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Carer support

The following resources address services/interventions intended to support carers.

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Worst hit: dementia during coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating impact around the world. In the UK, people affected by dementia have been hardest hit and our fragmented social care system has been exposed for all to see.

Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity, and in this report we bring together evidence from a wide range of sources to shine a light on the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on people who have dementia and those who care for them

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Value and learning from carer involvement in a cluster randomised controlled trial and process evaluation - Organising Support for Carers of Stroke Survivors (OSCARSS)

Background: Patient, Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) should be embedded in health care research. Delivering PCPI can be challenging, but even when PCPI is carried out it is rarely reported resulting in lost opportunities for learning. This paper aims to describe PCPI in the OSCARSS study, a pragmatic-cluster randomised controlled trial with an embedded economic and process evaluation. Methods: A carer research user group (RUG) co-developed OSCARSS to evaluate how to best deliver support to caregivers of stroke survivors. The PCPI activity involved regular meetings and preparatory work, from the initial conceptualisation of the study through to dissemination. Written reports, structured group discussions and individual interviews were carried out with the RUG and researchers to capture the added value and learning. This paper was co-authored by two of the RUG members with contributions from the wider RUG and researchers. Results: The core six members of the caregiver RUG attended the majority of the meetings alongside three researchers, one of whom was the co-chief investigator. PCPI was instrumental in changing many aspects of the research protocol, design and delivery and contributed to dissemination and sharing of good practice. There were challenges due to the emotional toll when PCPI members shared their stories and the extensive time commitment. Positive experiences of learning and fulfilment were reported by the individual researchers and PCPI members. Wider organisational administrative and financial support facilitated the PCPI. The researchers’ existing positive regard for PCPI and the clear focus of the group were key to the successful co-design of this research. Conclusions: The value and learning from the PCPI collaborative work with the researchers was of benefit to the study and the individuals involved. Specific PCPI influences were a challenge to pinpoint as successful co-design meant the researchers’ and carers’ contributions were intertwined and decision-making shared.

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Analysis of the Components of a Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for the prevention of Depression Administered via Conference Call to Nonprofessional Caregivers: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Effective and accessible interventions for indicated prevention of depression are necessary and lacking, especially for informal caregivers. Although telephone-based interventions could increase the accessibility for caregivers, randomized controlled trials are scarce, with no examination of prevention to date. Moreover, the efficacy of specific therapeutic components in preventive cognitive-behavioral programs is unknown. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a telephone-administered psychological preventive intervention in informal caregivers with high depressive symptoms. A total of 219 caregivers were randomized to a cognitive-behavioral conference call intervention (CBCC, n = 69), a behavioral-activation conference call intervention (BACC, n = 70), or a usual care control group (CG, n = 80). Both interventions consisted of five 90-minute group sessions. At the post-intervention, incidence of depression was lower in CBCC and BACC compared to CG (1.5% and 1.4% vs. 8.8%). Relative risk was 0.17 for the CBCC and 0.16 for the BACC, and the number-needed-to-treat was 14 in both groups. Depressive symptoms were significantly lower in BACC and BACC groups compared to CG (d = 1.16 and 1.29), with no significant differences between CBCC and BACC groups. The conference call intervention was effective in preventing depression and the behavioral-activation component (BACC) was comparable to the CBCC intervention.

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Translating an Evidence-based Multicomponent Intervention for Older Adults With Dementia and Caregivers

Background and Objectives Effective community-based programs to maintain health and well-being of adults with dementia are needed. This article describes the translation, implementation, and effectiveness of a multicomponent exercise plus behavioral/psychosocial intervention (Reducing Disability in Alzheimer's Disease-NorthWest [RDAD-NW]) conducted by staff in regional Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). Research Design and Methods Staggered multiple baseline design was used; 10 AAAs, 20 case managers, and 255 community-residing persons with dementia (PWDs), and family caregivers were enrolled. RDAD-NW was conducted in-home over 6 weeks with aerobic/endurance, strength, and balance/flexibility exercises, dementia education, training to increase pleasant events, and activator-behavior-consequence problem-solving approach. Outcomes included case manager treatment fidelity, and caregiver/PWD physical activity, restricted activity days, physical functioning, quality of life, and affect. Results RDAD-NW was successfully translated and implemented by AAA agency staff through their usual service provision mechanisms. Staff responded positively and delivered the program with a high degree of fidelity. Caregiver/PWD dyads also responded favorably engaging in both exercise and behavioral/psychosocial portions of the program. A total of 207 dyads (81%) completed the intervention and 140 (55%) completed the 13-month follow-up. PWD physical activity increased significantly pre- to posttreatment (p < .001, ES = .54), and 13 months (p < .01, ES = .21). Quality of life of PWD increased significantly pre- to posttreatment (p < .001, ES = .29); caregiver depression improved pre- to posttreatment (p = .01, ES = −.18). Discussion and Implications RDAD-NW was successfully translated and implemented by AAA case managers and resulted in increased physical activity and improved behavioral and emotional outcomes of caregiver/PWDs. Results support continued dissemination and implementation of RDAD-NW.

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Support, interventions and outcomes for families/carers of people with borderline personality disorder: A systematic review

It is clear from existent literature that families and carers of relatives and friends with borderline personality disorder (BPD) experience high levels of burden. Whilst family interventions are considered vital to improving the outcomes of those with a range of mental health difficulties, there has been limited development of direct interventions for carers of people with BPD, despite a high level of need. This systematic review aimed to appraise and synthesize the existing research evidence for interventions for carers of people with BPD. Ten studies were included that were directly related to six interventions for families and carers of people with personality disorder. The findings of these studies, whilst limited, do provide some initial evidence that interventions for carers may lead to significant outcomes for the participants, particularly in improving carer well-being and reducing carer burden. 

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Development and testing of an informative guide about palliative care for family caregivers of people with advanced dementia

Background: Since people with advanced dementia are usually not able to make complex decisions, it is usually the family caregivers, as proxies, who have to decide on treatments and their termination. However, these decisions are difficult for the caregivers to make, as they are often inadequately informed and cannot properly assess the consequences; moreover, they are concerned about harming the sick person. We aimed to first develop an informative booklet about palliative care issues for caregivers of people with advanced dementia. Secondly, we aimed to investigate a change in family caregivers' knowledge regarding palliative care issues and caregivers' involvement in medical and care decisions before and after studying this booklet. Methods: A first version of the booklet was drafted by an experienced psychiatrist and palliative care specialist based on existing booklets and guidelines; necessary cultural adaptions were taken into consideration. A nominal group process was conducted to develop the informative guide. In order to investigate the acceptance of the booklet and the possibility to implement it, 38 patient-caregiver dyads were recruited, and caregivers were interviewed both before receiving the booklet and after 3 months of receiving the booklet. Results: Experts from various disciplines collaborated on a German booklet for family caregivers of people with advanced dementia as an information aid regarding issues of palliative care. The subsequent test showed that all caregivers had experienced a personal benefit from the booklet. Caregivers had a significant gain of knowledge after provision of the booklet. A large proportion of caregivers who had not previously considered and/or discussed medical topics reported that they had done so within 3 months after obtaining the booklet, or planned to do so in the near future. Conclusions: The caregivers valued the comprehensible, concise and well-structured information guide on palliative care issues in advanced dementia. They agreed it increases knowledge and prompts decision making and therefore should be developed in many languages and disseminated among family caregivers of people with dementia. Trial registration: Clinicaltrial.gov, NCT03548142. Retrospectively registered 7 June 2018. 

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Action Research as a Method to Find Solutions for the Burden of Caregiving at Hospital Discharge

The role played by family caregivers in delivering long-term care is crucial: they enhance the quality of care perceived by the patients and support the shift to out-of-hospital care. However, taking care of a relative entails a huge burden that usually begins with the patient’s hospital discharge and may mean that caregivers become patients in need of care as well. Owing to socio-demographic trends, informal caregiving is the most important source of care in community settings; hence targeting the caregivers’ burden properly is crucial. This study explores how action research (AR) can be used to develop new hospital practices to manage the burden borne by family caregivers when patients are discharged from hospital. The 7-month-long action research reported in this paper consisted of three stages (burden identification, burden sharing, and burden management) and it was conducted in a teaching hospital in Rome (Italy). Both quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (focus groups and simulation sessions) techniques were used to engage participants. The AR demonstrates that there is a feasible way in which hospital managers can address proactively the caregivers’ needs in the hospital discharge process, to the advantage of the patients and the entire community.

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Massive Open Online Courses: enhancing caregiver education and support about dementia care towards and at end of life

As the ageing population grows globally, the need for informal care-usually provided by family and friends-will continue to increase. Numbers of people with dementia also continue to rise, and much of their care will be provided by relatives. As such, more people who may themselves be older, will take on such caring roles. Consequently, more carers are likely to have education and support needs. Amidst government recognition of the need to provide good quality, person-centred education and support to carers, there are tensions between the potential for such provision to be resource intensive and whether existing services have the capacity to meet the needs of carers. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a resource with scope to meet some of these educational and support needs. MOOCs enable flexible learning, are often free, and can be accessed anywhere in the world. Providing supportive dementia care requires carers to have an understanding of the condition, assistance to cope with the responsibilities of caring, and recognition of the importance of their own health and wellbeing as well as the person they support. In response to the needs of family carers of people with advancing dementia identified through a 5 year programme of research, we developed a MOOC-dementia care: living well as dementia progresses. This is an accessible source of relevant and engaging information; which enables carers to learn about advancing dementia, consider their own needs and create an interactive global forum of peer support. 

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Digital Mental Health Tools for Caregivers of Older Adults-A Scoping Review

Aim: Informal caregivers have an important role in bridging the gap between the assistance care recipients need and what can be provided by the health care systems across Europe. The burden of the caregiving role places a significant threat to caregiver health, and the vast majority of caregiver's report stress and emotional strain, depression, and increased rates of chronic diseases. In line with this, strengthening the caregiver's mental health is one of the main goals for optimal caregiving. Caregivers already struggle with the demand of their role while coping with health problems, social, family, and work obligations. The solution for the caregiver's mental health needs to be accessible, low cost, and time-effective. This scoping review investigates digital mental health tools available as a mean of supporting the mental health of caregivers. Method: Databases searched include Summon search box, the Cochrane Library, and PubMed. Three groups of keywords were combined: relating to digital mental health interventions for caregivers, digital mental health interventions and stress in elderly care, and digital mental health interventions and burden in elderly care. Results: Caregivers reported that digital mental health tools have an overall positive role in their health. Coping skills, emotion regulation, skill building, and education are found to be important aspects of digital mental health tools. There was a noted lack of digital mental health apps available specifically for the caregiver of older adults. Furthermore, the digital mental health tools, divided into three categories in this review, focused either on building skills or educating caregivers and assisting with the duties rather than the mental health of the caregiver itself. As repeatedly suggested in the reviewed studies, digital mental health interventions overall contribute to reducing the caregiver burden with a limitation of addressing one aspect of caregiver needs -i.e., specific coping skills or education regarding illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and Dementia. The lack of all-encompassing, data and theory-driven digital mental health tools for addressing and supporting the caregiver's mental health is evident.

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Enhancing primary care support for informal carers: A scoping study with professional stakeholders

Informal carers (i.e. people who provide unpaid care to family and/or friends) are crucial in supporting people with long-term conditions. Caring negatively impacts on carers’ health and experiences of health services. Internationally and nationally, policies, legislation, professional guidance and research advocate for health and care services to do more to support carers. This study explored the views of health and social care providers, commissioners and policy makers about the role and scope for strengthening health service support for carers. Twenty-four semi-structured interviews, with 25 participants were conducted, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed by thematic analysis. Three main themes emerged: (a) identifying carers, (b) carer support, and (c) assessing and addressing carer needs. Primary care, and other services, were seen as not doing enough for carers but having an important role in identifying and supporting carers. Two issues with carer identification were described, first people not self-identifying as carers and second most services not being proactive in identifying carers. Participants thought that carer needs should be supported by primary care in collaboration with other health services, social care and the voluntary sector. Concerns were raised about primary care, which is under enormous strain, being asked to take on yet another task. There was a clear message that it was only useful to involve primary care in identifying carers and their needs, if benefit could be achieved through direct benefits such as better provision of support to the carer or indirect benefit such as better recognition of the carer role. This study highlights that more could be done to address carers’ needs through primary care in close collaboration with other health and care services. The findings indicate the need for pilots and experiments to develop the evidence base. Given the crucial importance of carers, such studies should be a high priority. 

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Support for family caregivers: A scoping review of family physician’s perspectives on their role in supporting family caregivers

What is known about this topic Family caregiving has become more onerous in the last two decades.Family physicians have the potential to reach the majority of caregivers throughout the care trajectory.The demand for primary care to support caregivers comes primarily from researchers or advocacy organisations. What this paper adds There is little literature on family physicians’ perspectives on their roles in supporting family caregivers.Collaborative integrated primary care models are recommended as the most feasible model for supporting family caregivers.Research to understand family physicians’ perspectives of their role in supporting family caregivers is warranted.

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Development of a mobile app for family members of Veterans with PTSD: identifying needs and modifiable factors associated with burden, depression, and anxiety

Family members of Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) face high levels of burden that are poorly addressed by existing mental health services. Widely distributed mobile interventions could play a role in addressing these unmet needs. The purpose of this study was to characterize caregiver burden in those seeking a mobile app for self-management of stress symptoms and to develop a model to guide mobile interventions for family members. Those living with a Veteran with PTSD (n = 212) and interested in using a mobile intervention agreed to participate. The majority reported moderate-to-severe levels of depression (60%) and/or caregiver burden (59%). Relationship quality, communication, and self-efficacy for caregiving were the strongest predictors of negative outcomes (p’s <.001), and qualitative results identified several additional unmet needs (e.g. relationship concerns, safety concerns). This study identifies potential mechanisms by which a mobile app could improve family functioning in the context of PTSD.

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A Randomized Controlled Trial of Emotion Regulation Therapy for Psychologically Distressed Caregivers of Cancer Patients

Background: Previous cognitive behavioral therapies for informal caregivers (ICs) have produced negligible effects. The purpose of this study was to evaluate, in a randomized controlled trial, the efficacy of Emotion Regulation Therapy adapted for caregivers (ERT-C) on psychological and inflammatory outcomes in psychologically distressed ICs and the cancer patients cared for. Methods: A total of 81 ICs with elevated psychological distress were randomly assigned to ERT-C or a waitlist condition and assessed pre-, mid-, and post-treatment. In 52 cases, the patient cared for by the IC was included. Patients did not receive ERT-C. Both the ERT-C and waitlist groups were followed 3 and 6 months post-treatment. Data were analyzed with multilevel models, and P values were two-sided. Results: Compared with ICs in the waitlist condition, ICs in the ERT-C condition experienced medium to large statistically significant reductions in psychological distress (Hedge's g = 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.40 to 1.32, P < .001), worry (g = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.50 to 1.42, P < .001), and caregiver burden (g = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.10 to 1.99, P = .007) post-treatment. No statistically significant effects were found for rumination (g = 0.24, 95% CI = -0.20 to 0.68, P = .220). Results concerning caregiver burden were maintained through 6 months follow-up. Although the effects on psychological distress and worry diminished, their end-point effects remained medium to large. No statistically significant effects on systemic inflammation were detected (C-reactive protein: g = .17, 95% CI = 0.27 to 0.61, P = .570; interleukin-6: g = .35, 95% CI = -0.09 to 0.79, P = .205; tumor necrosis factor-alpha: g = .11, 95% CI = 0.33 to 0.55, P = .686). Patients whose ICs attended ERT-C experienced a large increase in quality of life post-treatment (g = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.18 to 1.58, P = .017). Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of ERT-C for ICs. Given the previous disappointing effects of other cognitive behavioral therapies for this population, the present findings are very encouraging. Identifying ICs with elevated psychological distress and providing them with relevant psychotherapy appears an important element of comprehensive cancer care.

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Telepresence robots: Encouraging interactive communication between family carers and people with dementia

Objective: The aim of the study was to explore the feasibility of using telepresence robots to encourage interactive communication in dementia care, from the perspective of family carers. Methods: Qualitative findings from semi-structured interviews with six family carers. Results: Generally, family carers reported a feeling of presence and connectedness when talking to their family member via the telepresence robots. They reported the robots as helping to enhance longer conversations and social connection with their family member. Conclusion: Telepresence may offer potential to encourage social connection, in particular where families are unable to make regular visits to the nursing home.

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Dementia caregiver intervention development and adaptation in the Vietnamese American community: A qualitative study

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to obtain input and feedback on a proposed intervention to reduce stress and enhance the health of Vietnamese dementia caregivers. Methods: Sixteen semi-structured, in-depth interviews and two focus groups were conducted with a total of 21 key stakeholders (i.e., family caregivers, professionals, and community leaders). Results: Several themes emerged from the data, and these themes fell into two major domains: the first domain was recruitment and engagement into the intervention: (1) importance of faith-based institutions, (2) inclusion of multiple family members in the intervention, (3) community empowerment/ownership, and (4) importance of credibility and trust. The second domain included themes on intervention content: (1) education about Alzheimer’s disease and dementias and (2) tailoring the intervention to caregivers’ needs. Conclusions: Findings indicate that the proposed intervention could be very beneficial to caregivers, but slight modifications needed to be made. 

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Cost-Effectiveness and Effects of a Home-Based Exercise Intervention for Female Caregivers of Relatives with Dementia: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

Previous research has proposed a range of support interventions to mitigate the adverse impact of caregiving on the daily life of caregivers of relatives with dementia. However, the effectiveness of these interventions shows a high variability. Informal caregivers usually lack the time and/or live too far from conventional facilities to do physical exercise, especially those who live in rural areas. Thus, home-based interventions may be more efficacious due to their greater convenience for this population. The present work proposes and describes a study protocol for a randomized control trial that will analyze the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a home-based, structured individual physical exercise intervention to improve the health-related quality of life and the mental health of female informal caregivers of relatives with dementia. The nine-month-long intervention will comprise participation in two supervised physical exercise sessions per week at the caregiver's home. The proposed study outcomes will be: (1) feasibility of and adherence to the home-based provision of the intervention; (2) improvement in physical fitness and quality of life; and (3) reduction in subjective burden, psychological symptomatology and depression. Analyses will also be performed to determine the cost-effectiveness after the intervention. In conclusion, this intervention might thus represent a tailored and feasible strategy to help caregivers cope with the physical and psychological stress resulting from caregiving-related responsibilities, and it could represent a novel cost-effective support home-based intervention for caregivers.

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Cognitive behavioural family intervention for people diagnosed with severe mental illness and their families: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Introduction Cognitive behavioural family intervention (CBFI) may be an effective brief psychosocial intervention for people diagnosed with severe mental illness (SMI) and their families. No systematic review has summarized the effectiveness of CBFI. Aim This review aimed to systematically examine the trial evidence of the effectiveness of CBFI versus treatment as usual (TAU) on improving the outcomes of people diagnosed with SMI and their families. Method Eligible randomized controlled trials were identified from nine databases. Three investigators independently took part in selection of articles, data extraction and risk assessment. Pooled treatment effects were computed using random-effects models. Results Four studies consisting of 524 participants were included. The risk of bias was low–unclear in most areas. The pooled CBFI effect on four service user outcomes including overall positive symptoms, delusions, overall negative symptoms and general psychopathology was significantly improved at post-treatment, compared with TAU, whereas effects on hallucinations and insight were equivocal. Discussion The findings reveal that CBFI is superior to TAU in treating positive and negative symptoms immediately following the intervention. Implications for Practice Mental health nurses may practise CBFI to enrich the psychiatric nursing service and promote nurse-led intervention. However, there is currently no substantial evidence that the intervention is effective over the longer term. 

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Technology and Caregiving: Emerging Interventions and Directions for Research

An array of technology-based interventions has increasingly become available to support family caregivers, primarily focusing on health and well-being, social isolation, financial, and psychological support. More recently the emergence of new technologies such as mobile and cloud, robotics, connected sensors, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, voice, and the evermore ubiquitous tools supported by advanced data analytics, coupled with the integration of multiple technologies through platform solutions, have opened a new era of technology-enabled interventions that can empower and support family caregivers. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for identifying and addressing the challenges that may need to be overcome to effectively apply technology-enabled solutions for family caregivers. The paper identifies a number of challenges that either moderate or mediate the full use of technologies for the benefit of caregivers. The challenges include issues related to equity, inclusion, and access; ethical concerns related to privacy and security; political and regulatory factors affecting interoperability and lack of standards; inclusive/human-centric design and issues; and inherent economic and distribution channel difficulties. The paper concludes with a summary of research questions and issues that form a framework for global research priorities.

