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Research & theory

The effect of caregiver support interventions for informal caregivers of community-dwelling frail elderly: a systematic review

Authors:

Maja Lopez Hartmann ,

BE
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Johan Wens,

BE
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Veronique Verhoeven,

BE
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Roy Remmen

BE
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Abstract

Introduction: Informal caregivers are important resources for community-dwelling frail elderly. But caring can be challenging. To be able to provide long-term care to the elderly, informal caregivers need to be supported as well. The aim of this study is to review the current best evidence on the effectiveness of different types of support services targeting informal caregivers of community-dwelling frail elderly.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed in Medline, PsychINFO, Ovid Nursing Database, Cinahl, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and British Nursing Index in september 2010.

Results: Overall, the effect of caregiver support interventions is small and also inconsistent between studies. Respite care can be helpful in reducing depression, burden and anger. Interventions at the individual caregivers' level can be beneficial in reducing or stabilizing depression, burden, stress and role strain. Group support has a positive effect on caregivers' coping ability, knowledge, social support and reducing depression. Technology-based interventions can reduce caregiver burden, depression, anxiety and stress and improve the caregiver's coping ability.

Conclusion: Integrated support packages where the content of the package is tailored to the individual caregivers' physical, psychological and social needs should be preferred when supporting informal caregivers of frail elderly. It requires an intense collaboration and coordination between all parties involved.

How to Cite: Lopez Hartmann M, Wens J, Verhoeven V, Remmen R. The effect of caregiver support interventions for informal caregivers of community-dwelling frail elderly: a systematic review. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2012;12(5):None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.845
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Published on 10 Aug 2012.
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