Article

Systematic review of information and support interventions for caregivers of people with dementia

Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK.
BMC Geriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.68). 02/2007; 7(1):18. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2318-7-18
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Dementia is an important health and social care problem and is one of the main causes of disability in later life. The number of families affected by dementia will dramatically increase over the next five decades. Despite the implications for health and social care services in the future, the overwhelming majority of care for people with dementia takes place away from health care settings. Providing informal care for someone with dementia can be psychologically, physically and financially expensive and a range of health service interventions aimed at supporting and providing information to these carers has developed to help carers meet these demands. This review examines whether information and support interventions improve the quality of life of people caring for someone with dementia.
A systematic review examining evidence from randomised controlled trials in which technology, individualised or group-based interventions built around the provision of support and/or information were evaluated.
Forty-four studies were included in the review. Controlling for the quality of the evidence, we found statistically significant evidence that group-based supportive interventions impact positively on psychological morbidity. However, whilst the improvement was unlikely to be due to chance, the clinical significance of this finding should be interpreted tentatively, due to the difficulties in interpreting the standardised mean difference as a measure of effect and the complex aetiology of depression. No evidence was found for the effectiveness of any other form of intervention on a range of physical and psychological health outcomes.
There is little evidence that interventions aimed at supporting and/or providing information to carers of people with dementia are uniformly effective. There is a pressing need to ensure that supportive interventions at the development stage are accompanied by good quality randomised evaluations in which outcomes that are important to clinicians and carers are measured.

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    • "on effects on caregiver health and well-being (Goy, Kansagara, & Freeman, 2010; Sorensen, Pinquart, & Duberstein, 2002; Thompson et al., 2007; Visser-Meily, van Heugten, Post, Schepers, & Lindeman, 2005), not on patient outcomes. A summary of the evidence, therefore, is needed to determine viable strategies for improving patient outcomes . "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: We conducted a systematic review to evaluate whether caregiver-involved interventions improve patient outcomes among adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Method: We identified and summarized data from randomized controlled trials enrolling adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease by searching MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and other sources. Patient outcomes included global quality of life, physical and cognitive functioning, depression/anxiety, symptom control and management, and health care utilization. Results: We identified 31 trials; 20 compared a caregiver intervention with usual care or usual care with promise of intervention at completion of study period. Fifteen compared one caregiver intervention with another individual or caregiver intervention (active control). Compared with usual care or active controls, caregiver-involved interventions had low to insufficient strength of evidence and did not consistently improve patient outcomes. Discussion: Evidence is insufficient to endorse use of most caregiver interventions to improve outcomes for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
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    • "In addition, no supportive effect on the caregivers' well-being was observed during the 36 months of follow-up. Well-designed follow-up intervention studies are warranted (Thompson et al., 2007). Psychosocial interventions have been criticized as having low intensity or being provided during too short a period. "
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