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How short is too short? A randomised controlled trial evaluating short-term existential behavioural therapy for informal caregivers of palliative patients

Background: Informal caregivers of palliative patients show higher levels of depression and distress compared with the general population. Fegg’s (2013) existential behavioural therapy was shortened to two individual 1-h sessions (short-term existential behavioural therapy). Aim: Testing the effectiveness of sEBT on psychological symptoms of informal caregivers in comparison with active control. Design: Randomised controlled trial. Setting/participants: Informal caregivers of palliative in-patients. Methods: The primary outcome was depression; secondary outcomes were anxiety, subjective distress and minor mental disorders, positive and negative affect, satisfaction with life, quality of life and direct health care costs. General linear mixed models allow several measurements per participant and change over time. Reasons for declining the intervention were investigated by Rosenstock’s Health Belief Model. Results: Overall inclusion rate was 41.0%. Data of 157 caregivers were available (63.1% females; mean age: 54.6 years, standard deviation (SD): 14.1); 127 participants were included in the main analysis. Participation in sEBT or active control was not significantly associated with post-treatment depression. Outcomes showed prevailingly significant association with time of investigation. Self-efficacy, scepticism of benefit of the intervention, belief of better coping alone and support by family and friends were significant factors in declining participation in the randomised controlled trial. Conclusion: Inclusion rate was tripled compared with a previously evaluated longer EBT group intervention. By shortening the intervention, inclusion rate was traded for effectiveness and the intervention could not impact caregivers’ psychological state. Early integration of sEBT and combination of individual and group setting and further study of the optimal length for caregiver interventions are suggested.

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Online Self-Management Support for Family Caregivers Dealing With Behavior Changes in Relatives With Dementia (Part 2): Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Online contacts with a health professional have the potential to support family caregivers of people with dementia. OBJECTIVE: The goal of the research was to study the effects of an online self-management support intervention in helping family caregivers deal with behavior changes of a relative with dementia. The intervention-involving among others personal email contacts with a dementia nurse-was compared with online interventions without these email contacts. METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 81 family caregivers of people with dementia who live at home. Participants were randomly assigned to a (1) major self-management support intervention consisting of personal email contacts with a specialist dementia nurse, online videos, and e-bulletins; (2) medium intervention consisting only of online videos and e-bulletins; or (3) minor intervention consisting of only the e-bulletins. The primary outcome was family caregivers' self-efficacy in dealing with behavior changes of the relative with dementia. Secondary outcomes were family caregivers' reports of behavior problems in the people with dementia and the quality of the relationship between the family caregiver and the person with dementia. Measurements were performed at the baseline and at 6 (T1) and 12 weeks (T2) after the baseline. A mixed-model analysis was conducted to compare the outcomes of the 3 intervention arms. RESULTS: Family caregivers participating in the major intervention involving email contacts showed no statistically significant differences in self-efficacy after the intervention compared with the minor intervention involving only e-bulletins (difference -0.02, P=.99). In the adjusted analysis, the medium intervention (involving videos and e-bulletins) showed a negative trend over time (difference -4.21, P=.09) and at T1 (difference -4.71, P=.07) compared with the minor intervention involving only e-bulletins. No statistical differences were found between the intervention arms in terms of the reported behavior problems and the quality of the relationship between the family caregiver and the person with dementia. CONCLUSIONS: The expectation that an online self-management support intervention involving email contacts would lead to positive effects and be more effective than online interventions without personal email contacts was not borne out. One explanation might be related to the fact that not all family caregivers who were assigned to that intervention actually made use of the opportunity for personal email contact. The online videos were also not always viewed. To obtain more definite conclusions, future research involving extra efforts to reach higher use rates is required. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Registry NTR6237; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=6237 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6v0S4fxTC). INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR2-10.2196/resprot.8365. ©Judith G Huis in het Veld, Bernadette M Willemse, Iris FM van Asch, Rob BM Groot Zwaaftink, Paul-Jeroen Verkade, Jos WR Twisk, Renate Verkaik, Marco M Blom, Berno van Meijel, Anneke L Francke. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 25.02.2020.

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An Environmental Scan of Caregiver Support Resources Provided by Hospice Organizations

Background: Informal caregiver support programs offered by hospice organizations support the health and wellbeing of clients and caregivers. However, an understanding of the best practices for informal caregiver support programs currently undertaken across Canada remains unknown, particularly across the province of British Columbia. Aim: The aim of the present study was to describe what existing resources and supports are provided by hospice organizations for informal caregivers of persons who are nearing end of life or who are recently bereaved in British Columbia, Canada. Methods: In this descriptive study, two thirds of hospice organizations (N = 42/66; 26 urban, 16 rural) participated in a semi-structured telephone interview focused on informal caregiver support programs. All interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed thematically and descriptive statistics were employed. Findings: While no one-size-fit-all caregiver support program emerged as a gold standard across all hospice organizations, nearly two thirds (n = 26/42) offered one or more informal caregiver support programs. Four categories of caregiver support programs emerged from the data analysis, including companioning, bereavement and grief supports, education and service supports, and respite for caregivers. Conclusion: Caregiver support programs are a valuable service provided by some but not all hospice organizations across British Columbia, Canada. Future studies are needed to determine best methods for hospice organizations to formally assess caregivers’ needs and to determine the success and effectiveness of such programs in support of program expansion and evaluation.

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Cost–Utility Analyses of Interventions for Informal Carers: A Systematic and Critical Review

Background: Demographic and epidemiological changes place an increasing reliance on informal carers. Some support programmes exist, but funding is often limited. There is a need for economic evaluation of interventions for carers to assist policymakers in prioritizing carer support. Objective: Our aim was to systematically review and critically appraise cost–utility analyses of interventions for informal carers, in order to assess the methods employed and the quality of the reporting. Methods: A systematic review of databases was conducted using MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and EconLit of items published between 1950 and February 2019. Published studies were selected if they involved a cost–utility analysis of an intervention mainly or jointly targeting informal carers. The reporting quality of economic analyses was evaluated using the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) statement. Results: An initial set of 1364 potentially relevant studies was identified. The titles and the abstracts were then screened, resulting in the identification of 62 full-text articles that warranted further assessment of their eligibility. Of these, 20 economic evaluations of informal carer interventions met the inclusion criteria. The main geographical area was the UK (n = 11). These studies were conducted in mental and/or behavioural (n = 15), cardiovascular (n = 3) or cancer (n = 2) clinical fields. These cost–utility analyses were based on randomized clinical trials (n = 16) and on observational studies (n = 4), of which only one presented a Markov model-based economic evaluation. Four of the six psychological interventions were deemed to be cost effective versus two of the four education/support interventions, and four of the nine training/support interventions. Two articles achieved a CHEERS score of 100% and nine of the economic evaluations achieved a score of 85% in terms of the CHEERS criteria for high-quality economic studies. Conclusions: Our critical review highlights the lack of cost–utility analyses of interventions to support informal carers. However, it also shows the relative prominence of good reporting practices in these analyses that other studies might be able to build on. 

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Protecting the elderly through and beyond the Covid-19 lockdown

Extract: ...Add to this the knowledge that assaults and domestic murders surge by as much as 25% during a festive season - a time of increased financial strain and closer proximity of family members - and the present Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the current environment for older people looks deeply concerning. Caregiver support interventions Stemming from the theoretical risk model of 'caregiver stress theory', caregiver support interventions seek to alleviate the stress and burden of caring for an older person by providing key services (including meal preparation, housekeeping help or day care, or broader caregiving help through educational, teaching coping strategies or support groups). There is help and support available for informal carers from Citizens Advice, and from local councils on a range of issues from making daily life easier to benefit claims * Have a conversation about practical arrangements for the future, e.g. 'Have you thought about future decision-making for health and financial matters?'; 'Do you feel confident managing your money?' Empowering older people to seek out knowledge to help plan their future can safeguard from abuse.

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Effect of education and telephone counseling on caregiver strain and unmet needs in family caregivers and self-care behaviors in patients with cancer: A randomized clinical trial

Background: Cancer treatment has been increasingly fulfilled on an outpatient basis by family caregivers. The variety and severity of caregivers' responsibilities expose them to physical and mental risks. Investigating the effect of education and telephone counseling on patient and family outcomes requires performing further studies. Aim: This study aimed to determine the effect of education and telephone counseling on caregiver strain and unmet needs in family caregivers and self-care behaviors in cancer patients. Method: The present randomized controlled trial was conducted on 60 caregivers-cancer patients referred to urban health education clinics in northeastern Iran within 2018-2019. A 20-minute face-to-face training session was held for the caregivers of cancer patients, and seven training pamphlets were given to the caregivers. Moreover, the intervention group received four telephone counseling sessions during three courses of chemotherapy. The strain and unmet needs of caregivers were measured by the Zarit Burden Interview and Supportive Care Needs Survey-Partners and Caregivers questionnaires, respectively. The patient self-care was assessed by the Nail Self-care Diary questionnaire. The data were analyzed by SPSS software (version 16) using an independent t-test and paired t-test. Results: The mean values of caregivers' age were 38.9±12.7 and 37.7±8.6 years in the intervention and control groups, respectively. The results of the independent t-test showed no statistically significant difference between the two groups (P=0.42). The results also revealed that the mean scores of caregiver strain and unmet needs decreased following the intervention, and the mean scores of self-care behaviors increased in the intervention group after the intervention (P=0.001). Implications for Practice: Education and telephone counseling can simultaneously help to follow up problems, improve self-care behaviors in cancer patients, alleviate the caregiver strain, and meet the needs of family caregivers. 

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The ResidentialCare Transition Module: A single-blinded randomized controlled evaluation of a telehealth support intervention for family caregivers of persons with dementia living in residential long-term care

Background: Families do not fully disengage from care responsibilities following relatives' admissions to residential long-term (RLTC) care settings such as nursing homes. Caregiver stress, depression, or other key outcomes remain stable or sometimes increase following a relative's RLTC entry. Some interventions have attempted to increase family involvement after institutionalization, but few rigorous studies have demonstrated whether these interventions are effective in helping families navigate the potential emotional and psychological upheaval presented by relatives' transitions to RLTC environments. The Residential Care Transition Module (RCTM) provides six formal sessions of consultation (one-to-one and family sessions) over a 4-month period to family caregivers who have admitted a relative to a RLTC setting. Methods: In this embedded mixed methods randomized controlled evaluation, family members who have admitted a cognitively impaired relative to a RLTC setting are randomly assigned to the RCTM (n = 120) or a usual care control condition (n = 120). Primary outcomes include reductions in family members' primary subjective stress and negative mental health outcomes; secondary role strains; and residential care stress. The mixed methods design will allow for an analysis of intervention action mechanisms by "embedding" qualitative components (up to 30 semi-structured interviews) at the conclusion of the 12-month evaluation. Discussion: This evaluation will fill an important clinical and research gap by evaluating a psychosocial intervention designed for families following RLTC admission that determines whether and how the RCTM can help families better navigate the emotional and psychological challenges of residential care transitions. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02915939, prospectively registered). 

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Potential for Digital Monitoring to Enhance Wellbeing at Home for People with Mild Dementia and Their Family Carers

Digital technologies have the potential to assist people with dementia to monitor day to day activities and mitigate the risks of living independently. This purposive pilot study surveyed participants for frailty, wellbeing, and perceived carer burden using the 3Rings(TM) digital plug. 30 paired participants used the digital device for four months. People with dementia reported a decline in wellbeing and increased frailty. Family carers reported a decline in wellbeing but 18 reported a reduction in burden. The use of digital monitoring by family carers demonstrated a reduction in their perceived burden and the device was acceptable to people with mild dementia living alone.

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Paid family leave in a large urban center academic radiology department: How we do it

No abstract. Extract:

'Looking ahead to the next generation of radiology trainees, and recognizing that radiology residency typically overlaps with prime child-bearing years and the challenges associated with balancing rigorous call and rotation schedules with a newborn, we sought to establish a parental leave policy for our radiology residents of both genders. Residents are considered employees, as per the 2011 supreme court ruling [16], and as such are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave under FMLA [17]. Unfortunately, due to time constraints associated with Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requirements for graduation, as well as American Board of Medical Specialities (ABMS) board eligibility requirements, which are in part dependent on duration of training, residency programs' parental leave policies are variable, with majority providing little to no leave [18–20].'

... 'All eligible, as defined by FMLA [17], faculty in our academic radiology department of 135 faculty in NYC, are allotted up to 14 weeks of paid family leave, to be taken within the first year of having or adopting a child or whenever needed to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.'

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Effects of a Telehealth Early Palliative Care Intervention for Family Caregivers of Persons With Advanced Heart Failure: The ENABLE CHF-PC Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance: Family caregivers of persons with advanced heart failure perform numerous daily tasks to assist their relatives and are at high risk for distress and poor quality of life. Objective: To determine the effect of a nurse-led palliative care telehealth intervention (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends Comprehensive Heart Failure for Patients and Caregivers [ENABLE CHF-PC]) on quality of life and mood of family caregivers of persons with New York Heart Association Class III/IV heart failure over 16 weeks. Design, Setting, and Participants: This single-blind randomized clinical trial enrolled caregivers aged 18 years and older who self-identified as an unpaid close friend or family member who knew the patient well and who was involved with their day-to-day medical care. Participants were recruited from outpatient heart failure clinics at a large academic tertiary care medical center and a Veterans Affairs medical center from August 2016 to October 2018. Intervention: Four weekly psychosocial and problem-solving support telephonic sessions lasting between 20 and 60 minutes facilitated by a trained nurse coach plus monthly follow-up for 48 weeks. The usual care group received no additional intervention. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcomes were quality of life (measured using the Bakas Caregiver Outcomes Scale), mood (anxiety and/or depressive symptoms measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), and burden (measured using the Montgomery-Borgatta Caregiver Burden scales) over 16 weeks. Secondary outcomes were global health (measured using the PROMIS Global Health instrument) and positive aspects of caregiving. Results: A total of 158 family caregivers were randomized, 82 to the intervention and 76 to usual care. The mean (SD) age was 57.9 (11.6) years, 135 (85.4%) were female, 82 (51.9%) were African American, and 103 (65.2%) were the patient's spouse or partner. At week 16, the mean (SE) Bakas Caregiver Outcomes Scale score was 66.9 (2.1) in the intervention group and 63.9 (1.7) in the usual care group; over 16 weeks, the mean (SE) Bakas Caregiver Outcomes Scale score improved 0.7 (1.7) points in the intervention group and 1.1 (1.6) points in the usual care group (difference, -0.4; 95% CI, -5.1 to 4.3; Cohen d = -0.03). At week 16, no relevant between-group differences were observed between the intervention and usual care groups for the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety measure (mean [SE] improvement from baseline, 0.3 [0.3] vs 0.4 [0.3]; difference, -0.1 [0.5]; d = -0.02) or depression measure (mean [SE] improvement from baseline, -0.2 [0.4] vs -0.3 [0.3]; difference, 0.1 [0.5]; d = 0.03). No between-group differences were observed in the Montgomery-Borgatta Caregiver Burden scales (d range, -0.18 to 0.0). Differences in secondary outcomes were also not significant (d range, -0.22 to 0.0). Conclusions and Relevance: This 2-site randomized clinical trial of a telehealth intervention for family caregivers of patients with advanced heart failure, more than half of whom were African American and most of whom were not distressed at baseline, did not demonstrate clinically better quality of life, mood, or burden compared with usual care over 16 weeks. Future interventions should target distressed caregivers and assess caregiver effects on patient outcomes. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02505425.

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Public policy for supporting employed family caregivers of the elderly: the Israeli case

The demographic processes that have  been avolving in recent years around the world and Israeli society in particular, associated with the rise in life expectancy and the aging of population, are rasing the depedency ratio  and increasing public policy  makers' interest in issues related to caring for the elderly and thier support. These  circumstances have a considerable effect on family member required to  assist  thier aging parents, as they raise the potential support ratio and have an even greater impact on employed family caregivers. This article examined the policy implemented in Israel for providing support and assistance to employed family caregivers assisting ageing parents. It shows that the current policy is relatively limited compared to that of other liberal countries and not compatible with caregivers’ demands and needs. The article calls for implementing an effective public policy for employed family caregivers and suggests ways of formulating such a policy. 

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Systematic review: Influence of self-help groups on family caregivers

Introduction: Since the incorporation of women into the world of work, together with the progressive ageing of the population and the increase of chronic diseases, there is an alteration in the role of the caregiver, due to the physical, work and family burden it bears, emotional conflicts and with other family members. Mutual aid can be an effective alternative to promoting the well-being of caregivers, as well as their families and dependents. Objective: To know the characteristics of self-help groups for family caregivers and their influence on caregivers, the dependent and family health. Methodology: Systematic review. The search strategy included the Pubmed, Scopus, Psycinfo, Eric, Cochrane plus and CSIC databases; selecting scientific articles in either Spanish, Catalan, English, Portuguese or French, for the last 10 years. Results: 12 articles related to the study topic were selected. All studies show that participation in these groups can improve the physical-psychological well-being, the health of caregivers and, at the same time, reinforce their sense of social support, although there is a lack of studies in our environment, with a size higher quality sample. Conclusions: Caregivers benefit from participating in self-help groups. Therefore, they should become a routine component of the family caregiver. 

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Supporting patients and carers affected by pancreatic cancer: A feasibility study of a counselling intervention

Purpose: Patients with pancreatic cancer have extremely high unmet psychological and physical needs. Family carers of these patients have even higher levels of distress than patients. Our purpose was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a counselling intervention in patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and their carers. Methods: We conducted a single-arm feasibility study of the PREPARES (Patients and RElatives affected by PAncreatic cancer: Referral, Education and Support) pilot intervention. Patient and carer participants received up to nine counselling sessions delivered by a trained nurse via telephone and/or telehealth technology. The intervention, informed by self-efficacy theory, involved components to assess and address care needs, and provide feedback to clinicians. Feasibility was measured using participation and retention rates. Participants completed semi-structured interviews at the end of the intervention about acceptability. These were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Twelve people participated: five patients and seven carers (38% and 50% participation rates respectively). Most participants (eight) completed all nine counselling sessions; two chose to receive fewer sessions and two were discontinued requiring more intensive psychiatric support. The intervention was highly acceptable. Participants unanimously preferred the telephone over video-conferencing and to receive counselling separately from their carer/patient. The main perceived benefits were emotional support, the nurse-counsellors’ knowledge, care coordination and personalised care. Suggested improvements included a welcome pack about their nurse-counsellor and that sessions should continue beyond nine sessions if required. Conclusions: The PREPARES intervention was feasible and highly acceptable. This low-cost intervention provided much-needed support to people affected by this devastating disease.

