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Dr. Annet Kleiboer (VU, Amsterdam)

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Ángel C. Pinto Bruno is an Early Stage Researcher in the project ‘Internet support for informal caregivers of people with dementia: Improving caregivers’ mental health and wellbeing’ at VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

He has completed a BSc in Psychology (2012) and an MSc degree in Humanities and Social Sciences Research (2015) at Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain.

In addition, Ángel has been working in the field of dementia since 2014, researching on ICT cognitive remediation therapies and developing different ICT programmes that could improve the situation of people living with dementia and their caregivers.

His research interests include dementia, e-Health, psychoeducation and quality of life.

Start date September 2016
Duration 36 months


To test the usability and effectiveness of iSupport, an online support programme to enhance self-help, skills, and support for caregivers of people with dementia. The first Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) will be carried out in India. The study group of informal carers of people with dementia will be randomised to either the interactive iSupport programme or a comparison group receiving basic information only. Outcomes that will be measured include for example: caregiver burden, depression, anxiety, mastery, and person-centred attitude.

The online programme iSupport has been developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with an international expert panel, also including Alzheimer Disease International. It consists of 5 modules (Introduction to Dementia; Being a Caregiver; Caring for me; Providing Everyday Care; Dealing with Challenging behaviours), containing 23 lessons in total. All lessons are based on small exercises. The program will become available via personal computers, tablets and smartphones.

Expected Results

The ESR who will be based at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam will be involved in analysing and publishing the data of the RCT in India and help to foster a worldwide multi-centre study.

Planned secondment(s)

To improve understanding of the iSupport programme and the global context in which it has been developed, a first secondment is planned at WHO, Geneva, Switzerland (months 12 to 15), followed by a secondment in month 24-27 at the University of Nottingham.



Egan, K. J., Pinto-Bruno, A. C., Bighelli, I., Berg-Weger, M., van Straten, A., Albanese, E., & Pot, A. M. (2018). Online Training and Support Programs Designed to Improve Mental Health and Reduce Burden Among Caregivers of People With Dementia: A Systematic Review. J Am Med Dir Assoc, 19(3), 200-206.e201. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2017.10.023