Supporting Family Carers of Community-Dwelling Elder with Cognitive Decline: A Randomized Controlled TrialReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Family MedicineVolume 2010 2010, Article ID 184152, 10 pages

Research ArticleAcademic Centre of General Practice, Catholic University Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 33, Blok J, box 7001, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Received 15 October 2009; Revised 13 January 2010; Accepted 6 April 2010

Academic Editor: Paul Van Royen

Copyright © 2010 Birgitte Schoenmakers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Caring for a patient with cognitive decline has an important impact on the general well-being of family caregivers. Although highly appreciated, interventions in dementia home care remain mainly ineffective in terms of well-being. Consequently, in spite of an extensive support system, abrupt ending of home care remains more rule than exception. Method. The hypothesis was that the intervention of a care counselor, coordinating care in quasi-unstructured way during one year, will alleviate caregivers- feelings of depression. The study population was composed of community-dwelling patients with cognitive decline. A care counselor was at the exclusive disposal of the intervention group. Primary outcome measure was caregiver depression. Results. Finally, depression was 6.25 times less frequent in the intervention group. The actual intervention appeared minimal with only ten applications for more support followed by only three interventions effectively carried out. Although caregivers felt burdened and depressed, formal support remained stable. On the other hand, the availability of the care counselor made caregivers feel less depressed with the same amount of support. Conclusion. Carers do not always need to be surrounded with more professionals, but they want to feel more supported. In terms of policy, this could have some important implications.

Author: Birgitte Schoenmakers, Frank Buntinx, and Jan Delepeleire



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