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The effectiveness of a nurse‐led intervention to support family caregivers in end‐of‐life care: Study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial

Aim To evaluate the feasibility of a structured nurse‐led supportive intervention and its effects on family caregivers in end‐of‐life care at home.Background Family caregivers are crucial in end‐of‐life care. They may experience burden due to the responsibilities associated with caregiving. Some family caregivers feel insufficiently prepared for their caregiver role. Nurses have a unique position to provide supportive interventions at home to reduce caregivers’ burden and improve preparedness. However, few nurse‐led interventions are available to support family caregivers in end‐of‐life care at home. Design We will perform a cluster randomized controlled trial. The clusters consist of twelve home care services, randomly assigned to the intervention group or the control group. Methods The study population consists of family caregivers of patients in the last phase of life. In the intervention group, nurses will systematically assess the supportive needs of family caregivers, using an assessment tool and the method of clinical reasoning. Family members of the control group receive care as usual. Primary outcome is burden measured by the Self‐Rated Burden Scale. Secondary outcomes are preparedness for caregiving, caregiving reactions and acute (hospital) admissions of the patient. In addition, the feasibility of the intervention will be evaluated. The study was funded in October 2016 and was ethically approved in April 2019. Impact Findings from this study will contribute to the scientific and practical knowledge of nursing interventions to support family caregivers in end‐of‐life care. Trial registration The Netherlands Trial Register (NL7702)

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Recovering together: Building resiliency in dyads of stroke patients and their caregivers at risk for chronic emotional distress; A feasibility study

Background: A stroke is a sudden, life-altering event with potentially devastating consequences for survivors and their loved ones. Despite advances in endovascular and neurocritical care approaches to stroke treatment and recovery, there remains a considerable unmet need for interventions targeting the emotional impact of stroke for both patients and their informal caregivers. This is important because untreated emotional distress becomes chronic and negatively impacts quality of life in both patients and caregivers. Our team previously used mixed methods to iteratively develop a six-session modular dyadic intervention to prevent chronic emotional distress in patients with stroke and their informal caregivers called "Recovering Together" (RT) using feedback from dyads and the medical team. The aim of the current study is to test the feasibility of recruitment, acceptability of screening and randomization methods, acceptability of RT, satisfaction with RT, feasibility of the assessment process at all time points, and acceptability of outcome measures. Secondarily, we aimed to explore within-treatment effect sizes and change in clinically significant symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress (PTS). The larger goal was to strengthen methodological rigor before a subsequent efficacy trial. Methods: We conducted a feasibility randomized controlled trial to evaluate the RT intervention relative to minimally enhanced usual care (MEUC) in stroke patients admitted to a Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (Neuro-ICU). Dyads were enrolled within 1 week of hospitalization if they met specific eligibility criteria. Assessments were done via paper and pencil at baseline, and electronically via REDCap or over the phone at post-intervention (approximately 6 weeks after baseline), and 3 months later. Assessments included demographics, resiliency intervention targets (mindfulness, coping, self-efficacy, and interpersonal bond), and emotional distress (depression, anxiety, and PTS). Primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability markers. Secondary outcomes were depression, anxiety, PTS, mindfulness, coping, self-efficacy, and interpersonal bond. Results: We consented 20 dyads, enrolled 17, and retained 16. Although many patients were missed before we could approach them, very few declined to participate or dropped out once study staff made initial contact. Feasibility of enrollment (87% of eligible dyads enrolled), acceptability of screening, and randomization (all RT dyads retained after randomization) were excellent. Program satisfaction (RT post-test M = 11.33/12 for patients M = 12/12 for caregivers), and adherence to treatment sessions (six of seven RT dyads attending 4/6 sessions) were high. There were no technical difficulties that affected the delivery of the intervention. There was minimal missing data. For both patients and caregivers, participation in RT was generally associated with clinically significant improvement in emotional distress symptoms from baseline to post-test. Participation in MEUC was associated with clinically significant worsening in emotional distress. Although some of the improvement in emotional distress symptoms decreased in the RT group between post-test to 3 months, these changes were not clinically significant. RT was also associated with substantial decrease in frequency of individuals who met criteria for clinically significant symptoms, while the opposite was true for MEUC. There were many lessons that informed current and future research. Conclusions: This study provided evidence of feasibility and signal of improvement in RT, as well as necessary methodological changes to increase recruitment efficiency before the future hybrid efficacy-effectiveness trial. Trial registration: NCT02797509. © 2020 The Author(s).

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Emotion regulation therapy for cancer caregivers-an open trial of a mechanism-targeted approach to addressing caregiver distress

Informal caregivers (ICs) are integral to care provided to patients facing life-threatening or incurable illnesses. This responsibility causes considerable burden, as approximately one half of ICs report clinically significant symptoms of depression and/or anxiety that persist when left untreated. Psychosocial interventions containing efficacious treatment principles (e.g., cognitive behavior therapy [CBT]) show disappointing results in reducing anxiety and depression in ICs. This may reflect failure of these interventions to specifically target crucial mechanisms underlying the central feature of distress caused by the patient's illness-notably, perseverative negative thinking (PNT). Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT) is an efficacious CBT developed to explicitly target mechanisms underlying PNT and the emotional concomitants that arise in response to stressful situations. This open trial was conducted to evaluate the acceptability and initial efficacy of ERT adapted to the experience of cancer ICs (ERT-C). Thirty-one ICs provided informed consent and completed eight weekly individual sessions of ERT-C. Participants completed self-report measures of depression and anxiety symptoms, PNT, emotion regulation deficits, and caregiver burden before and after treatment. ERT-C was well tolerated as indicated by 22 treatment completers and feedback provided in exit interviews. ICs demonstrated reduced depression and anxiety symptoms, PNT, and emotion regulation deficits with moderate to large effect sizes (Hedge's g range: 0.36-0.92). Notably, caregiver burden was not reduced but ICs expressed more ability to confront caregiving-related challenges. Findings offer promising but preliminary support for ERT-C as a conceptual model and treatment modality for distressed cancer ICs. 

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Mindfulness-based stress reduction for family carers of people with dementia

Mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) developed by Jon Kabat‐Zinn has shown to assist carers cope with their stress when they feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of care.  The authors in this Cochrane review aimed to evaluate the evidence supporting the use of MBSR for reducing the psychological distress among carers looking after their family members with dementia.

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Increasing preparedness for caregiving and death in family caregivers of patients with severe illness who are cared for at home - study protocol for a web-based intervention

Background Family caregivers of patients with severe illness and in need for a palliative care approach, face numerous challenges and report having insufficient preparedness for the caregiver role as well as a need for information and psychosocial support. Preparing to care for a severely ill family members also means becoming aware of death. Feelings of being prepared are associated with positive aspects and regarded protective against negative health consequences. Methods The study adheres to the SPIRIT-guidelines (Supplementary 1), uses a pre-post design and include a web-based intervention. Inclusion criteria are; being a family caregiver of a patient with severe illness and in need of a palliative care approach. The intervention which aims to increase preparedness for caregiving and death is grounded in theory, research and clinical experience. The topics cover: medical issues, symptoms and symptom relief; communication within the couple, how to spend the time before death, being a caregiver, planning for the moment of death and; considerations of the future. The intervention is presented through videos and informative texts. The website also holds an online peer-support discussion forum. Study aims are to: evaluate feasibility in terms of framework, content, usage and partners' experiences; explore how the use of the website, influences family caregivers' preparedness for caregiving and death; explore how the use of the website influences family caregivers' knowledge about medical issues, their communication with the patient and their considerations of the future; and to investigate how the family caregivers' preparedness for caregiving and death influences their physical and psychological health and quality of life 1 year after the patient's death. Data will be collected through qualitative interviews and a study-specific questionnaire at four time-points. Discussion This project will provide information about whether support via a website has the potential to increase preparedness for caregiving and death and thereby decrease negative health consequences for family caregivers of patients affected by severe illness. It will provide new knowledge about intervention development, delivery, and evaluation in a palliative care context. Identification of factors before death and their association with family caregivers' preparedness and long-term health may change future clinical work.

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Supporting working carers: How employers and employees can benefit

  • This report examines the ability of working carers to combine caring responsibilities with paid employment and the difference that employer support can make. The report focuses on employees and does not cover the self-employed.
  • Three research questions are addressed: What are the challenges that working carers face? What forms of support do employers provide to working carers, and how does this vary across sectors and types of organisation? How do these forms of support benefit working carers and the organisations for which they work?
  • Findings are based on data from a representative survey of working carers in England and Wales. The survey was commissioned by the CIPD and used a questionnaire developed by the Sustainable Care team administered by YouGov. It was conducted online in July/August 2019 and completed by 970 unpaid carers in paid employment (excluding self-employed workers).
  • The research report is an output from a large research programme – the Sustainable Care: Connecting people and systems programme – based at the University of Sheffield, UK. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the programme is a multidisciplinary project exploring social care arrangements in the UK and around the world.
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The impact of social care services on carers' quality of life

Unpaid care is an important part of long-term care systems. It is increasingly recognised that carers have their own health and well-being needs. Carer-specific interventions, as well as support for the care-recipient, may enable carers to maintain their own health and well-being alongside caring. This study seeks to establish whether and how community-based care services affect carers' quality of life. The Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit for Carers was used to capture carers' social care-related quality of life through qualitative interviews and a survey of carers in England in order to provide insights into the impact of community-based care services on carers' quality of life outcomes.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and carers: Carers NSW Position statement, 7 May 2020

As the peak non-government organisation for carers in NSW, Carers NSW has been closely monitoring related policy developments that may directly impact carers and the people they care for, and has been in continual contact with carers across the state to understand and respond to their changing support needs. This position statement draws on ongoing policy and media analysis, more than 50 carer case studies, and 5 consultations held with 30 carers and other stakeholders.

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Caring Through COVID: Life in Lockdown

This report sets out the findings of a national survey undertaken by Family Carers Ireland between April 14th and May 5th 2020 which examined family carers’ experience of caring during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online survey was completed by 1,307 current family carers representing a range of caring situations – parents caring for children with a disability, those caring for an adult, carers of older people and those caring for multiple people. The survey was open to respondents 18 years and older. As not all respondents completed every question in the survey, a number of the figures given in this report, including those presented here, are based upon responses from fewer than 1,307 carers. A family carer is someone who is providing an ongoing significant level of care to a person who is in need of that care in the home due to illness, disability or frailty.

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What is known from the existing literature about peer support interventions for carers of individuals living with dementia: A scoping review

This scoping review comprehensively describes evidence of using peer support to assist informal carers of individuals with dementia (any type). A systematic search of 11 databases (CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Medline, Embase, PsychInfo, Web of Science, Scopus, Science Direct, ProQuest, TRIP and PubMed) was conducted for research published between 2007-2017 focussing on informal dementia carers, and research designs with interventions incorporating or consisting exclusively of peer support. Authors worked independently to screen retrieved articles, review applicability and extract data. Thirty-six research papers (representing 28 original studies) were identified, from these, two modes of delivery were demonstrated: 12 studies provided the intervention online, and the remainder face-to-face. The review indicated that peer support is of potential benefit to carers if it is delivered via either mode. It is not clear what components may or may not be effective as results provided a mixed landscape of differing intervention effectiveness due to the wide variation in outcome measurements. Trial design using a multi-component intervention was the predominant choice, with the most common components being Information Sharing and Non-Healthcare Professional Support for both delivery modes. The burden/anxiety/depression compendium and health and well-being were the most frequently measured outcomes; perceived level of support was one of the least. The peer support interventions identified included various components, demonstrating no true best practice model. Nonetheless, they can be offered successfully online or face-to-face. This provides a unique opportunity to develop and supply tailored peer support interventions for informal dementia carers to ensure their specific needs are met. Further work is required to construct and evaluate the effectiveness of targeted peer-led support whether online or face-to-face to meet the individual needs of dementia carers.

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Using a Nursing Salon to Identify and Develop an Initiative for Family Caregivers of Older Adults

The purpose of the Aging Well Nursing-Interprofessional Salon was to explore current local community healthcare issues for older adults and to develop innovative strategies that support and enhance their health. An initiative emerged from the salon that focuses on identifying caregivers to ensure their awareness of available support resources. We are in the process of developing a pilot plan that includes collaboration of PhD and doctorate of nursing practice students, nursing faculty, and community agencies that support older adults.

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A Tablet App Supporting Self-Management for People With Dementia: Explorative Study of Adoption and Use Patterns

Background: Assistive technology (AT) is rapidly emerging within dementia care and support. One area of AT application is support of people with dementia in compensating for cognitive symptoms and thereby promoting their self-management. There is, however, little evidence for the applicability, usability, and effectiveness of AT for people with dementia, and there is a need to identify factors that can promote adoption.; Objective: This study aimed to (1) evaluate the applicability and usability of an app, tailor-made for people with dementia; (2) explore factors affecting adoption; (3) explore the possible influence of caregiver involvement; and (4) contribute to process evaluation of the intervention.; Methods: The ReACT (Rehabilitation in Alzheimer's disease using Cognitive support Technology) app was designed as a holistic solution to support memory and structure in daily living. Persons with dementia had access to a personal user account, and family caregivers were given a parallel login. Written and Web-based materials were provided to support self-applied implementation. A mixed methods design was applied to explore adoption and use patterns, including background and disease-related data, qualitative data from a survey, and log data. Adoption was defined as the use of the app over a period of ≥90 days.; Results: Data from 112 participants and 98 caregivers were included. Shorter time from diagnosis (U=595; P=.046; r=0.19) and caregiver activating the app (P=.02) had a significant impact on the participant adoption status. Logistic regression analysis showed that if caregivers had activated the app, the participant was five times more likely to become an adopter (odds ratio 5.1, 95% CI 1.29-19.99; P=.02). However, the overall predictive power was low, and there was a wide variation in background and disease-related characteristics among adopters. The level of experience and skills in tablet use were not significantly different between adopters and nonadopters. Adopters generally rated the app high on usefulness, satisfaction, and ease of use (rated on the USEdem questionnaire). Their scores were significantly higher compared with nonadopters (U=5.5; P=.02; r=0.64). Analysis of use patterns showed that all functionalities of the app were used among adopters.; Conclusions: For participants who became adopters, the ReACT app and the methods for self-applied implementation were applicable. However, the results were also in accordance with the well-known challenges of nonadoption and nonadherence to digital health interventions. The study provided insight into the importance of timely introduction and caregiver support for adoption of AT among people with dementia. It also underlined the high complexity of personal and contextual factors that influence adoption. These complex factors need to be considered when designing and implementing AT for people with dementia.

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Systematic Review of Technology-Based Interventions Targeting Chronically Ill Adults and Their Caregivers

The purpose of this systematic review is to synthesize the study design features as well as the attributes and outcomes of technology-based health interventions targeting chronically ill adults and their family caregivers. Twenty papers representing 19 studies met the inclusion criteria. Various theoretical foundations or approaches guided the interventions in 11 studies. Interventions either aimed to support patient self-management and improve patient outcomes or enhance shared illness management and improve patient and caregiver outcomes. The interventions included educational, behavioral, and support components and were delivered using various technologies ranging from text messaging to using the Internet. Overall, patients and caregivers expressed improvements in self-management outcomes (or support) and quality of life. Interventions with a dyadic focus reported on interpersonal outcomes, with improvements noted mostly in patients. This review captures an emerging area of science, and findings should be interpreted in light of the methodological limitations of the included studies.

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A systematic review of online interventions for families of patients with severe mental disorders

Background: Several studies show the effectiveness of face-to-face interventions with families in improving the prognosis of patients with severe psychiatric disorders and their relatives; however, the effectiveness of online interventions is poorly understood. The current study aims to provide an overview of evidence for the effectiveness of online treatments (web/app) for patients with severe psychiatric disorders and their families.; Method: We performed a systematic review of online treatments for informal family caregivers of patients with a severe psychiatric disorder. The study psychological interventions had to have been administered in an exclusively online format (app, internet) and aimed at families of patients with severe mental disorder (at least one of first episode psychosis, schizophrenia, schizoaffective, bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorder).; Results: Of a total of 1331 articles, we identified 9 viable studies; 4 randomized clinical trials, and 5 nonrandomized clinical studies. The present study is the first systematic review in this area. Online interventions were well accepted, with good adherence and satisfaction among the caregivers and patients and improved the symptoms of both caregivers and patients.; Limitations: Clinical and methodological diversity of the studies.; Conclusions: Burden improved, and perceived stress decreased in families. Moreover, the severity of positive symptoms decreased and fewer hospitalizations were recorded in patients than in the control group. Therefore, online interventions are a promising therapeutic approach for patients with severe mental disorder and their families. However, more studies-particularly randomized clinical trials-are needed in this area.

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A systematic meta-review of self-management support for people with dementia

Self-management support for people with dementia is important to help them and their family caregivers to cope with challenges in daily live. Insight into the effects of self-management support interventions on people with dementia is however lacking, despite existing relevant systematic reviews. We therefore conducted a meta-review of relevant systematic reviews, following the PRISMA statement. Systematic literature searches were conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, Embase and PsycINFO. The searches were done in December 2015, and all relevant references until then were taken into consideration. No conclusions about the effects of self-management support interventions on people with dementia could be drawn. Recommendations for future research and practice include that self-management support interventions and effect measurements should be wider in scope than psychological well-being.

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Staging dementia based on caregiver reported patient symptoms: Implications from a latent class analysis

Background: Tailoring interventions to the needs of caregivers is an important feature of successful caregiver support programs. To improve cost-effectiveness, group tailoring based on the stage of dementia could be a good alternative. However, existing staging strategies mostly depend on trained professionals. Objective: This study aims to stage dementia based on caregiver reported symptoms of persons with dementia. Methods: Latent class analysis was used. The classes derived were then mapped with disease duration to define the stages. Logistic regression with receiver operating characteristic curve was used to generate the optimal cut-offs. Results: Latent class analysis suggested a 4-class solution, these four classes were named as early (25.9%), mild (25.2%), moderate (16.7%) and severe stage (32.3%). The stages based on the cut-offs generated achieved an overall accuracy of 90.8% compared to stages derived from latent class analysis. Conclusion: The current study confirmed that caregiver reported patient symptoms could be used to classify persons with dementia into different stages. The new staging strategy is a good complement of existing dementia clinical assessment tools in terms of better supporting informal caregivers. 

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Service users' and carers' experiences of engaging with early intervention services: A meta-synthesis review

Aim: The provision and implementation of early intervention for psychosis services (early intervention services [EIS]) has received increasing attention over recent years. Maximizing engagement with EIS is of clinical and economic importance, and exploring the experiences of those who access EIS is vital. Although research has been conducted exploring the experiences of engaging with EIS from both a service user and carer/family member point of view, these data have not been systematically collated to generate new understanding. The primary aim of this study is to review, critically appraise and synthesize qualitative findings relating to the experiences of service users and/or carers and family members engaging with EIS.; Methods: Four databases were systematically searched. Studies were analysed using an inductive thematic analysis approach, within a critical realist epistemological framework. Studies were critically appraised using the critical appraisal skills programme tool.; Results: Fourteen papers were identified for inclusion. Three main themes were identified: the importance of a personal relationship with an EIS staff member, the impact of this relationship and consideration of life after EIS. The importance of a strong relationship with EIS staff was the most prominent theme throughout the papers reviewed.; Conclusions: The quality of the therapeutic relationship with at least one EIS staff member was the single most important factor in determining whether the experience of accessing EIS was a positive or negative one. The majority of the studies reviewed were conducted in the United Kingdom or Australia. Therefore, more research across countries is needed to understand transferability of findings.

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The role of the clinical nurse specialist multiple sclerosis, the patients' and families' and carers' perspective: An integrative review

Background: MS is a common, neurological disease and it's unpredictable, progressive disabling nature can have a devastating effect on patients, their families' and carers. It is therefore important that the MS Clinical Nurse Specialist develops appropriate skills, services and professional expertise to support individuals along the disease trajectory.; Design: An integrative literature review.; Method: A systematic search of nine databases; Cinahl, Medline, Scopus, Embase, Ovid, AMED, Academic Search Complete, Web of Science, PsycINFO up to January 31, 2018. Hand searching and review of secondary references also undertaken. Reporting using the PRISMA guidelines, quality appraised (Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool) and thematic data analysis approach (Braun and Clarke 2006).; Results: Findings from the 17 studies were extracted, synthesised and analysed thematically. Three themes emerged; the MS CNS as a longitudinal care co-ordinator, a bespoke care provider, and an expert resource. The findings suggest a strong desire for the MS CNS to be a leading health care professional to meet the needs of patient, family, and carer.; Conclusion: It can be argued that MS CNSs are best placed to meet the complex, variable needs individuals with MS, their families and carers. Further evidence is required to explore the variability of the disease and the progressive effect and impact of cognitive decline on MS patient, families' and carers' in order to meet their fluctuating and often complex needs. Findings from the review suggest a multifaceted role, and additionally, the needs of patients, families and carers are difficult to define as they vary over time as the disease progresses.

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Randomized controlled trial of supportive care interventions to manage psychological distress and symptoms in Latinas with breast cancer and their informal caregivers

Objective: The purpose of this study was to test two 2-month psychosocial interventions (Telephone Interpersonal Counseling [TIPC] and Supportive Health Education [SHE]) to improve quality of life (QOL) outcomes for Latinas with breast cancer and their informal caregivers. Methods: Two hundred and forty-one Latinas with breast cancer and their caregivers were assessed at baseline, immediately after the 2-month intervention, at 4 and 6 months after baseline. QOL outcomes were psychological distress, symptoms and social support. Results: Linear mixed effects models showed that for cancer survivors at 2 months, TIPC produced lower adjusted mean depression scores compared to SHE. At 4 months, SHE had reduced total number of symptoms, global symptom distress, and social isolation compared to TIPC. Only total number of symptoms was lower in SHE than in TIPC at 6 months. Among caregivers at 2 months, total number of symptoms, global symptom distress, and anxiety were lower, and self-efficacy for symptom management was higher in SHE compared to TIPC. Caregiver depression was lower in TIPC compared to SHE at 4 months. Conclusions: These telephone delivered interventions improved different outcomes. TIPC demonstrated superior benefits for depression management and SHE was more successful in anxiety and cancer-related symptom management. 

