A Randomized Trial of Family Caregiver Support in the Home Management of Dementia
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A randomized trial of family caregiver support for the home management of older people suffering from moderate to severe progressive irreversible dementia was conducted in an urban center in southern Ontario. Thirty caregivers were allocated to receive the experimental intervention consisting of: caregiver-focused health care, education about dementia and caregiving, assistance with problem solving, regularly scheduled in-home respite, and a self-help family caregiver support group. Thirty control subjects received conventional community nursing care. Before completion of the intervention, 18 (30%) were withdrawn, almost equally from each group. The most frequent reason was long-term institutionalization of the demented relative (n = 10). At baseline, caregivers in both groups were suffering from above-average levels of depression and anxiety. After the six-month intervention period, we found neither experimental nor control group improved in these areas. However, the experimental group showed a clinically important improvement in quality of life, experienced a slightly longer mean time to long-term institutionalization, found the caregiver role less problematic, and had greater satisfaction with nursing care than the control group.
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