Yeonsu Song, PhD, RN, FNP is an Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing at UCLA with joint appointment as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine and an Affiliated Investigator at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Currently she is leading a pilot clinical trial of a face-to-face intervention program which primarily focuses on improving sleep among AD patients and their caregivers as a part of her K award. This proposed administrative supplement focuses on addressing mental health and sleep issues using telehealth among this vulnerable group during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also address issues related to adherence to social distancing and safer-at-home orders that may exacerbate sleep and mental health symptoms during this pandemic. This supplement will provide her with additional training opportunities and preliminary data necessary for her to prepare an independent research grant. Career development and training plan: New training areas include telehealth and mental health. Mentors in her current K award will continue to provide Dr. Song with their expertise for this supplement: Drs. Jennifer Martin (behavioral telehealth medicine), Cathy Alessi (sleep medicine), Michael Irwin (depression and sleep), and Edmond Teng (assessment of AD). A new consultant (Dr. Mary Cadogan) in this supplement will also guide Dr. Song to refine the mental health-related intervention components including depression and anxiety in a telehealth platform. Dr. Song will draw on resources available through UCLA?s School of Nursing, CTSI, UCLA?s Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, and the VA Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center. She will also complete additional training activities. Research plan: The current proposal aims to evaluate the feasibility of a dyadic telehealth program addressing sleep and psychological symptoms (depression and anxiety) related to the COVID-19. In the first phase of the project, we will refine the telehealth intervention with input and feedback from three dyads. In the second phase of the study, we will pilot test the program in a one-group, pretest-posttest design with 12 dyads. Participants will be assessed at baseline and post-intervention on sleep, depression, and anxiety. The telehealth intervention program will involve 6 sessions and include new strategies addressing psychological symptoms as well as behavioral sleep strategies used for her current K award project. A unique aspect of the proposed work is that it targets the most common health issues of both members of the group arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic in a telehealth format. It will generate feasibility data on delivering dyadic behavioral strategies (e.g., techniques of behavioral activation and social engagement) tailored to telehealth and increase adaptability in multiple community settings.

Public Health Relevance

This study aims to refine and evaluate feasibility of a telehealth intervention for persons with Alzheimer?s disease and their caregivers. The intervention will use evidence-based techniques for decreasing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and poor sleep, that are commonly reported among this vulnerable group during the COVID-19 pandemic. Improved symptoms among this group may improve their other health outcomes and quality of life and furthermore the quality of care that caregivers provide for persons with Alzheimer?s disease during this challenging time.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Onken, Lisa
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University of California Los Angeles
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
United States
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Fung, Constance H; Martin, Jennifer L; Josephson, Karen et al. (2018) Cognitive Expectancies for Hypnotic Use among Older Adult Veterans with Chronic Insomnia. Clin Gerontol 41:130-135
Song, Yeonsu; McCurry, Susan M; Fung, Constance H et al. (2018) Sleep and Caregiving Experiences among Caregivers of Veterans in an Adult Day Health Care Program: A Pilot Study. Clin Gerontol 41:167-171
Song, Yeonsu; Washington, Donna L; Yano, Elizabeth M et al. (2018) Caregiving-Related Sleep Problems and Their Relationship to Mental Health and Daytime Function in Female Veterans. Behav Sleep Med 16:371-379
Hughes, Jaime M; Song, Yeonsu; Fung, Constance H et al. (2018) Measuring Sleep in Vulnerable Older Adults: A Comparison of Subjective and Objective Sleep Measures. Clin Gerontol 41:145-157
Song, Yeonsu; Harrison, Stephanie L; Martin, Jennifer L et al. (2017) Changes in Caregiving Status and Intensity and Sleep Characteristics Among High and Low Stressed Older Women. J Clin Sleep Med 13:1403-1410
Dzierzewski, Joseph M; Song, Yeonsu; Fung, Constance H et al. (2015) Self-reported sleep duration mitigates the association between inflammation and cognitive functioning in hospitalized older men. Front Psychol 6:1004