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Psychosocial Interventions for Family Carers of People With Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Objective:This study aimed to review and synthesize findings of the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions aimed at improving outcomes for family carers of people with dementia. Method: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. We systematically searched the following databases: Cochrane, PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycInfo, Excerpta Medica Database (EMBASE), and Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (ASSIA). RevMan 5 software was used to conduct meta-analysis and subgroup analysis using a random-effects model. Results: The search yielded 22 high-quality intervention articles that were suitable for further meta-analysis. Meta-analysis revealed that psychosocial interventions have a small to moderate significant effect on carer burden (standardized mean difference [SMD] = -0.34, confidence interval [CI] = [-0.59, -0.09]), depression (SMD = -0.36, CI = [-0.60, -0.13]), and general health (SMD = 0.34, CI = [0.18, 0.51]). Discussion: Psychosocial interventions had a positive impact on carer outcomes; however, these results should be interpreted with caution, given the significant level of heterogeneity in study designs. Future research could examine contextual and implementation mechanisms underlying psychosocial interventions to develop effective support systems for family carers of people with dementia.

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Why do family dementia caregivers reject caregiver support services? Analyzing types of rejection and associated health-impairments in a cluster-randomized controlled intervention trial

Although there are a number of support services accessible for most family dementia caregivers, many caregivers reject available and affordable support. Previous research suggests that rejections of support services may result from insufficient fit of available services with caregivers’ unmet needs and a lack of acknowledgement of caregivers’ unmet needs and associated support services. The present study investigates (a) the number, proportion and types of caregivers’ rejection on recommended tailored support, (b) socio-demographic and clinical determinants of caregiver’s rejection of both people with dementia (PwD) and caregivers, and (c) caregivers’ health-related variables related to caregivers’ rejection.

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Online training and support program (iSupport) for informal dementia caregivers: protocol for an intervention study in Portugal

Background: Informal caregivers (IC) of people with dementia (PwD) are at greater risk of developing physical and mental health problems when compared to the general population and to IC of people with other chronic diseases. Internet-based interventions have been explored for their potential to minimize the negative effects of caring, accounting for their ubiquitous nature, convenient delivery, potential scalability and presumed (cost) effectiveness. iSupport is a self-help online program developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide education, skills training and support to IC of PwD. This paper describes the design of an intervention study aimed at determining the effectiveness of a Portuguese culturally adapted version of iSupport on mental health and other well-being outcomes.; Methods: The study follows an experimental parallel between-group design with two arms: access to the five modules and twenty-three lessons of "iSupport" for three months (intervention group); or access to an education-only e-book (comparison group). One hundred and eighty four participants will be recruited by referral from national associations. Inclusion criteria are: being 18 years or older and provide e-consent; being a self-reported non-paid caregiver for at least six months; of a person with a formal diagnosis of dementia; being skilled to use internet; and experience a clinically relevant level of burden (≥ 21 on Zarit Burden Interview) or depression or anxiety symptoms (≥ 8 on Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Data is collected online, resorting to self-administered instruments, at baseline, 3 and 6 months after baseline. The primary outcome is caregiver burden, measured by the Zarit Burden Interview. Symptoms of depression and anxiety, quality of life, positive aspects of caregiving and general self-efficacy are secondary study outcomes. The data analysis will follow an Intention-to-treat (ITT) protocol.; Discussion: This protocol is an important resource for the many organizations in several countries aiming to replicate iSupport. Findings from this intervention study will offer evidence to bolster an informed decision making on scaling up iSupport as a new intervention program with minimal costs aimed at minimizing the psychological distress of IC of PwD in Portugal and elsewhere.; Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04104568. Registered 26 September 2019.;

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Namaste care in the home setting: developing initial realist explanatory theories and uncovering unintended outcomes

Introduction: The End-of-Life Namaste Care Program for People with Dementia, challenges the misconception that people with dementia are a 'shell'; it provides a holistic approach using the five senses, which can provide positive ways of communicating and emotional responses. It is proposed Namaste Care can improve communication and the relationships families and friends have with the person with dementia. Previously used in care homes, this study is the first to explore the pioneering use of Namaste Care in people's own homes.; Objective: To develop initial programme theories detailing if, how and under which circumstances Namaste Care works when implemented at home.; Design: A qualitative realist approach following the RAMESES II guidelines was employed to understand not only whether Namaste Care has positive outcomes, but also how these are generated, for whom they happen and in which circumstances.; Setting: A hospice in the North East of England, operating in the community, through volunteers.; Participants: Programme theories were developed from three focus groups with volunteers implementing Namaste Care (n=8; n=8; n=11) and eight interviews with family carers (n=8).; Results: Four refined explanatory theories are presented: increasing engagement, respite for family carers, importance of matched volunteers and increasing social interaction. It was identified that while Namaste Care achieved some of the same goals in the home setting as it does in the care home setting, it could also function in a different way that promoted socialisation.; Conclusions: Namaste Care provides holistic and personalised care to people with both moderate and advanced dementia, improving engagement and reducing social isolation. In the present study carers often chose to use Namaste Care sessions as respite. This was often linked to their frustration of the unavoidable dominance of task-focussed care in daily life. Individualised Namaste Care activities thus led to positive outcomes for both those with dementia and their carers.

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Multiple family group intervention for spinal cord injury: Quantitative and qualitative comparison with standard education

Objective: To evaluate a Multiple Family Group (MFG) education and support intervention for individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and their primary caregivers. We hypothesized that MFG would be superior to an Education Control Group (EC) for improving patient activation and coping skills, social supports, and relationship functioning. Setting: A large free-standing inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation facility. Participants: Community dwelling adults with SCI and their caregivers living in the Northwest United States. Interventions/Methods: Nineteen individuals with SCI who had been discharged from inpatient rehabilitation within the previous three years, and their primary caregivers participated. Patient/caregiver pairs were randomized to the MFG intervention or an active SCI EC condition in a two-armed clinical trial design. Participants were assessed pre- and post-program and 6 months post-program. Qualitative and quantitative outcomes were evaluated. Focus groups were conducted with each group to determine benefits and recommendations for improvement. Results: Relative to EC, MFG reduced passive coping and increased subjective and overall social support in participants with SCI. Relative to EC, MFG also reduced passive coping in caregivers. Patient activation relative to EC was non-significantly increased. Content analysis identified four themes describing participants' experiences: enhanced sense of belonging, increased opportunities for engagement, knowledge, and team work; results that were generally congruent with quantitative measures of improved social support. Conclusions: Relative to EC, MFG assisted participants with SCI and their caregivers to manage the difficult, long-term, life adjustments by improving coping and strengthening social support.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02161913. Registered 10 June 2014.

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Mindfulness Training Supports Quality of Life and Advance Care Planning in Adults With Metastatic Cancer and Their Caregivers: Results of a Pilot Study

Background: Emotional distress often causes patients with cancer and their family caregivers (FCGs) to avoid end-of-life discussions and advance care planning (ACP), which may undermine quality of life (QoL). Most ACP interventions fail to address emotional barriers that impede timely ACP.; Aim: We assessed feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of a mindfulness-based intervention to facilitate ACP for adults with advanced-stage cancer and their FCGs.; Design: A single-arm pilot was conducted to assess the impact of a 6-week group mindfulness intervention on ACP behaviors (patients only), QoL, family communication, avoidant coping, distress, and other outcomes from baseline (T1) to post-intervention (T2) and 1 month later (T3).; Participants: Eligible patients had advanced-stage solid malignancies, limited ACP engagement, and an FCG willing to participate. Thirteen dyads (N = 26 participants) enrolled at an academic cancer center in the United States.; Results: Of eligible patients, 59.1% enrolled. Attendance (70.8% across 6 sessions) and retention (84.6% for patients; 92.3% for FCGs) through T3 were acceptable. Over 90% of completers reported high intervention satisfaction. From T1 to T3, patient engagement more than doubled in each of 3 ACP behaviors assessed. Patients reported large significant decreases in distress at T2 and T3. Family caregivers reported large significant improvements in QoL and family communication at T2 and T3. Both patients and FCGs reported notable reductions in sleep disturbance and avoidant coping at T3.; Conclusions: The mindfulness intervention was feasible and acceptable and supported improvements in ACP and associated outcomes for patients and FCGs. A randomized trial of mindfulness training for ACP is warranted. The study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov with identifier NCT02367508 ( https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02367508 ).

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medAR: An augmented reality application to improve participation in health‐care decisions by family‐based intervention

[...]I would like to revise his statement slightly, to read: ‘We acknowledge that family and significant others can play a significant role in the process of decision making in some patients from non‐Western or Western cultural backgrounds more or less.’ [my emphasis]. [...]we equally know that doctors do not fulfil the obligation of medical information provision from the perspective of Chinese patients. If a couple of users open the phone app medAR at the same time, one can experience AR through scanning the marker in another phone Then in family caregivers of cesarean section maternity, six participators (control group) received symptomatic treatment, normal health care and communication as usual, meanwhile they were compared with five participators (medAR group) who experienced medAR and received the same treatment as control group.

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Managing Urinary Incontinence

This article is part of a series, Supporting Family Caregivers: No Longer Home Alone, published in collaboration with the AARP Public Policy Institute. Results of focus groups, conducted as part of the AARP Public Policy Institute's No Longer Home Alone video project, supported evidence that family caregivers aren't given the information they need to manage the complex care regimens of family members. This series of articles and accompanying videos aims to help nurses provide caregivers with the tools they need to manage their family member's health care at home.The articles in this new installment of the series provide simple and useful instructions that nurses should reinforce with family caregivers. This article is the second of two that provide an update on urinary incontinence and its management in older adults. It includes an informational tear sheet-Information for Family Caregivers-that contains links to the instructional videos. To use this series, nurses should read the articles first, so they understand how best to help family caregivers, and then encourage caregivers to watch the videos and ask questions. For additional information, see Resources for Nurses.

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Living with dementia: using mentalization-based understandings to support family carers

The number of people living with dementia is rising due to the aging of the population. Nearly two thirds of people with dementia live at home and the majority of the emotional and practical support that they receive is provided by family carers. Psychodynamic perspectives provide a valuable framework of understanding from which to consider the emotional dimensions of caring for a family member who is living with dementia. This paper offers a further contribution to this emerging field of knowledge by discussing the impact that mentalizing and non-mentalizing states of mind may have on the dynamics of the relationship between a person with dementia and their family carers. The potential benefits of using mentalization-based understandings are illustrated by four case vignettes. The vignettes are taken from a communication skills training course for family carers called Empowered Conversations and a web-based support initiative called Empowered Carers, which is targeted at family carers who provide intensive support for people living with dementia in their own homes. 

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The Kintun program for families with dementia: From novel experiment to national policy (innovative practice)

The Kintun program is the first public health strategy specifically designed for dementia care in Chile. It was launched in 2013 in the city of Santiago with support from the National Service for the Elderly and the Municipality of Peñalolén. Using an interdisciplinary team, the program seeks to promote community integration and better support for persons with dementia and their caregivers. The multicomponent program includes: an activity-based day care center, training and education of family caregivers, home visits, and community outreach to increase dementia awareness. Case management helps to monitor ongoing needs and link families to resources. To date, 259 dyads (persons with dementia and their families) have been enrolled in the program. Due to its success in 2015, the Kintun program received funding from the Ministry of Health. This has led to the integration of previously disparate initiatives, better consistency across services, and the development of a comprehensive national dementia plan for Chile. 

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"It has been fun. Super‐duper fantastic": Findings from a Danish respite programme to support young carers

Awareness of young carers' experiences and needs is low on governmental and societal levels in Denmark. This article presents findings from the first evaluation of a Danish respite programme, the Buddy Programme, which aims to provide support to young carers aged 5–15 years who experience serious, chronic or mental health problems and/or death of a parent or sibling. Over a four‐six month period, volunteer students from University College Copenhagen offer young carers the opportunity of respite through participating in ordinary activities such as play and sports. In 2017–2018, based on a child‐centred approach, we conducted a qualitative study with interviews focusing on how the Buddy programme affected the children. The interviews took place at programme start, halfway through, and after completion with 22 children and 21 parents, as well as single interviews with 20 Buddies assigned to families after completion. Three main themes were identified: (1) the Buddy programme as an activity, (2) how the Buddy Programme affected the children and (3) ending the Buddy programme and wanting to continue the friendship. Our findings emphasise the importance of fun and cosy activities that provide children with respite from the serious concerns that otherwise fill the lives of young carers. Being with a Buddy created a free space, allowing children to play undisturbed and to temporarily keep concerns and a guilty conscience at a distance. By offering friendship, Buddies provided opportunities for young carers to feel special, be seen, acknowledged and taken seriously as a child with valid and specific needs and interests. Our findings may help increase awareness of the needs and interests of young carers on governmental and societal levels.

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Interventions to enhance access to and utilization of formal community care services for home dwelling persons with dementia and their informal carers. A scoping review

Objectives: Home dwelling people with dementia and their informal carers often do not receive the formal care services they need. This study examined and mapped the research regarding interventions to improve access and use of formal community care services. Method: This is a scoping review with searches in PubMed, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Medline, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Social Science Citation index and searches of grey literature in international and national databases. Studies were categorized according to the measure used to enhance access or use. Results: From international databases, 2833 studies were retrieved, 11 were included. Five studies were included from other sources. In total, 16 studies published between 1989 and 2018 were examined; seven randomized controlled trials, six pretest-posttest studies and three non-randomized controlled studies. Sample sizes varied from 29 to 2682 participants, follow-up from four weeks to four years. Five types of interventions were identified: Case management, monetary support, referral enhancing, awareness & information focused and inpatient focused. Only two studies had access or use of community services as the primary outcome. Fourteen studies, representing all five types of interventions, had positive effects on one or more relevant outcomes. Two interventions had no effect on relevant outcomes. Conclusion: The included studies varied widely regarding design, type of intervention and outcomes. Based on this, the evidence base for interventions to enhance access to and use of formal community services is judged to be limited. The most studied type of intervention was case management. More research is recommended in this field.

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The influence of songwriting on quality of life of family caregivers of people with dementia: An exploratory study

Introduction: Living with a person with dementia (PWD) causes physical and psychological problems in family caregivers (FCGs), as well as a reduction in their Quality of Life (QOL). The purpose of this study was to examine the possible effectiveness of the therapeutic songwriting method for improving the QOL and well-being of FCGs of PWD. Methods: The sample of caregivers (n = 21) was divided into three homogeneous groups that received 12 intervention sessions. A non-randomized, quasi-experimental design with repeated measures (pre-post intervention) was employed to determine a possible therapeutic effect. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36v2), Beck Depression Inventory, and Rosenberg Self- Esteem Scale were administered before and after the intervention. Results: The results showed a decrease in anxiety and depression scores and an increase in scores of self-esteem after the intervention. Regarding QOL, post-intervention scores in the Mental Component Summary and Mental Health were significantly higher. In contrast, a small effect size was observed for difference between pre-test and post-test on the subscales of QOL: General Health, Social functioning, Role Emotional and Bodily Pain. Discussion: This exploratory study concludes that therapeutic songwriting can help to reduce caregivers' symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve their perceived self-esteem and QOL. This work reinforces the progress made to date and provides new results that highlight the benefits of music therapy for FCGs of PWD.

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How Do Military Family Caregivers Who Completed a Supportive Intervention Differ From Those Who Dropped Out?

Background. To create efficacious interventions for military family caregivers (MFCs), it is important to understand the characteristics and predictors of completers and dropouts of newly developed supportive interventions. Aim. The purpose of this study was to examine completion patterns in MFCs enrolled in an educational intervention feasibility study. Method. Baseline data are presented from MFC completers (n = 64) and dropouts (n = 60) of a national feasibility study for an innovative intervention. Measures include depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-2), anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7), somatic symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-15), quality of life (World Health Organization Quality of Life-Brief), relationship satisfaction (Relationship Assessment Scale), and military care recipient number of injuries. Analysis of variance was used to evaluate differences between completers and dropouts and logistic regression was used to identify predictors of intervention completion. Results. Results indicated that MFCs with greater anxiety, χ2(3) = 10.33, p = .02; depression, χ2(1) = 8.18, p = .004; somatic symptoms, F(1, 106) = 6.26, p = .01; care recipient number of injuries, F(1, 118) = 16.31, p < .001; lower general satisfaction with treatment, F(1, 96) = 4.34, p = .04; and lower satisfaction with accessibility and convenience with treatment, F(1, 89) = 4.18, p = .04, were significantly more likely to complete the intervention. After multivariate analysis, the sole predictor of intervention completion was the number of care recipients' injuries, χ2(6) = 14.89, N = 77, p < .05. Conclusions. Overall, findings indicate that MFCs who were more "at risk" were more likely to complete the intervention. Findings present patterns of intervention completion and provide insight on areas in need of further investigation on intervention development supporting the needs of MFCs.

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Family Caregiving for Older Adults

Family members are the primary source of support for older adults with chronic illness and disability. Thousands of published empirical studies and dozens of reviews have documented the psychological and physical health effects of caregiving, identified caregivers at risk for adverse outcomes, and evaluated a wide range of intervention strategies to support caregivers. Caregiving as chronic stress exposure is the conceptual driver for much of this research. We review and synthesize the literature on the impact of caregiving and intervention strategies for supporting caregivers. The impact of caregiving is highly variable, driven largely by the intensity of care provided and the suffering of the care recipient. The intervention literature is littered with many failures and some successes. Successful interventions address both the pragmatics of care and the emotional toll of caregiving. We conclude with both research and policy recommendations that address a national agenda for caregiving.

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Elements of Social Convoy Theory in Mobile Health for Palliative Care: Scoping Review

Background: Mobile health (mHealth) provides a unique modality for improving access to and awareness of palliative care among patients, families, and caregivers from diverse backgrounds. Some mHealth palliative care apps exist, both commercially available and established by academic researchers. However, the elements of family support and family caregiving tools offered by these early apps is unknown.; Objective: The objective of this scoping review was to use social convoy theory to describe the inclusion and functionality of family, social relationships, and caregivers in palliative care mobile apps.; Methods: Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Review guidelines, a systematic search of palliative care mHealth included (1) research-based mobile apps identified from academic searches published between January 1, 2010, and March 31, 2019 and (2) commercially available apps for app stores in April 2019. Two reviewers independently assessed abstracts, app titles, and descriptions against the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Abstracted data covered app name, research team or developer, palliative care element, target audience, and features for family support and caregiving functionality as defined by social convoy theory.; Results: Overall, 10 articles describing 9 individual research-based apps and 22 commercially available apps were identified. Commercially available apps were most commonly designed for both patients and social convoys, whereas the majority of research apps were designed for patient use only.; Conclusions: Results suggest there is an emerging presence of apps for patients and social convoys receiving palliative care; however, there are many needs for developers and researchers to address in the future. Although palliative care mHealth is a growing field, additional research is needed for apps that embrace a team approach to information sharing, target family- and caregiver-specific issues, promote access to palliative care, and are comprehensive of palliative needs.

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Effects of Accessible Health Technology and Caregiver Support Posthospitalization on 30-Day Readmission Risk: A Randomized Trial

Patients with chronic illness often require ongoing support postdischarge. This study evaluated a simple-to-use, mobile health-based program designed to improve postdischarge follow-up via (1) tailored communication to patients using automated calls, (2) structured feedback to informal caregivers, and (3) automated alerts to clinicians about urgent problems. A total of 283 patients with common medical diagnoses, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, pneumonia, and diabetes, were recruited from a university hospital, a community hospital, and a US Department of Veterans Affairs hospital. All patients identified an informal caregiver or "care partner" (CP) to participate in their postdischarge support. Patient-CP dyads were randomized to the intervention or usual care. Intervention patients received weekly automated assessment and behavior change calls. CPs received structured e-mail feedback. Outpatient clinicians received fax alerts about serious problems. Primary outcomes were 30-day readmission rate and the combined outcome of readmission/emergency department (ED) use. Information about postdischarge outpatient visits, rehospitalizations, and ED encounters was obtained from medical records. Overall, 11.4% of intervention patients and 17.9% of controls were rehospitalized within 30 days postdischarge (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.59; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.31–1.11; p = 0.102). Compared to intervention patients with other illnesses, those with pulmonary diagnoses generated the most clinical alerts (p = 0.004). Pulmonary patients in the intervention group showed significantly reduced 30-day risk of rehospitalization relative to controls (HR: 0.31; 95% CI: 0.11–0.87; p = 0.026). The CP intervention did not improve 30-day readmission rates overall, although post hoc analyses suggested that it may be promising among patients with pulmonary diagnoses.

