Author(s): Broady, T. and Aggar, C.

Published In: J of the Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses’ Association, 20 (2), 5-11. (2017)

Study Aim/Purpose: This is a summary of caregiver interventions and their effectiveness for the following major types of interventions: (1) information and education, (2) psychoeducation, (3) respite care, (4) counseling, (5) peer support, (6) the use of technology, and (7) multicomponent interventions. 

Summary of Methods: The paper summarizes information from 75 research studies and literature reviews/meta-analyses cited as references. Databases or other sources used to identify potential studies for inclusion or specific criteria for study inclusion are not described. 

Summary of Key Results (related to studies of effectiveness): Overall, the authors found that the literature to date shows that caregiver satisfaction with interventions is positive, but the effects of any single or combined type of interventions on caring burden, anxiety, stress, mental health and general wellbeing are less conclusive. Overview findings specific to respite services are consistent and suggest respite has small positive effects on caregiver health and level of burden and can have a positive effect on caregiver motivation in their caring roles, reducing fatigue, and improving psychological adjustment. At the same time, respite effectiveness depends on service quality, flexibility and its ability to meet individual family needs. 

Limitations of Studies Reviewed (as cited by the author): The authors state generally that outcome findings from their review are inconclusive because there has been limited quality research with methodological rigor on caregiving interventions.

Authors’ Discussion/Conclusions: The authors note that there is great variability in caregiver problems and support needs and thus differences in caregiving experiences and intervention needs. They recommend that interventions for caregivers include comprehensive assessment, identification of at-risk caregivers and follow-up of individual needs. The authors also call for more rigorous evaluations to determine which types of caregiver interventions work and under which circumstances.