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Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention (BESI)

Unknown status

The goal of this study is to develop and evaluate a tool to help caregivers recognize dementia-related agitation and intervene before the distress escalates. The tool is designed to help reduce caregiver burden and extend aging-in-place for people with dementia.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
50 Years N/A All No
May 2016
August 2019

  • Diagnosis of dementia
  • Living in one home for at least 2 months without hospitalization
  • Stable caregiver who is seeking support for caregiving needs

  • Hospitalization in the last 2 months
  • Multiple and inconsistent caregivers
  • Living in multiple homes

Studies have shown that dementia-related agitation is a major factor in caregivers' decision to place people with dementia in institutions. The tool being tested in this study, Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention (BESI), is intended to empower caregivers to reduce the frequency and severity of agitation in people they care for, resulting in reduced caregiver stress and increased aging-in-place and quality of life.

BESI is a system of body-worn sensors and in-home acoustic, light, temperature, and motion sensors. The sensors produce data that can be analyzed to detect and assess agitation and the environment in which it occurs. The tool notifies the caregiver when the cared-for person is exhibiting early signs of agitation or when the environment reflects conditions that have led to agitation in the past. This notification enables the caregiver to intervene before agitation escalates.

Participants will wear wristband devices, and sensors will be installed in the home. Caregivers will be asked to complete diaries. 

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904 Recruiting John Lach, Ph.D

University of Virginia

  • Carilion Clinic
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Name Phone Email
John Lach, PhD
Tonya Smith-Jackson, PhD


Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention for Dementia Caregiver Empowerment