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The Effect of National Family Caregiver Support Program Services on Caregiver Burden

Extant evidence on the effectiveness of caregiver programs in alleviating caregiver burden is mixed, underscoring the need for further investigations. This study evaluated the effect of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) educational services and respite care on caregiver burden. We used survey data from caregivers assigned to program (n = 491) or comparison (n = 417) group based on their reported use of NFCSP services. Adjusted difference-in-differences (DiD) analysis found an increase in mean burden scores for both groups from baseline to 6 or 12 months. Among program caregivers receiving ≥4 hr of NFCSP respite care per week (n = 307) and matched comparisons (n = 370), burden scores decreased slightly for program caregivers (-0.095 points), but increased for comparison caregivers (+0.145 points). The DiD (0.239 points) was not statistically significant. More research is needed to determine the minimum amount of respite care needed to positively impact caregiver burden.

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The development of a family participatory dignity therapy programme for patients with haematologic neoplasms and their family caregivers in China: A feasibility study

Objective: To develop a communication prompt based on dignity therapy to facilitate effective conversations between patients with haematologic neoplasms and their family caregivers and to improve the programme and preliminarily explore the benefits and challenges of family participatory dignity therapy (FPDT).; Methods: A mixed-methods approach was applied to develop and revise the programme. The FPDT was developed and validated using the Delphi survey, and its further improvement was explored with a simple one-group pre- and post-trial and semi-structured in-depth interviews.; Results: Most of the FPDT items were endorsed by experts and patient-family dyads. The Content Validity Index was 93.6% in the first round of the Delphi survey and 100% in the second round. The "hope level," "spiritual well-being" and "general health" scores of pre- and post-testing increased from 33.60 ± 4.30 to 37.70 ± 5.10 (t = 3.99, p = .003); from 30.30 ± 3.65 to 38.80 ± 7.29(t = 4.13, p = .003); and from 41.67 ± 8.78 to 53.33 ± 8.05 (t = 3.50, p = .007) respectively. The qualitative data also indicated that the project was meaningful and well received.; Conclusions: We showed that FPDT was a valuable and feasible means of improving communication between patients with haematologic neoplasms and their family caregivers in China by raising the hope level and spiritual well-being and promoting general health.

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Coping with cognitive impairment and family caregiving: Introduction to the special section

Consistent with the long history within Psychology and Aging of publishing high impact articles on family caregiving, the current Special Section includes 5 articles that provide important advances, in knowledge and in methodological sophistication, to the study of cognitive difficulty, impairment and family caregiving. One study used daily diary data over 14 days to conduct microlongitudinal analyses of the prospective impact of everyday memory failures on negative affect and marital interactions in older couples. Also relying on dyadic data, 2 other articles addressed the impact of caregiving on family members, including a study of the effects of transitioning to family caregiving over time on well-being in older husbands and wives, and a comparison of primary and secondary caregivers. Together, these articles represent important methodological advances in terms of the use of longitudinal data to study the effects of transition to cognitive impairment and spousal caregiving within the couple, and the inclusion of multiple caregivers to illustrate the impacts of caregiving in the broader family. In addition, two articles examined issues in clinical intervention for caregivers. Both articles offer new insights about the effectiveness of caregiver interventions, with the former focusing on the relative merits of offering intervention components in a flexible way over the manualized approach, and the latter a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to tease out the relative utility of different intervention characteristics and approaches, with a new lens to look at psychoeducational programs. The implications of these articles for family caregiving and further research advances are discussed. 

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Applying the concept of structural empowerment to interactions between families and home-care nurses

Interpretations of family carer empowerment in much nursing research, and in home-care practice and policy, rarely attend explicitly to families' choice or control about the nature, extent or length of their involvement, or control over the impact on their own health. In this article, structural empowerment is used as an analytic lens to examine home-care nurses' interactions with families in one Western Canadian region. Data were collected from 75 hrs of fieldwork in 59 interactions (18 nurses visiting 16 families) and interviews with 12 nurses and 11 family carers. Generally, nurses prioritized client empowerment, and their practice with families appeared oriented to supporting their role and needs as carers (i.e. rather than as unique individuals beyond the caring role), and reinforcing the caring role through validation and recognition. Although families generally expressed appreciation for these interactions, a structural empowerment lens illustrates how the broad context of home care shapes the interpretation and practice of empowerment in ways that can, paradoxically, be disempowering for families. Opportunities to effectively support family choice and control when a client is being cared for at home are discussed.

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An Informal Carer Hub to Support Carers Looking After COPD Patients in the UK and Netherlands

In the UK, about 3 million people live with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Informal carers such as family and friends play a vital role in promoting well-being among older adults suffering from COPD. However, difficulties experienced by caregivers are increasing and affecting their quality of life. New technologies and innovations such as m-health have the potential in reducing the burden of these carers. In this paper, we propose an informal carer hub (ICH), which is part of the WELCOME EU project to help informal carers better manage COPD patients in two European countries: the UK and the Netherlands. The acceptability of the system has been tested by making use of a modified version of the technology acceptance model (TAM 3). The aim of this study was to ensure that the proposed informal carer application is easy to learn, effective to use and acceptable from the informal carers’ perspectives. 

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Typology of Technology-Supported Dementia Care Interventions From an In-Home Telehealth Trial

Identifying the needs of dementia caregivers is critical for supporting dementia home care. This study identified a typology of expert interventions delivered to dementia caregivers during an innovative telehealth trial that used in-home video recordings to directly observe care challenges. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze narrative notes describing interventions that were developed based on video data submitted by 33 caregiver–care recipient dyads. Two major themes emerged: education and skills for dementia care and caregiver support. Ten subthemes included education and skills related to: behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, disease expectations, safety, activities of daily living, medical care optimization, and medication utilization and caregiver support related to: respite, positive reinforcement, social and financial support, and self-care. Families providing in-home dementia care experience a wide range of care challenges. By using video data, dementia care experts were able to witness and evaluate challenging care situations and provide individualized feedback. 

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Supporting Family Caregivers With Technology for Dementia Home Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Background and Objectives: The number of persons living with dementia (PLWD) in the United States will reach 16 million by 2050. Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia challenge family caregivers and contribute to negative caregiver outcomes such as burden and depression. Available technology can support the delivery of effective interventions to families providing dementia care at home. The Supporting Family Caregivers with Technology for Dementia Home Care (FamTechCare) randomized controlled trial evaluated the effects of a telehealth intervention on caregiver outcomes.; Research Design and Methods: The FamTechCare intervention provides tailored dementia-care strategies to in-home caregivers based on video recordings caregivers submit of challenging care situations. An expert team reviews the videos and provides individualized interventions weekly for the experimental group. In the telephone-support attention control group, caregivers receive feedback from an interventionist via the telephone based on caregiver retrospective recall of care challenges. Effects of the intervention on caregiver outcomes, including burden, depression, sleep disturbance, competence, desire to institutionalize the PLWD, and caregiver reaction to behavioral symptoms were evaluated by fitting linear mixed regression models to changes in the outcomes measured at 1 and 3 months.; Results: FamTechCare caregivers (n = 42) had greater reductions in depression (p = .012) and gains in competence (p = .033) after 3 months compared to the attention control group (n = 41). Living in rural areas was associated with a reduction in depression for FamTechCare caregivers (p = .002). Higher level of education was associated with greater improvements or lesser declines in burden, competence, and reaction to behavioral symptoms for both the FamTechCare and attention control caregivers.; Discussion and Implications: This research demonstrated benefits of using available technology to link families to dementia care experts using video-recording technology. It provides a foundation for future research testing telehealth interventions, tailored based on rich contextual data to support families, including those in rural or remote locations.

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Psychosocial Interventions for Informal Caregivers of Lung Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review

Objective: Caregivers of patients with lung cancer often face physical, emotional, and financial distress, which not only negatively affects the caregivers' mental health and quality of life but may also impact patients' well-being. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the content, delivery, and efficacy of psychosocial interventions targeting caregivers of lung cancer patients.; Methods: Studies included in this systematic review assessed psychosocial interventions for caregivers of lung cancer patients that were published in English between January 2009 and December 2017. These interventions focused on burden, mental health, quality of life, self-efficacy, and/or coping as outcome measures. CINAHL, PubMed, PsycInfo, Science Direct, and Web of Science databases were searched using the terms (lung cancer OR lung neoplasms OR thoracic cancer) AND (caregiver OR caregiving) AND (intervention OR program) to systematically review the relevant literature on this topic.; Results: From the 22 studies included in this systematic review, interventions were classified into four categories: communication-based interventions, coping skills training interventions, multicomponent interventions, and stress reduction interventions. The majority of the interventions (especially communication-based and multicomponent) led to improvement, albeit not always statistically significant, in one or more outcomes; however, the most frequently reported improvements included, burden, distress, anxiety, depression, overall quality of life, self-efficacy, and coping abilities.; Conclusions: The unmet needs of informal caregivers of lung cancer patients have a significant impact on their mental health and quality of life, but this burden can be alleviated by psychosocial interventions that offer appropriate support, education, and resources.

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Process Evaluation of Nurse-Led Online Self-Management Support for Family Caregivers to Deal With Behavior Changes of a Relative With Dementia (Part 1): Mixed Methods Study

Background: Coping with behavioral changes is a daily challenge for family caregivers in all phases of dementia, and assistance is needed for it. An online self-management support intervention was therefore developed and conducted involving the following elements: (1) email contact with a specialized dementia nurse, (2) online videos, and (3) e-bulletins containing information about behavior changes and how to manage them.; Objective: The aim of this study was to understand (1) family caregivers' actual use of various elements of the online self-management support, (2) family caregivers' evaluation and satisfaction with the various elements, and (3) nurses' usage and evaluations of the online support through the tailored email contacts.; Methods: A mixed methods design was used in this process evaluation, combining quantitative and qualitative methods including analyses of dementia nurses' registration forms, the number of clicks on online videos and e-bulletins, evaluation questions answered by family caregivers in a survey questionnaire, semistructured interviews with family caregivers and nurses, and analysis of the content of the email contacts.; Results: The actual use of various elements of the online self-management support by family caregivers varied: 78% (21/27) of family caregivers had an email contact with the specialist nurse, 80% (43/54) of family caregivers clicked on an online video, and 37% (30/81) clicked on an e-bulletin. Family caregivers showed positive evaluations and satisfaction. The tailor-made approach in the personal email contacts in particular was valued by the family caregivers. Nurses' evaluations about providing self-management support online were mixed as it was a relatively new task for them.; Conclusions: An important insight is that not all participants made optimum use of the various elements of the intervention. Nurses also said that the email contacts were more often used to express feelings about coping with behavioral changes. More research is needed to investigate the reasons why people accept, adopt, and adhere to online interventions to reduce cases where they are not used and to back them up appropriately with tailored (online) information and advice for their personal situations.

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Portrait of a Caregiver: Ethnodrama Development and Its Influence on Caregiver Well-Being

Background and Objectives: The majority of long-term care needs are placed upon family members who often receive minimal support. In this study, we collaborate with family caregivers to create an ethnodrama about their experience and assess outcomes of participation, including caregiver well-being.; Methods: Participants met over 4 months to discuss their roles as informal caregivers. Discussions were analyzed in a two-phase process and themes were developed into a script. Member checks included script review and revisions, culminating in viewing a professional performance of the play followed by a post-performance discussion and reflection. Data were gathered at six timepoints to assess caregiver well-being and longitudinal analysis was used to assess change during the course of the intervention.; Results: Twenty-two caregivers completed intervention activities. Participant reactions to the process evolved overtime, from an initial hesitance about what individuals had to offer leading to an acknowledgement of feeling heard and a desire to help others. Caregivers had high levels of burden and positive perceptions towards caregiving. Those with high levels of self-rated health had the lowest levels of burden and the most positive perceptions of caregiving.; Discussion and Implications: Developing an ethnodrama in partnership with caregivers is a unique and feasible method of caregiver support, mentoring, reflexivity, and meaning making. Promoting caregiver health early in the caregiving trajectory has the potential of reducing burden and elevating positivity towards caregiving.

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Outcomes of art therapy and coloring for professional and informal caregivers of patients in a radiation oncology unit: A mixed methods pilot study

Purpose: Caring for cancer patients can be highly stressful for both family caregivers and oncology professionals. These high levels of stress can lead to poorer patient outcomes and increased risk of health problems for the caregivers themselves. Art therapy may help these caregivers as art-making can be a relaxing and enjoyable form of self-expression and art therapists can support individuals in expressing and processing challenging emotions. Research on art-making or art therapy with caregivers of cancer patients has shown some positive results, but its interpretation is limited by the use of multifaceted interventions.; Method: In this mixed-methods study we compared two brief arts-based approaches for both professional and informal caregivers: single sessions of coloring or open-studio art therapy, with a 45-minute session each. Assessments included self-reports of affect, stress, self-efficacy, anxiety, burnout arnd creative agency alongside salivary biomarkers before and after the session. Open-ended questions, field notes and observations formed the qualitative part of the study.; Results: Thirty-four professional (n=25) and informal (n=9) caregivers participated. Participants in both conditions showed increases in positive affect, creative agency, and self-efficacy and decreases in negative affect, anxiety, perceived stress, and burnout. Participants in both conditions expressed enjoyment, relaxation, appreciation of time away from stressors, creative problem solving, a sense of flow, and personal and existential insight. The two approaches also elicited distinct experiences with participants reporting that they found improved focus in coloring and appreciated the support and freedom of expression in open studio art therapy.; Conclusions: These findings suggest that even brief art-making interventions can be beneficial for stressed caregivers of cancer patients. As experience with art-making increased the impact, repeated sessions may be even more useful. We recommend that oncology units have dedicated studio spaces with therapeutic support and different forms of art-making available to meet individual caregiver needs.

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An Online Minimally Guided Intervention to Support Family and Other Unpaid Carers of People With Dementia: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

Background: About three-quarters of people with dementia live in their own homes, with help from family members and/or other unpaid carers, such as friends or neighbors. Often, unpaid carers themselves experience negative consequences, such as stress, burden, and symptoms of depression or anxiety. Research has shown that these consequences can be alleviated by psychosocial and psychological interventions. Moreover, there are indications that those interventions can be effective when offered online.; Objective: This paper describes the protocol of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that will take place in the Netherlands to evaluate the effectiveness of iSupport, a minimally guided, internet-based intervention to improve carers' mental health and coping resources.; Methods: A superiority two-arm RCT comparing the effects of the online support program with a waiting list control condition will be carried out in the Netherlands. The iSupport intervention was developed by the World Health Organization and is based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles. It has five main themes divided into 23 lessons. Carers can pick and choose which lessons they want to complete. We aim to recruit 200 unpaid carers. The experimental group (n=100) will be provided with access to the intervention for 3 months following randomization; those in the waiting list control group (n=100) will be granted access to the intervention after 3 months. Assessments will be conducted at baseline (T0), 3 months after baseline (post intervention, T1), and 6 months after baseline (follow-up, T2). The primary outcome is perceived stress, measured by the Perceived Stress Scale. Secondary outcomes are symptoms of depression and anxiety, caregiver burden, sense of competence, self-efficacy, mastery, and carers' attitudes toward dementia and their person-centered approach (ie, to what extent carers tailor the provided care to the interest, needs, and history of the person with dementia).; Results: Recruitment for the trial started in January 2019. As of July 2019, we have enrolled 120 participants. Data collection is expected to be completed by March 2020. Once all the data have been collected, we will conduct the data analyses between April and May 2020. We aim to publish our results in a manuscript by June 2020.; Conclusions: Online interventions have shown promising results in improving the mental health of carers of people with dementia. Additionally, online interventions may overcome accessibility barriers. If successful, this intervention will have important potential for implementation as a public health intervention, since costs and support by trained staff are minimal.; Trial Registration: Netherlands Trial Register (NTL) NL6417; https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/6417.; International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/14106.; ©Ángel C Pinto-Bruno, Anne Margriet Pot, Annet Kleiboer, Rose-Marie Droes, Annemieke van Straten. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 10.10.2019.

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Occupational therapy for people with dementia and their family carers provided at home: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Objective: To determine the effect of occupational therapy provided at home on activities of daily living, behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and quality of life (QOL) for people with dementia, and the effect on family carer burden, depression and QOL.; Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.; Methods: Eight databases were searched to February 2018. Randomised controlled trials of occupational therapy delivered at home for people with dementia and their family carers that measured ADL, and/or BPSD were included. Two independent reviewers determined eligibility, risk of bias and extracted data.; Results: Fifteen trials were included (n=2063). Occupational therapy comprised multiple components (median=8 sessions). Compared with usual care or attention control occupational therapy resulted in improvements in the following outcomes for people with dementia: overall ADL after intervention (standardised means difference (SMD) 0.61, 95% CI 0.16 to 1.05); instrumental ADL alone (SMD 0.22, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.37; moderate quality); number of behavioural and psychological symptoms (SMD -0.32, 95% CI -0.57 to -0.08; moderate quality); and QOL (SMD 0.76, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.24) after the intervention and at follow-up (SMD 1.07, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.55). Carers reported less hours assisting the person with dementia (SMD -0.33, 95% CI -0.58 to -0.07); had less distress with behaviours (SMD -0.23, 95% CI -0.42 to -0.05; moderate quality) and improved QOL (SMD 0.99, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.33; moderate quality). Two studies compared occupational therapy with a comparison intervention and found no statistically significant results. GRADE ratings indicated evidence was very low to moderate quality.; Conclusions: Findings suggest that occupational therapy provided at home may improve a range of important outcomes for people with dementia and their family carers. Health professionals could consider referring them for occupational therapy.; Prospero Registration Number: CRD42011001166.

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Meeting centres support programme highly appreciated by people with dementia and carers: a European cross-country evaluation

Background: The Meeting Centres Support Programme (MCSP) offers a combined approach to providing practical, emotional and social support to people living with mild to moderately severe dementia and their family carers in the community. Methods: A mixed methods explanatory design was used. The evaluation took place within the framework of the international Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) - MEETINGDEM study in nine Meeting Centres in Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom. Eighty-seven people with dementia and 81 family carers completed a user evaluation survey after three months and 83 people with dementia and 84 carers after 6 months of participation in MCSP. Thirty-two people with dementia and 30 carers took part in focus groups after nine months. Results: The percentage of people with dementia who were very satisfied with the programme increased significantly over time (p = 0.05). The majority of carers reported that they felt less burdened after three months of participation in MCSP (48.1% much less; 35.4% a little less). After six months, this percentage increased significantly to 91% (p = 0.04, 57.7% much less; 33.3% little less). Focus group analysis showed that people with dementia and carers in all countries/centres improved their ability to maintain emotional balance. Conclusions: The MCSP is highly appreciated by people with dementia and carers in all countries and it confirms the results of previous research into MCSP in the Netherlands. Our findings indicate that MCSP is a model that can help its users to increase their capacity to deal with the challenges caused by dementia and can promote emotional balance.

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Carers and Physical Activity Policy Briefing

This policy briefing is designed for professionals to share some initial insight from our work with Sport England. Further research on carers and inactivity including best practice examples and recommendations will be released in a report later in 2020.

