International Psychogeriatrics



Review

Helping caregivers of persons with dementia: which interventions work and how large are their effects?


Martin Pinquart a1c1 and Silvia Sörensen a2
a1 Department of Developmental Psychology and Center for Applied Developmental Science, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
a2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, U.S.A.

Article author query
pinquart m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sorensen s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

Background: In recent years, many different forms of interventions for caregivers of people with dementia have been developed. However, their results have been, in part, inconclusive.

Methods: Meta-analysis was used to integrate the results of 127 intervention studies with dementia caregivers published or presented between 1982 and 2005.

Results: Interventions had, on average, significant but small effects on burden, depression, subjective well-being, ability/knowledge and symptoms of care recipient. Only multicomponent interventions reduced the risk for institu-tionalization. Psychoeducational interventions that require active participation of caregivers had the broadest effects. Effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy, support, counseling, daycare, training of care recipient, and multicomponent interventions were domain specific. The effect sizes varied by study chara-cteristics, such as caregiver gender and year of publication.

Conclusions: Because most interventions have domain-specific outcomes, clinicians must tailor interventions according to the specific needs of the individual caregivers. Although more recent interventions showed stronger effects, there is room for further improvements in interventions.

(Received October 26 2005)
(returned for revision January 11 2006)
(revised version received February 22 2006)
(Accepted February 23 2006)
(Published Online May 11 2006)


Key Words: family caregivers; dementia; interventions; outcomes; meta-analysis.

Correspondence:
c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Martin Pinquart, Department of Developmental Psychology and Center for Applied Developmental Science, Friedrich Schiller University, Steiger3/1, D-07743 Jena, Germany. Phone: +49 3641 945210; Fax: +49 3641 945202. Email: martin.pinquart@uni-jena.de.