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Implementing Caregiver Support Programs in a Regional Stroke System

Background and Purpose- Family caregivers play a central role in the recovery of people with stroke. They need support to optimize the care they provide and their own health and well-being. Despite support from the literature and best practice recommendations, healthcare systems are not formally adopting caregiver programs. This study aimed to describe system-level facilitators and barriers to caregiver support program implementation in a regional stroke system. Methods- Using a qualitative descriptive study design, focus groups were conducted with regional rehabilitation specialists, education coordinators, community and long-term care specialists, and regional/district program directors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with regional medical directors, health professionals providing stroke care in acute care, rehabilitation and community settings, regional health executives, and primary care leaders. Data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results- Four focus groups (n=43) and 29 interviews were conducted. We identified 4 themes related to caregiver program implementation: (1) establishing the need for caregiver education and support in an integrated healthcare system; (2) incorporating caregiver programs into the system of care across the care continuum; (3) uncertainty regarding ownership and responsibility for implementation; and (4) addressing regional variations related to access, availability, and culture. Conclusions- This study provides a comprehensive understanding of organization and system-level considerations for implementing caregiver programs in a regional stroke system. Program implementation requires evidence to establish the need for caregiver programs, practical strategies, and establishing ownership to incorporate programs into existing healthcare systems, and consideration of regional variations across healthcare systems. Ultimately, adopting programs to support caregivers will improve recovery in people with stroke and caregiver well-being.

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Helping Hispanic Family Caregivers of Persons With Dementia "Get the Picture" About Health Status Through Tailored Infographics

Background and Objectives Caregivers need to understand their health status and the disabilities of the care recipient to engage in effective health management. Infographics tailored with personal health data are a promising approach to facilitating comprehension, particularly for individuals with low health literacy/limited English proficiency. Such approaches may be especially important for dementia caregivers given the high care burden. Research Design and Methods Guided by the Health Belief Model and the Data-Frame Theory of Sensemaking, we conducted iterative participatory design sessions with Hispanic family caregivers (N = 16) of persons with dementia. We created multiple prototype infographic designs to display scores on validated instruments of topics such as caregiving burden, overall health, and psychological distress. We retained and refined designs participants judged to be easily comprehensible. Analysis focused on identifying the graphical elements that contributed to the comprehensibility of designs and on evaluating participants' reactions to the designs. Results Successful infographics used intuitive scaling consistent with caregivers' perspective of dementia as inevitable decline. Participants reacted to infographics by describing the self-management actions they would take to address the health issue at hand. Discussion and Implications Tailored infographics supported caregivers' comprehension of their health status and served as cues to engaging in self-management. As such, they should be presented in the context of informational support that can facilitate selection of appropriate next steps. This can mitigate the potential mental and physical health consequences of caregiving and enable caregivers to continue to care for their relatives with dementia with less damage to their own well-being. 

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Findings From a Real-World Translation Study of the Evidence-Based "Partners in Dementia Care"

Background and Objectives: Numerous non-pharmacological programs for family caregivers and persons with dementia (PWDs) have been found efficacious in randomized controlled trials. Few programs have been tested in translation studies that assess feasibility and outcomes in less-controlled, real-world implementations. This translation study tested the impact of the partnership version of BRI Care Consultation, "Partners in Dementia Care (PDC)," on outcomes for PWDs and their family/friend caregivers. PDC was delivered via partnerships between the Louis Stokes Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Greater East Ohio Alzheimer's Association Chapter and the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging. PDC is a personalized coaching program done by telephone, e-mail, and regular mail.; Research Design and Methods: For this translation study, the program was implemented in a manner that mirrored a non-research implementation. The study sample included 148 caregivers and 84 PWDs who used PDC for 12 months. Research data came from 2 structured telephone interviews, one before program implementation and a follow-up after program completion. PWDs and caregivers averaged 14 telephone contacts with Care Consultants over the 12-month study period, and 12 behavioral action steps to address problems or concerns.; Results: Repeated measures ANOVAs showed the use of PDC was related to significant improvements across several outcomes for PWDs and caregivers, with greater benefits in more difficult caregiving situations. Caregivers had decreased levels of isolation, physical health strain, unmet needs; and increased confidence in caregiving capacity, informal helpers, and support service use. PWDs had decreased embarrassment about memory problems and unmet needs; and increased informal support and community service use.; Discussion and Implications: Overall, improved outcomes for PWDs and caregivers in this translation study were similar to findings from previous randomized trials, and affirmed the value of the program when delivered as a regular service offering by health care and community service organizations.

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E-learning as valuable caregivers' support for people with dementia - A systematic review

Background: Present demographic trends show a considerable rise in elderly populations with aging disorders, such as dementia. The current article focused on the exploitation of e-learning as an informal support for caregivers of people with dementia and considered its benefits and limitations to provide proper and relevant care for this target group of people as well as maintain the quality of life of their caregivers.; Methods: The methodology of this study is based on a literature review of accessible peer-review articles from three recognized databases: Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed. The findings of the selected studies were compared and evaluated.; Results: The findings showed that e-learning educational programs/courses helped caregivers feel more confident about dementia care, reduced their perceived stress and enhanced their feelings of empathy, understanding and concern.; Conclusions: The findings of this study reveal that the exploitation of e-learning as a support tool, especially for informal caregivers, in the management of dementia may be a promising method, but its implementation requires professional training of informal caregivers in the use of this technology. More evidence-based studies are needed on this topic.

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Effect of the Integrated Prospective Payment Program on Family Members' Knowledge and Acceptance of Hospice Care of Patients on Prolonged Mechanical Ventilation

Background: We sought to evaluate the effect of an integrated prospective payment program (IPP) on knowledge of hospice care and willingness to participate in hospice care among family members of patients on prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV).; Methods: Between November 2013 and April 2014, we used paper-based survey questionnaires from 64 institutions to evaluate knowledge, willingness, and related factors among the main caregivers of patients on PMV regarding hospice care and to determine whether their decisions for the patients were affected by the IPP.; Results: The average ages of the respondents and patients on PMV were 51.9 y and 70.8 y respectively; 70.6% of the respondents knew about the Hospice Palliative Care Act (HPCA), and 42.3% of the medical staff had introduced hospice care-related information to patients and caregivers in Taiwan. Among the caregiver respondents, 67.6% agreed to write a letter of intent regarding the choice of hospice care or limited life-sustaining treatment. In total, 66.2% (16.1 + 50.1%) of the respondents agreed to hospice care for their family members (ie, the patients on PMV) when the condition was terminal. The factors of greater HPCA knowledge among the patients on PMV were IPP participation, female sex, and coma status. Factors leading to higher levels of HPCA knowledge included age ≥ 65 y being married, higher income, awareness of the law, and being introduced to hospice care by medical staff.; Conclusions: High levels of hospice care knowledge were unrelated to willingness to participate. HPCA knowledge was greater in the IPP group than in the non-IPP group; however, there was no significant difference in the willingness to agree to hospice care. It is recommended that individuals be encouraged to express their medical decisions.

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The effect of psychosocial support on caregivers' perceived criticism and emotional over-involvement of persons with dementia: an assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial

Background: Many relatives of close family members suffering from dementia have taken on the caregiver role. While intervention studies have revealed promising results on caregiver burden, distress, and depression, there is a lack of knowledge about how caregivers' perceived relationship with their ill family member influences the burden of care. This study examined whether a psychosocial intervention influenced this perceived relationship from the caregivers' perspective. We also explored whether the caregivers' perception of the care receiver's attitude and behavior changed over time, and whether caregiver stress and mood differed following the intervention.; Methods: The participating caregivers and care receivers were randomly assigned to a psychosocial intervention comprising education about dementia, counselling and group sessions, or to treatment as usual. The study investigated caregivers' experience of expressed emotion using the Felt Expressed Emotion Rating Scale (FEERS), a self-report questionnaire that captures caregivers' perception of criticism (CC) and emotional over-involvement (EOI) exhibited by the family members with dementia.; Results: A total of 208 dyads were enrolled in the study. There were no significant differences between the intervention and control groups in the studied variables. Caregivers' perception of CC and EOI was low but fluctuated somewhat, whereas their mood and stress level were stable during the follow-up period.; Conclusions: According to the FEERS, the intervention did not influence caregivers' perception of CC and EOI, and there was no difference between the intervention and control groups regarding caregivers' perceived relationship. Despite the increased symptoms of dementia, caregivers' level of distress and mood remained stable, and they seemed to maintain a positive perception of the quality of their relationship with the care receiver.; Trial Registration: Clinical.Trials.gov Sept. 2009, NCT01287767.

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The Effect of a Nurse-Led Cognitive Behavioral Protocol on Depressive Symptoms and Coping Strategies of Dementia Caregivers

Background: Family caregivers of patients with dementia (PWD) often experience depressive symptoms and use poor coping strategies. Cognitive behavioral interventions may enhance positive appraisals of caregiving-related issues and the utilization of active coping strategies among caregivers, which may help prevent caregiver depression. However, there is a shortage of primary, community-based mental health services in China, and little research has been conducted on the effect of nurse-led mental health programs in this population.; Purpose: This study explored the effect of a nurse-led cognitive behavioral intervention on depressive symptoms and coping strategies among family caregivers of PWD in China.; Methods: This randomized controlled trial used data from a sample of 112 caregivers screened from 276 potential participants in a city in southeastern China. The sample was randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 56) and a control group (n = 56). The intervention group received five monthly in-home, nurse-led cognitive behavioral sessions and telephone consultations after each session. The control group received five monthly, short, general conversations with nurse interventionists at the participants' homes, in the hospital, or via telephone. Depressive symptoms, coping strategies, and the demographics of caregiving dyads were collected at Time 1 (baseline), Time 2 (the end of the 5-month intervention), and Time 3 (2-month follow-up). IBM SPSS Statistics Version 19.0 was used for data analysis.; Results: Eighty-two participants (intervention group: n = 47, control group: n = 35) completed the three evaluations. No significant group differences were found in baseline characteristics between the two groups. The general linear model repeated-measures analysis of variance indicated a significant difference in depressive symptoms and active coping between groups over time, with p < .001 for the interaction between depressive symptoms and groups and p < .01 for the interaction between active coping and groups. A similar result did not occur for passive coping. The t tests further supported a significant interventional effect on participants' depressive symptoms and active coping.; Conclusions/implications For Practice: This nurse-led cognitive behavioral intervention was effective in decreasing depressive symptoms and improving active coping among study participants. The findings suggest the improvement of mental health services and social policies in China to support family caregivers of PWD.

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Evaluation of the Carers in Employment (CiE) Project

This government-funded and independently evaluated project, which ran from 2015-2017, looks at what works to support carers to remain or return to the workplace. The Carers in Employment (CiE) project took place in nine local authorities, who were encouraged to develop local solutions to support carers to remain in or return to work; work involving employers was found to be a central to the project’s success.

This is the evaluation report for the project. It finds that, out of the nearly three thousand carers who took part, CiE sites said that they had supported nearly 60% to stay in work. It is hoped that the findings of the independent evaluation will make an important contribution to ensuring that carers’ needs are reflected in future employment-related carer policy and practice. It is also hoped that the project will encourage the country’s carers to be part of the world of work and also to encourage more employers to be carer-friendly.

The work was commissioned by the Department of Health (now the Department of Health and Social Care), the Department for Work and Pensions and the Government Equalities Office. The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) co-ordinated and supported the delivery of the project. The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) was commissioned to undertake an independent evaluation.

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Development of a dyadic sleep intervention for Alzheimer's disease patients and their caregivers

Purpose: This study aimed to refine a behavioral sleep intervention program targeting patients with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers. Methods: In this case series, key components of the sleep program were built upon previous intervention studies of patients with cognitive impairment/dementia. The intervention consisted of five weekly sessions covering sleep hygiene, sleep compression, stimulus control, daily walking/light exposure, relaxation/mindfulness, and caregiver training to manage patients' behavioral problems. The materials and structure were iteratively refined based on feedback from caregivers and sleep educators. Sleep diaries were used to evaluate sleep outcomes. Results: Five out of six enrolled dyads completed the sessions. Several revisions were made during testing: the last session was changed from telephone to in-person; some components (e.g., sleep scheduling, mindfulness) were rearranged within or across sessions; sleep educator guidelines for sleep scheduling, light exposure, and walking were revised. After the fifth dyad, no additional issues were identified by the caregiver or the sleep educator. Four patients and three caregivers had improved sleep at the last session. Conclusions: The iterative refinement process was successful in finalizing the intervention program, with evidence of sleep improvements. Formal pilot testing of the program will provide further information on feasibility and effectiveness. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Our dyadic behavioral sleep program can be tailored to various types of sleep problems among patients with Alzheimer's disease and their family caregivers, with the goal of improving daytime function by reducing sleep disturbances at night. Caregiver training and participation of both members of the dyad in sleep management may benefit the patients' sleep and other health outcomes, reduce caregiver stress and burden, and ultimately delay or prevent institutionalization of Alzheimer's disease patients.

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Development and Implementation of the Family Caregiver Decision Guide

Care provided by family is the backbone of palliative care in Canada. The critical roles performed by caregivers can at the same time be intensely meaningful and intensely stressful. However, experiences of caregiving can be enhanced when caregivers feel they are making informed and reflective decisions about the options available to them. With this in mind, the purpose of this five-phase research project was to create a Family Caregiver Decision Guide (FCDG). The Guide entails four steps: thinking about the current caregiving situation, imagining how the caregiving situation may change, exploring available options, and considering best options if caregiving needs change. The FCDG was based on available evidence and was developed and refined using focus groups, cognitive interviewing, and a feasibility and acceptability study. Finally, an interactive version of the Guide was created for online use ( https://www.caregiverdecisionguide.ca ). In this article, we describe the development, evaluation, and utility of the FCDG.

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A Conceptual-Theoretical-Empirical Structure for the Study of Alzheimer Informal Caregivers and Home Health Care Nursing Services

The purpose of this article is to describe the process used to create a conceptual-theoretical-empirical structure for a proposed study of policies for home health care nursing services for informal caregivers of persons with Alzheimer disease. The process consisted of linkage of the Conceptual Model of Nursing and Health Policy with Roy's Adaptation Model to guide derivation of a middle-range theory of home health care nursing services for Alzheimer disease informal caregiving, and selection of appropriate empirical research methods.

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Comparison of financial support for family caregivers of people at the end of life across six countries: A descriptive study

Background: Family caregivers of people at the end of life can face significant financial burden. While appropriate financial support can reduce the burden for family caregivers, little is known about the range and adequacy of financial support, welfare and benefits for family caregivers across countries with similarly developed health care systems. Aim: The aim is to identify and compare sources of financial support for family caregivers of people approaching the end of life, across six countries with similarly performing health care systems (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States). Design: A survey of financial support, welfare and benefits for end of life family caregivers was completed by 99 palliative care experts from the six countries. Grey literature searches and academic database searches were also conducted. Comparative analyses of all data sources documented financial support within and between each country. Results: Some form of financial support for family caregivers is available in all six countries; however the type, extent and reach of support vary. Financial support is administered by multiple agencies, eligibility criteria for receiving support are numerous and complex, and there is considerable inequity in the provision of support. Conclusion: Numerous barriers exist to the receipt of financial support, welfare and benefits. We identified several areas of concern, including a lack of clarity around eligibility, inconsistent implementation, complexity in process and limited support for working carers. Nonetheless, there is significant potential for policymakers to learn from other countries' experiences, particularly with regard to the scope and operationalisation of financial support. 

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Caregivers Benefit from Massage: More Isn't Necessarily Better--Some Is Enough!

The article offers information related to informal caregivers who provide unpaid, informal care for family members or friends with temporary or permanent conditions. It mentions increasingly, massage-related research examining massage benefits for admitted patients or patient populations and also mentions the results of standardized assessment scales that used to collect data for analysis research.

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The care crisis in Spain: an analysis of the family care situation in mental health from a professional psychosocial perspective

The aim of this article is to investigate the importance of family care in mental health and identify the shortcomings of the Spanish model of health care for the mentally ill. The empirical process comprised three qualitative procedures involving 37 experts from different regions of Spain. In order to guarantee the rigor of the data, a social worker discussion group was set up to create an interview script. Interviews were then carried out with 22 professionals who take care of people with mental illness in various public facilities throughout the country. A second focal group met three times to validate the categorizations analyzed in the interviews. The results of the empirical process indicate a need to remodel the mental health care system, which can be described with reference to five critical characteristics: 1) a lack of financial and human resources for mental health, 2) a lack of effective coordination among all the institutions and authorities involved, 3) a lack of quality resources aimed at rehabilitation and social reintegration as alternatives to institutionalization, 4) a lack of integrated care, and 5) a lack of a common healthcare framework for all professional workers in all the regions. A remodeling of the system is necessary to enable the rehabilitation, recovery, empowerment and development of people with SMD and thus ease the burden and improve the quality of life of family caregivers.

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Cancer as Communal: Understanding Communication and Relationships from the Perspectives of Survivors, Family Caregivers, and Health Care Providers

With cancer increasing in prevalence and high priorities placed on concurrent oncological and palliative care to help meet the familial, spiritual, and individual needs of stakeholders in cancer, research is needed that assesses the factors that facilitate coping across stakeholders in cancer care. We were interested in synthesizing our understanding of communication and relationships among patients, caregivers, and providers based on the reasoning that illness is relational, but often conceptualized and researched from the individual perspectives of various stakeholders. The current study examined the experiences of relational and communication opportunities and challenges during cancer for current and former family caregivers, cancer survivors, and palliative and oncology health care practitioners. The thematic analysis of 30 semi-structured interviews revealed an overarching theme on the benefits of orienting toward cancer as communal, which was, in turn, facilitated or impeded by four additional themes/sets of behaviors: support, presence, perspective-taking, and reframing hope. Results of a cross-case data matrix analysis reveal that stakeholders in different roles experience qualitative differences in their experience of cancer as communal, isolated, or ambivalent. Implications for education, palliative care, and interventions are discussed.

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Balancing personal wishes and caring capacity in future planning for adults with an intellectual disability living with family carers

Most people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) live at home with family, and most carers and care recipients wish to continue this arrangement. However, despite worry about what will happen when carers are unable to continue caring, most families do not plan for the future. The Future Care Road Map (FCRM) pilot study sought to enhance future care planning for families of adults with ID. Twelve families were facilitated through the FCRM process to establish future care plans, including future living and care arrangements. The pilot successfully improved future planning, but readiness of families and facilitation were important to outcomes. Continued care within the family was the most common future wish of care recipients. However, caring capacity emerged as a pervasive theme. Ultimately, it may be the capacity of the family, services or individual with ID themselves to provide future care which determines how feasibly future wishes translate into future plans. 

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330 Insights into Dementia- An Integrated Care Approach to Family Support

Background The increase in the number of people with dementia in the coming years will be significant and could be as high as 132,000 people by 2041. There is a growing need for enhanced post diagnostic supports for patients living with dementia and their families. We identified the need for a localised educational resource for families and supportive others attending our specialist memory service Methods Staff from the Integrated Care Team, Specialist Memory Service and Primary Care were trained by the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland to deliver a 6 week 'Insights Into Dementia' carers course. Tutors and dementia advisors from the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland provided in-depth training prior to course delivery and feedback to the facilitators on a weekly basis. The course included advice and education on Dementia; Changing Relationships, Communication; Responding to changes in behaviour; Nutrition; Engaging in activities; Assisting with personal care and Safety in the home. Families gained advice regarding their self-care needs and learned how to access information and support.  All services involved worked together to identify, refer and support families with dementia in the local area. The group took place in an accessible location at a time which accommodated families to attend. Each course attendee completed a questionnaire prior to and after commencing the group. Results The group has delivered education and support to 48 families to date. Feedback from participants was very positive with self-reported increase in confidence, knowledge and awareness about dementia. Waiting time to access support has significantly decreased. Every course has led to a support group who meet up on a regular basis in their community. Conclusion This novel collaboration has become a key part of the integrated care pathway we have developed to support people living with dementia and their supportive others in our catchment area. The Integrated Care approach has served to enrich the programme and allow for timely signposting to localised supports. 

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333 A Transnational Effectiveness-Implementation Study of the Family Carer Decision Support Intervention to Improve End of Life Care in Long-Term Care

Background The Family Carer Decision Support (FCDS) intervention has been designed to inform family carers about end of life care options available to a person living with advanced dementia. The FCDS intervention demonstrated a statistically significant impact in reducing family carer decision uncertainty on establishing goals of care at the end of life and, improved family carer satisfaction on quality of care in a study conducted in the United Kingdom. Methods The aim of this research is to adapt the application of the FCDS for use in different countries. Funding supported through the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) project has supported the scaling up of the FCDS transnationally in the United Kingdom; Republic of Ireland; Netherlands; Canada; Czech Republic ; and, Italy. Launched in April 2019, this presentation will report on present activities including: a) description of the FCDS intervention; b) strategy for implementing the FCDS in care homes; c) study design employed for the evaluation of the FCDS; and d) work packages and that will be deployed to achieve intended outcomes Results Expected project outcomes of this work will include a) develop guidelines to facilitate transnational use of the FCDS within care homes; (b) staff education material including web learning resources; (c) family carer informational material including web learning resources; (d) measures and tools to evaluate the uptake and outcome of the FCDS intervention; (e) establish a transnational FCDS community of practice across study care homes; (f) estimated costs of providing the FCDS intervention; (g) evidence of enhancing decision making among family members regarding resident care and satisfaction with care. Conclusion Recent research revealed that care home structures and staff play an important role in the successful implementation and adoption of innovations such as the FCDS intervention, this is further examined in this transnational study. 

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An Evaluation of the Information Sources of Cancer Patients' Relatives. A Prospective Survey

Patients followed up with a cancer diagnosis must be well-informed about cancer to be able to cope with it. Besides, informing the relatives of the cancer patients who are also experiencing the same process about the diagnosis and follow-up period of cancer is highly important. In the current study, it was aimed to evaluate the information sources about cancer which are referred to by relatives of cancer patients. Three hundred ninety-one cancer patient relatives were included in medical oncology clinic between May 1 and June 30, 2015. A questionnaire was applied to the participants, comprising 12 questions to elicit demographic information and 11 questions about the information sources to which they referred. The study included 183 female and 208 male participants with amean age of 47.9 +/- 13.6 years. While the oncologists were the primary information sources referred to by 87%, the Internet was the second most preferred information source by 72%. The websites most frequently referred were the official websites (70%), the websites of oncology associations (53%), and social networks and forums (32%). The primary factors affecting the Internet preference were age, education level, income level, and place of residence. The Internet was the second most referred information source about cancer by family caregivers following oncologists. Therefore, it is of crucial importance that physicians inform patients and their relatives comprehensively as well as guiding them to correct and reliable information sources.

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Caregiver outcomes of the REACH-HF multicentre randomized controlled trial of home-based rehabilitation for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction

Background: Caregivers frequently provide support to people living with long-term conditions. However, there is paucity of evidence of interventions that support caregivers in their role. Rehabilitation EnAblement in Chronic Heart Failure (REACH-HF) is a novel home-based, health-professional-facilitated, self-management programme for patients with heart failure (HF) and their caregivers. Methods: Based on the random allocation of individual adult patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and left ventricular ejection fraction <45% within the past five years, the caregiver of patients was allocated to receive the REACH-HF intervention over 12 weeks (REACH-HF group) or not (control group). Caregiver outcomes were generic health-related quality of life (EQ-5D-5L), Family Caregiver Quality of Life Scale questionnaire (FamQol), Caregiver Burden Questionnaire HF (CBQ-HF), Caregiver Contribution to Self-care of HF Index questionnaire (CC-SCHFI) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Outcomes were compared between groups at 4, 6 and 12 months follow-up. Twenty caregivers receiving REACH-HF were purposively selected for qualitative interviews at 4 and 12 months. Results: Compared with controls (44 caregivers), the REACH-HF group (53 caregivers) had a higher mean CC-SCHFI confidence score at 12 months (57.5 vs 62.8, adjusted mean difference: 9.3, 95% confidence interval: 1.8–16.8, p = 0.016). No significant between group differences were seen in other caregiver outcomes. Qualitative interviews showed that most caregivers who received the REACH-HF intervention made positive changes to how they supported the HF patient they were caring for, and perceived that they had increased their confidence in the caregiver role over time. Conclusion: Provision of the REACH-HF intervention for caregivers of HF patients improved their confidence of self-management and was perceived for some to be helpful in supporting their caregiver role.

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Family Caregivers' Experiences with Dying and Bereavement of Individuals with Motor Neuron Disease in India

Motor neuron disease (MND) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Ideal management plan in MND includes palliative care initiated from the time of diagnosis. At present, most of the neurodegenerative conditions are cared for at home. Neuropalliative care is an emerging concept in India and social workers are integral team members in this process. The primary aims of the study were to explore (a) the caregivers' experiences of the end-of-life stage, and (b) the sources of support for individuals and their caregivers with MND at the end-of-life stage. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven bereaved caregivers of individuals with MND from a national tertiary referral care center for neuropsychiatry in South India. Interviews were conducted either in person or by telephone. Thematic analysis was done using the constant comparative method. Major themes derived from the interviews were: (1) Transition from person to patient, (2) support, (3) death, and (4) impact on the caregivers. Mapping of themes identified Support received during advanced stages as the central theme influencing all other themes. The need for a care manager seems evident and is a role that can be effectively fulfilled by the care teams' social workers.

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Family carer and professional perceptions of the use of telehealth methodology for behavioural support for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the uk

Introduction: The use of telehealth to provide behavioural services for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) is increasing. However, there are no prospective evaluations of stakeholder perspectives relating to this, which may have implications for uptake of such services. This study aimed to identify factors influencing family carer and professional willingness to use telehealth for behavioural support in the UK. Methods: A Delphi consultation was conducted in four rounds with two panels (professionals and family carers), aiming to reach consensus on the most influential advantages and disadvantages/barriers to participant's willingness to use telehealth. Results: Thirty‐six and 22 items reached consensus as being influential for professionals and family carers respectively. Factors identified by each panel differed, with professionals focusing on the logistics of support whilst family carers highlighted factors relating to the quality of support. A common solution to the barriers identified related to combining in‐person and telehealth methodology. Implications: A range of factors were identified that are influential to professional and family carer willingness to use telehealth for behavioural support. These factors suggest advantages to maximise and barriers to overcome in order to increase uptake of telehealth services in this field.

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Nurses striving to provide caregiver with excellent support and care at a distance: a qualitative study

BACKGROUND: In Norway, changes in life expectancy have led to increased attention to older people who are ageing at home, by means of home care services, adapted technology and informal caregivers. The caring situation has become difficult for many caregivers. The use of telecare has now offered them the possibility to receive support at home. The purpose of this study was to explore how nurses provide support and care at a distance, using a web camera and a web forum in a closed telecare network for caregivers to persons suffering from stroke and dementia. METHODS: The study had an explorative design with a qualitative approach. The data sources consisted of interviews with nurses and excerpts from posts in a closed telecare network. Content analysis was used to analyse the text from the interviews and the text from the web forum. RESULTS: The main theme, "Balancing asymmetric and symmetric relationships" described nurses' relationship with caregiver. Two categories, "Balancing personal and professional qualities" and "Balancing caregivers' dependence versus independence" were identified. The first describing the tension in their dialogue, the second describing how nurses provided the caregivers with a sense of security as well as strengthening them to master their daily lives. CONCLUSIONS: The nurses provided long distance support and care for the caregivers, by using computer-meditated communication. This communication was characterized by closeness as well as empathy. To strengthen the caregivers' competence and independence, the nurses were easy accessible and provided virtual supervision and support. This study increases the knowledge about online dialogues and relationship between nurses and caregivers. It contributes to knowledge about balancing in the relationship, as well as knowledge about bridging the gap between technologies and nursing care as potential conflicting dimensions. Maintenance of ethical principles are therefore critical to be aware of.

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Exploring the experience of the disclosure of a dementia diagnosis from a clinician, patient and carer perspective: a systematic review and Meta-ethnographic synthesis

Objectives: The objective of this review was to identify, appraise and synthesise qualitative research that explores the experience of the disclosure of a dementia diagnosis from the perspectives of clinicians, patients and carers. Method: A systematic search of four databases, grey literature and reference lists identified 13 studies, which met the required criteria to be included in the review. All were appraised using a quality appraisal tool. Data were extracted and synthesised using a meta-ethnographic approach. Results: Five key themes were developed from an interpretation of the results: the clinician's approach; how to tell people the diagnosis is dementia; the importance of the clinician offering hope; level of understanding; and who should attend the disclosure meeting. The process can be improved through a compassionate clinician offering hope, answers to patient and carer questions, and written and/or visual information to support understanding of the diagnosis. These features could be included in guidance to clinicians. There was a large amount of variance in the quality of the studies. Future qualitative research could focus on clinician compassion, giving hope, the management of dynamics within sessions, supporting information and follow-up sessions. Conclusion: Clinical practice can be informed by a body of literature but there is much work to be done to develop evidence-based detailed guidance for improving the dementia diagnosis experience for all parties, and supporting clinicians to manage inherent tensions in this process. Further research is required on this topic to addresses the shortcomings highlighted in this review.

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Evaluation of the quality of the communication and emotional support during the donation procedure: The use of the donor family questionnaire (DFQ)

Purpose A multi-centric study in Intensive Care units (ICU) and Emergency departments (ED) was designed to evaluate whether the provided communication and emotional support to the family in the context of organ donation met the international recommendations of the European Donor Hospital Education Program (EDHEP). Materials and methods Using a participatory approach and focus groups, a questionnaire was constructed: Donor Family questionnaire (DFQ). The questionnaire was distributed to 203 families. The data were analysed on item level. Results Sixty-four families participated, and 89% considered the communication as tactful. Only 24.1% had a separate conversation about passing and donation, which is the recommendation. 88.5% reported they could count on emotional support in the first phase on the ICU/ED. This dropped during the parting phase and the aftercare. The physician is perceived as the most active caregiver in the emotional support during the entire procedure. Conclusions The DFQ is a useful instrument to evaluate the donor procedure. The physician is important in the first phases of the donor procedure for the medical explanation. Other disciplines could be more involved in the following phases to assure enough emotional support, but this issue requires further exploration.

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A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Dyadic Psychological Interventions for BPSD, Quality of Life and/or Caregiver Burden in Dementia or MCI

Objectives: This systematic review and meta-analysis assesses the effectiveness of psychological interventions that involve people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and their informal caregivers, and target improvements in the management of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD); quality of life; and/or burden reduction for people with either dementia or MCI and their informal caregivers. Methods: Studies were identified through database searches (Cochrane Library, CENTRAL, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsychINFO) and clinical trials registers (ClinicalTrials.gov and ). Data were pooled for meta-analysis. Results: Database and reference list searches identified 1,878 references, of which fourteen studies were included. Positive effects were found on the anxiety symptoms of people with dementia on the RAID scale; on the quality of life of people with dementia on the self-rated QoL-AD scale; and on informal caregiver burden on the Zarit Burden Interview. Conclusions: Psychological interventions involving whole dyads have some promise for both people with dementia and informal caregivers, but are still far from uniformly effective across BPSD, quality of life, and caregiver burden. Further research directions are discussed.

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It is something special: How children and their parents experience a camp for young people who care for a parent with a severe physical illness

Recreational camps for children play an important role in coping with the illness of a family member. This paper aims to describe the experience of a young-carer summer camp in Austria from the perspective of the attending children who care for a parent with severe physical illness as well as their diagnosed and non-diagnosed parents who remained at home. Nineteen qualitative interviews with children and their parents were conducted and analyzed according to qualitative summarizing content analysis procedure. The findings show a familial decision-making process and the ambivalent expectations and feelings of the children prior to the camp. The camp itself is a place where children feel looked after and where they can enjoy adventure activities. It is also a place where they are among themselves and can make friends and talk about their feelings in a secure and private environment. During the camp, the remaining parents try to spend most of their time focusing on themselves and their partnership. The camp also gives the children a glimpse of another way of living with new freedoms that cannot be maintained when they come home. These findings indicate that camps can make an important contribution to addressing young carers’ needs but should also initiate a debate on more sustainable relief measures for children with care responsibilities. 

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Development and validation of a quality of relationship intervention for stroke survivor-family caregiver dyads

Background: The relationship between stroke survivors and family caregivers is critical for the well-being of both dyad members. Currently, there are few interventions targeted at dyads and focused on strengthening the relationship between survivors and family caregivers. Objectives: This study reports on the development of a customizable, strengths-based, relationship-focused intervention driven by the real-world experience and advice of stroke dyads. It also describes the "tips" that survivors and family caregivers offered for dealing with relationship challenges after stroke. Methods: Content of the intervention, including relationship tips, was derived from semi-structured interviews with N= 19 stroke dyads. A modified Delphi process with a national panel of 10 subject matter experts was used to evaluate and refine the content of the intervention and the associated screening tool. Results: Seventeen domains of relationship challenges and tips were identified. Consensus was reached among experts that the intervention content was relevant to the goal of helping survivors and family caregivers maintain a strong relationship after stroke; (2) clear from the perspective of stroke survivors and family caregivers who would be using it; (3) accurate with respect to the advice being offered, and; (4) useful for helping stroke survivors and family caregivers improve the quality of their relationship. Conclusions: This study extends the limited body of research about dyadic interventions after stroke. The next steps in this line of research include feasibility testing the intervention and evaluating its efficacy in a larger trial.

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Psychological interventions targeting partners of cancer patients: A systematic review

Purpose: Cancer patients' intimate partners often experience levels of psychological burden that are comparable to or even exceed that of the patients, making it imperative that they too be provided with appropriate psychological support. This review aimed to present the content and the effects of interventions delivered to caregiving partners of cancer patients on both partners and patients. Furthermore, we provide information about the acceptability of the interventions and study quality. Methods: An initial search in Web of Science, PsycINFO, and PubMed databases was conducted. We included RCTs as well as pre-post studies that focused on enhancing partners' wellbeing or diminishing partners' distress. To be included, interventions had to have been offered to partners either only or predominantly. We included studies published until December 2017. The methodological quality of the trials was assessed with the EPHPP assessment tool. Results: Nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Intervention topics included social support, short-term problem solving, the marital relationship quality, role expectations, emotional resilience, and coping strategies. Positive intervention effects were found with regard to social support, emotional distress, improved communication, posttraumatic growth, self-efficacy, and coping. Despite considerably low response rates, the interventions were generally well accepted. Most of the studies suffer limitations because of methodological flaws, the lack of randomization, and small sample sizes. Conclusion: Interventions delivered to partners of cancer patients may have positive effects on both partners and patients. We derive several implications for future research: Intervention programs should be tailored to the specific needs of caregiving partners with regard to the cancer trajectory and gender. Effort has to be made to increase sample sizes as well as to include particularly burdened individuals. Selected measurement instruments should be sensitive to specific intervention effects. Finally, information on both statistical as well as clinical relevance of research findings should be provided.

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Incorporating Community Partners, Family Caregiver Participants, an Interprofessional Researcher Team, and a Technology Company to Build and Evaluate an App

Family caregivers are the backbone of most health-care systems; intensively relied upon, yet their needs go mainly ignored. Technology has the potential to reach family caregivers and create accessible solutions to meet their complex needs. Creating a feasible, acceptable, and effective “app” requires the application of innovative qualitative methods. We combined methodologies including “agile methodology” that requires the continuous integration and involvement of the research team, caregiver participants, community partners, and a technology company, in our effort to develop the app. A “design thinking model” identified the first step to understand and empathize with caregivers while learning about the problem. We completed four focus groups with older adults to explore their needs and experiences. We discovered that caregivers have many roles and vary in their use of smartphone technology. They wanted reputable information, opportunities to stay close to their care receiver, and information on how to improve their abilities. We discovered unexpected themes and ideas to guide development of the app. Engaging the app developer and the community partner maintained the integrity of the agile methodology. We incorporated quantitative measures of depression and social support to provide evidence for the effectiveness of the app. The app has the potential to support family caregivers in real time and meet their needs in ways not yet readily available. Qualitative research can change the world. The need to listen, empathize, and understand the experience of the users of our research has never been greater.

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Interventions to support family caregivers of people living with dementia in high, middle and low-income countries in Asia: A scoping review

Introduction Despite increasing numbers of persons living with Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's-related dementias (AD/ADRD) in Asia, particularly in low-income countries (LIC) and middle-income countries (MIC), surprisingly little is known about the current state of the evidence for family caregiver interventions. The objectives of this scoping review were to: (1) describe the evidence for efficacy of family dementia-caregiver psychosocial interventions in Asian countries, (2) compare evidence across LIC, MIC, and high-income countries (HIC), and (3) characterise cultural adaptions to interventions developed outside Asia. Methods The inclusion criteria included: (1) conducted in Asia (2) included an intervention delivered to a family caregiver of a person living with AD/ADRD, (3) reported quantitative outcomes for the family caregiver and (4) published in a peer-reviewed journal with full text available in English. Results Thirty intervention trials were identified meeting inclusion criteria and all reported statistically significant (p<0.05) improvement in one or more caregiver outcomes. Interventions usually included multiple components. The most frequently reported outcomes (ie, by ≥20% of studies) were caregiver depression, burden, quality of life and self-efficacy. Overall, 26 (87%) of the studies were conducted in HIC in Asia, primarily in Hong Kong SAR-China and Taiwan, and only 4 (13%) in LIC and MIC in Asia. Seven studies (23%) used interventions developed in USA and several described cultural adaptations. Conclusion This scoping review found substantial evidence, particularly from high-income Asian countries, that a wide range of interventions improve AD/ADRD family caregiver outcomes. However, critical knowledge gaps exist, particularly for LIC and MIC in Asia, where the number of persons with dementia is numerically largest and projected to increase dramatically in coming decades. The field could also benefit from more detailed descriptions of the process and types of cultural adaptations to interventions. 

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The project ENABLE Cornerstone randomized pilot trial: Protocol for lay navigator-led early palliative care for African-American and rural advanced cancer family caregivers

Background: Patients newly-diagnosed with advanced cancer often rely on family caregivers to provide daily support to manage healthcare needs and maintain quality of life. Early telehealth palliative care has been shown to effectively provide an extra layer of support to family caregivers, however there has been little work with underserved populations, especially African-Americans and rural-dwellers. This is concerning given the lack of palliative care access for these underserved groups. Study design: Single-site, small-scale pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Project ENABLE (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends) Cornerstone, a lay navigator-led, early palliative care coaching intervention for family caregivers of African-American and rural-dwelling patients with newly-diagnosed advanced cancer. Family caregivers are paired with a trained lay navigator overseen by specialist palliative care clinicians and receive a series of brief in-person and telehealth sessions focusing on stress management and coping, caregiving skills and organization, getting help, self-care, and preparing for the future/advance care planning. This pilot trial is assessing acceptability of the intervention, feasibility of recruitment and data collection procedures, and preliminary efficacy compared to usual care on caregiver and patient quality of life and mood over 24 weeks. Conclusion: Once acceptability and feasibility are determined and issues addressed, the ENABLE Cornerstone intervention for underserved family caregivers of persons with advanced cancer will be primed for a fully powered efficacy RCT. Given its use of lay navigators and telehealth delivery, the intervention is potentially highly scalable and capable of overcoming many of the geographic, human resource, and cultural obstacles to accessing early palliative care support.

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Development of a Caregivers' Support Platform (Connected Health Sustaining Home Stay in Dementia): Protocol for a Longitudinal Observational Mixed Methods Study

Background: Dementia disease is a chronic condition that leads a person with dementia (PwD) into a state of progressive deterioration and a greater dependence in performing their activities of daily living (ADL). It is believed nowadays that PwDs and their informal caregivers can have a better life when provided with the appropriate services and support. Connected Health (CH) is a new technology-enabled model of chronic care delivery where the stakeholders are connected through a health portal, ensuring continuity and efficient flow of information. CH has demonstrated promising results regarding supporting informal home care and Aging in Place, and it has been increasingly considered by researchers and health care providers as a method for dementia home care management. Objective: This study aims to describe the development and implementation protocol of a CH platform system to support informal caregivers of PwDs at home. Methods: This is a longitudinal observational mixed methods study where quantitative and qualitative data will be combined for determining the utility of the CH platform for dementia home care. Dyads, consisting of a PwD and their informal caregiver living in the community, will be divided into 2 groups: the intervention group, which will receive the CH technology package at home, and the usual care group, which will not have any CH technology at all. Dyads will be followed up for 12 months during which they will continue with their traditional care plan, but in addition, the intervention group will receive the CH package for their use at home during 6 months (months 3 to 9 of the yearly follow-up). Further comprehensive assessments related to the caregiver's and PwD's emotional and physical well-being will be performed at the initial assessment and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months using international and standardized validated questionnaires and semistructured individual interviews. Results: This 3-year funded study (2016-2019) is currently in its implementation phase and is expected to finish by December 2019. We believe that CH can potentially change the PwD current care model, facilitating a proactive and preventive model, utilizing self-management-based strategies, and enhancing caregivers' involvement in the management of health care at home for PwDs. Conclusions: We foresee that our CH platform will provide knowledge and promote autonomy for the caregivers, which may empower them into greater control of the care for PwDs, and with it, improve the quality of life and well-being for the person they are caring for and for themselves through a physical and cognitive decline predictive model. We also believe that facilitating information sharing between all the PwDs' care stakeholders may enable a stronger relationship between them, facilitate a more coordinated care plan, and increase the feelings of empowerment in the informal caregivers.

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Effect of a Passive Intervention on Carers of Stroke Survivors During the Early Poststroke Period

BACKGROUND: Care partners of stroke survivors are often characterized by high burden levels and depression. Passive and active interventions have been proposed to help reduce burden and depression. The aim of this quality improvement report was to evaluate the effects of a single passive intervention on reported burden and depression in carers of stroke survivors. METHODS: A quality improvement report was conducted on carers who participated in a short passive intervention (n = 56) and a control group (n = 44). The Family Strain Questionnaire-Short Form (FSQ-SF) and the Beck Depression Inventory II were administered in both groups at patients' admission and before discharge, with the intervention taking place between the 2 data collection periods. RESULTS: No significant difference between groups was observed in FSQ-SF score and prevalence of depression at admission and in FSQ-SF at discharge. However, compared with admission, FSQ-SF at discharge was significantly reduced only in the intervention group (pre: 14, and interquartile range, 12-15; post: 9, and interquartile range, 9-13; P < .01). Moreover, a smaller proportion of carers classified as "depression" was found at discharge in the intervention group compared with controls (4% vs 28%, respectively; P < .01). CONCLUSION: Results encourage the development and use of short passive intervention to reduce burden and depression in care partners of stroke survivors.

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eHealth interventions to support caregivers of people with dementia may be proven effective, but are they implementation-ready?

Objectives: A variety of health services delivered via the Internet, or “eHealth interventions,” to support caregivers of people with dementia have shown evidence of effectiveness, but only a small number are put into practice. This study aimed to investigate whether, how and why their implementation took place. Methods: This qualitative study followed up on the 12 publications included in Boots et al.'s (2014) widely cited systematic review on eHealth interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia, in order to explore further implementation into practice. Publicly available online information, implementation readiness (ImpRess checklist scores), and survey responses were assessed. Findings: Two interventions were freely available online, two were available in a trial context, and one was exclusively available to clinical staff previously involved in the research project. The remaining seven were unavailable. All scores on the ImpRess checklist were at 50% or lower of the total, indicating that the interventions were not ready to implement at the time of the Boots et al. (2014) review, though some interventions were scored as more implementation-ready in subsequent follow-up publications. Responses to the survey were received from six out of twelve authors. Key learnings from the survey included the importance of the involvement of stakeholders at all stages of the process, as well as the flexible adaptation and commercialization of the intervention. Conclusions: In general, low levels of implementation readiness were reported and often the information necessary to assess implementation readiness was unavailable. The only two freely available interventions had long-term funding from aging foundations. Authors pointed to the involvement of financial gatekeepers in the development process and the creation of a business model early on as important facilitators to implementation. Future research should focus on the factors enabling sustainable implementation.

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Compelling Results That a Problem-Solving Intervention Improves Hospice Family Caregiver Outcomes

This editorial comments on the article: Demiris, G., Oliver, D.P., Washington, K. and Pike, K. (2019), A Problem‐Solving Intervention for Hospice Family Caregivers: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Am Geriatr Soc, 67: 1345-1352. doi:10.1111/jgs.15894

Hospice researchers Demiris, Parker Oliver, Washington, and Pike should be commended for their recent successful clinical trial evaluating the Problem‐Solving Intervention to Support Caregivers in End‐of‐Life Care Settings (PISCES) intervention, published in this issue of JAGS.8 The 4‐year study fills a substantial gap in the knowledge base by conducting a rigorous randomized trial within the challenging hospice care environment to demonstrate the efficacy of a brief, pragmatic problem‐solving intervention to support informal caregivers.

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Policy Brief on Ageing No. 22: The challenging roles of informal carers

The number of older people with care or support needs is on the rise across the UNECE region. While there are efforts to expand formal long-term care services to respond to this growing demand, informal care forms the backbone of long-term care (LTC) provision across the UNECE region. There is diversity in the way long-term care provision is organised and financed across the region as well as with regard to the status, recognition and support provided to informal carers. Although informal carers cover an estimated 70 to 95 per cent of all care needs,  they are often called the ‘invisible workforce’ in long-term care systems as they are rarely registered or counted and their status as informal care provider is often not formally recognized. The majority of informal care is provided by women.

By covering for the gaps in both short-term and long-term formal care provision, thus “co-producing” care services alongside professional service providers, informal carers help prevent or delay the need for institutionalization of people in need of care or support and are enabling them to remain living at home. 

It is challenging for informal carers to cover short-term care needs for a family member, neighbour or friend. It becomes even more demanding the longer this activity has to be performed, especially when informal carers might themselves be of advanced age and care recipients themselves. Policy measures are needed to address the growing need for care in a way that prevents strain on families and caregivers and protects their health and well-being. Public policies need to ensure that informal carers will not be forced to reduce or give up paid employment, face social exclusion and ultimately be caught in a poverty trap.

This policy brief focuses on informal carers who provide long-term informal care to older persons. It addresses the policy challenge to support informal carers in a multifaceted way, identifying key challenges faced by informal carers and policy strategies to address them. 

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Older adult caregivers of their spouses with acquired late-life disability: examining the effectiveness of an internet-based meditation program in mitigating stress and promoting wellbeing

This article reports a study examining the impact of an internet-based meditation program in mitigating stress and promoting wellbeing among older adult caregivers of their spouses with acquired late-life disability in Central Europe and South Asia compared to leisure. Posttest (T2) the meditation cohort exhibited lower caregiver burden and psychological distress, improved responses to care challenges, and greater wellbeing compared to the leisure group. South Asians, women, middle class, college educated, whose spouses had locomotor and sensory disabilities and lived as a couple alone, reported lesser caregiving burden, improved responses to care challenges, lesser distress and greater wellbeing at T2. Meditation lessons attended and self-practice mediated the relationship between demographic predictors and outcomes and self-practice had the largest positive impact. Meditation influenced certain aspects of caregiver wellbeing more such as self-care and certain specific aspects of wellbeing. Internet-based caregiver interventions are evidence as useful for social work with older caregivers.

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Narrative Recording as Relational Practice in Social Services: A Case Study from a Scottish Carer Support Organisation

Narrative recording in case records and individual plans within social services represents the means by which stories can be constructed with and about the people with whom services work, influencing relationship building and outcomes. Identities and decision-making are forged in records, shaping people’s lives. Yet, limited attention is paid to narrative recording in research and practice. Indeed, recording, which increasingly veers towards ‘box-ticking’, is viewed by practitioners as a bureaucratic burden, limiting time for the ‘real job’ of face-to-face work. Drawing on Ricoeur’s narrative hermeneutics in exploring qualitative data from a carer support organisation, we identify the potential contribution of narrative recording. Carers often seek support when their sense of identity and quality of life is diminished by their unpaid caring role. We explore practitioners’ views about the role of the narrative record in holding memories, feeding into recognition of capable agency, clarifying possibilities for action, restoration of identity and wellbeing. Applying a Ricoeurian lens demonstrates how attaining these benefits require recording practice which supports recognition through relational practice, in pursuit of better outcomes for carers. Carer benefits could be enhanced by carers holding a copy of and being able to reflect on and further contribute to their own plan.

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Extending a Knowledge-Based System with Learning Capacity

Informal caregivers often complain about missing knowledge. A knowledge-based personalized educational system is developed, which provides caregiving relatives with the information needed. Yet, evaluation against domain experts indicated, that parts of the knowledge-base are incorrect. To overcome these problems the system can be extended by a learning capacity and then be trained further utilizing feedback from real informal caregivers. To extend the existing system an artificial neural network was trained to represent a large part of the knowledge-based approach. This paper describes the found artificial neural network's structure and the training process. The found neural network structure is not deep but very wide. The training terminated after 374.700 epochs with a mean squared error of 7.731 ∗ 10-8 for the end validation set. The neural network represents the parts of the knowledge-based approach and can now be retrained with user feedback, which will be collected during a system test in April and May 2019.

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The Support, Health, Activities, Resources, and Education program for early stage dementia: Results from a randomized controlled trial

Purpose: A randomized controlled trial was conducted to test the effectiveness of the Support, Health, Activities, Resources, and Education Program. This six-session psycho-educational program provides dyadic counseling for individuals in the early stages of dementia and their family caregivers. The goal is to prevent common problems in care that emerge during the course of dementia by (1) actively engaging the person with dementia in developing a balanced plan of future care with his/her caregiver, (2) increasing use of available services, (3) enhancing dyadic relationship functioning, (4) improving well-being, and (5) evoking satisfaction with components of the intervention. Design and methods: Persons with early stage dementia (n = 128) and their caregivers (n = 128) were randomly assigned either to Support, Health, Activities, Resources, and Education Program or a control condition. Intervention efficacy was evaluated for completion of a care plan, use of services, dyadic relationship functioning, participant well-being, and program satisfaction. Results: Dyads in the treatment condition were able to construct a balanced care plan and increased their use of services. Dyadic functioning improved for one dimension (decreased emotional disruptions). Compared to the control condition, satisfaction with the intervention was higher for caregivers enrolled in Support, Health, Activities, Resources, and Education Program on four of five dimensions and one dimension for persons with dementia. Implications: Support, Health, Activities, Resources, and Education Program is a promising prevention approach that takes advantage of the early stage of dementia when both members of the dyad can participate fully in making decisions about later care. 

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Photojournalism-Based Intervention Reduces Caregiver Burden and Depression in Alzheimer’s Disease Family Caregivers

Purpose: Art interventions have demonstrated holistic benefits for persons living with dementia and their caregivers. In this article, we describe the results of a pilot photojournalism program for 10 unpaid caregivers of persons living with dementia, with respect to caregivers’ experience in the program and their psychological well-being. Design: Caregivers participated in four sessions led by a professional photojournalist who taught principles of photography. Between the sessions, caregivers took photographs that represented what caregiving meant to them using digital cameras provided in the program. During the sessions, instruction was interspersed with discussion of caregivers’ photographs. Method: Caregiver burden and depressive symptoms were measured pre- and postprogram. Qualitative exploration included sessions’ observations, viewing caregivers’ photographs, and recording caregivers’ accompanying comments. Findings: For participants with pre- and postprogram data, caregiver burden decreased significantly (p =.037). For caregivers with pre- and postprogram data, depressive symptoms decreased nonsignificantly (p =.066). Clinically meaningful reductions in caregiver burden and depressive symptoms were attained. Qualitative findings highlighted caregivers’ strong engagement with the project, the facilitator, and other participants, and reflection on multiple aspects of their experience. Conclusions: This intervention helped caregivers creatively communicate their experience and demonstrated efficacy in the improvement of caregivers’ psychological well-being. 

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Vietnamese American Dementia Caregivers' Perceptions and Experiences of a Culturally Tailored, Evidence-Based Program to Reduce Stress and Depression

Vietnamese American dementia caregivers are at increased risk for adverse mental health compared to the general U.S. population given their sociodemographic and immigration experiences, yet programs that address their needs are lacking. The current article describes Vietnamese American dementia caregivers' perceptions and experiences of a culturally tailored, evidence-based intervention to reduce stress and depression. A convenience sample of caregivers was recruited from the San Francisco Bay area and randomly assigned to intervention (“Our Family Journey”; OFJ) (n = 30) or control (written dementia caregiving information) (n = 30) groups. All intervention and 76.7% of control caregivers reported that the OFJ or educational materials, respectively, were very/somewhat helpful. Three or more skills were refined/learned by 96.7% of OFJ and 36.6% of control participants. Qualitative findings indicated that the intervention had positive effects on well-being and taught new caregiving skills. This first U.S. study to address the mental health needs of Vietnamese American dementia caregivers shows positive perceptions/experiences and demonstrates a model to address a significant need in the community. 

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Virtual Patient Interaction via Communicative Acts

In the context of assisting informal caregivers of Alzheimer Disease patients, this article presents the design and preliminary implementation of a serious game in which two agents a user-controlled caregiver and a virtual patient communicate via specifically-designed dialog acts, reflecting both pedagogically appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. 

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Multi-part quality evaluation of a customized mobile application for monitoring elderly patients with functional loss and helping caregivers

Background: The challenges faced by caregivers of the elderly with chronic diseases are always complex. In this context, mobile technologies have been used with promising results, but often have restricted functionality, or are either difficult to use or do not provide the necessary support to the caregiver - which leads to declining usage over time. Therefore, we developed the Mobile System for Elderly Monitoring, SMAI. The purpose of SMAI is to monitor patients with functional loss and to improve the support to caregivers' communication with the health team professionals, informing them the data related to the patients' daily lives, while providing the health team better tools. Method: SMAI is composed of mobile applications developed for the caregivers and health team, and a web portal that supports management activities. Caregivers use an Android application to send information and receive care advice and feedback from the health team. The system was constructed using a refinement stage approach. Each stage involved caregivers and the health team in prototype release-test-assessment-refinement cycles. SMAI was evaluated during 18 months. We studied which features were being used the most, and their use pattern throughout the week. We also studied the users' qualitative perceptions. Finally, the caregiver application was also evaluated for usability. Results: SMAI functionalities showed to be very useful or useful to caregivers and health professionals. The Focus Group interviews reveled that among caregivers the use of the application gave them the sensation of being connected to the health team. The usability evaluation identified that the interface design and associated tasks were easy to use and the System Usability Scale, SUS, presented very good results. Conclusions: In general, the use of SMAI represented a positive change for the family caregivers and for the NAI health team. The overall qualitative results indicate that the approach used to construct the system was appropriate to achieve the objectives. 

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Development of an eHealth information resource for family carers supporting a person receiving palliative care on the island of Ireland

Background: Many people receiving palliative care wish to die at home. Often, support from family or friends is key to ensuring that this wish is fulfilled. However, carers report feeling underprepared to undertake this role. This paper describes the process of developing a consensus and evidence based website to provide core information to help people support someone receiving palliative care on the island of Ireland. Methods: The project comprised three phases: (1) a review of systematic reviews facilitated the identification of core information needs; (2) content was developed in collaboration with a Virtual Reference Group (VRG) comprising patients, carers and professionals; and, (3) subject experts within the project team worked with a web developer to précis the agreed content and ensure it was in a format that was appropriate for a website. Members of the VRG were then invited to test and approve the website before it was made available to the general public. Results: Nineteen systematic reviews identified nine consensus areas of core information required by carers; a description of palliative care; prognosis and treatment of the condition; medication and pain management; personal care; specialist equipment; locally available support services; what to do in an emergency; nutrition; and, support for the carer. This information was shared with the VRG and used to develop website content. Conclusions: We engaged with service users and professionals to develop an evidence-based website addressing the agreed core information needs of non-professional carers who wish to provide palliative care to a friend or relative. 

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The impact of the absorbent products distribution system on family caregivers of older people with incontinence in Italy: Perception of the support received

Background: Urinary incontinence is a chronic, age-related disorder, likely to increase in the future due to global population ageing. In Italy, as in most countries, older people with incontinence are often cared for by family caregivers, whose burden might be worsened by the perception of receiving an inadequate support, due to the lack of customized services. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the absorbent products distribution method on family caregivers' perception of the support received. Methods: The study compared the distribution of pads to homes and in pharmacy via a survey reaching 101 family caregivers of older people with incontinence living in two geographical areas of the Marche Region (Central Italy) with different distribution systems. The association between "Quality of perceived support" (the outcome variable) and two types of absorbent products delivery methods (i.e. pharmacy and home distribution) was analysed by means of a general linear model. Results: Findings show that family caregivers receiving pads at home (HODs) perceived a higher support than those gaining them at the pharmacy (PHADs) (respectively 68.1% vs 35%). The association between perceived support level and distribution system remained even after correction for confounding factors. 70.2% of PHADs reported "Poor well-being", versus only 53.7% of HODs. The latter are more satisfied with the type of products distribution and thus less inclined to experiment different systems for the supply of products for the urinary continence (e.g. by voucher). The results are virtually reversed among PHADs and the difference is statistically significant (p < 0.001). Conclusions: When family caregivers feel supported by a more customized service delivery system, their perception of the care-related burden is mitigated. Thus, it is important to consider the needs of both family caregivers and cared for older people, and not only of the latter for designing a more suitable distribution of absorbent products. The best solution could be leaving end-users the freedom to choose how they want to get products (e.g. voucher or personal budget). This requires a reorganization of the current pads delivery systems adopted by the Marche and by other Italian Regional Health Systems. 

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mHealth applications as an educational and supportive resource for family carers of people with dementia: An integrative review

Family carers encounter several challenges related to caring for people with dementia, and they need support in managing care recipients’ health needs. This study aims to identify, appraise and synthesise the existing evidence on the use of mHealth/smartphone applications as an educational and supportive resource for family carers of people with dementia. An integrative literature review approach was used. Seven databases were searched. The search generated 117 articles, with seven meeting the inclusion criteria. Three categories and their attendant sub-categories emerged from the literature. The categories are ‘carer support’, ‘evaluation strategies’ and ‘barriers and challenges’. mHealth applications appear to be a feasible intervention for family carers of people with dementia despite the limited available research and barriers for their development and implementation. Further research on mHealth applications with strong methodological rigour and more research on mHealth applications as an educational and supportive resource for carers of people with dementia are needed.

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Redesigning care for older people to preserve physical and mental capacity: WHO guidelines on community-level interventions in integrated care

Islene Araujo de Carvalho and coauthors discuss the WHO guidelines on integrated care for older people.

Summary points:

  • Numerous underlying physiological changes occur with increasing age, and for older people, the risks of developing chronic diseases and care dependency increase.
  • Health systems are often better designed to respond to episodic health needs than to the more complex and chronic health needs that tend to arise with increasing age, and reprioritization is required to meet the needs of ageing populations.
  • Significant losses in capacity and care dependency in later life can be delayed or avoided if health interventions are introduced earlier in the process of functional decline.
  • We discuss the recommendations of the WHO Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) Guidelines, which provide evidence-based recommendations for managing declines in intrinsic capacity, developed with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology.
  • Implementation of evidence-based interventions requires community-based assessment of an individual’s needs, development and implementation of a care plan, provision of monitoring and referrals as needed, and supporting caregivers.
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iSupport: a WHO global online intervention for informal caregivers of people with dementia

The development of iSupport was funded by a grant from the Alzheimer Association US, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in the Netherlands, and Alzheimer Disease International. The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this letter and they do not necessarily represent the views, decisions or policies of the institutions with which they are affiliated. The iSupport development team included E. Albanese, N. Batsch, U. Baruah, K. Edwards, K. Egan, D. Gallagher‐Thompson, M. Guerra, J. Holroyd‐Leduc, T. Kwok, K. Mehta, M. Prins, S. Loganathan, I. Rosier, P. Shivakumar, I. van Asch, M. Varghese, H. Wang, B. Willemse, M. Wortmann and L. Xiao. The WHO Secretariat included A. Brunier, K. Carswell, T. Dua, A.M. Pot, D. Rekve, K. Seeher, M. van Ommeren, S. Saxena and D. Zandi.

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Randomized controlled trial of a facilitated online positive emotion regulation intervention for dementia caregivers

Objective: To test the effects of Life Enhancing Activities for Family Caregivers (LEAF), a 6-week positive emotion regulation intervention, on outcomes of positive emotion, depression, anxiety, and physical health as measured by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System® (PROMIS®). Method: A randomized controlled trial (N 170) comparing LEAF (N 86) to an emotion reporting/waitlist condition (N 84) in dementia caregivers. LEAF was individually delivered online by trained facilitators. Participants in the control condition completed daily online emotion reports and then crossed over into the intervention condition after 6 weeks. The study was registered with Clinicaltrials. gov (NCT01825681) and funded by R01NR014435. Results: Analyses of difference in change from baseline to 6 weeks demonstrated significantly greater decreases in PROMIS® depression (d <.25; p.02) and Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders (NeuroQOL) anxiety (d <.33; p-.01), as well as improvements in PROMIS® physical health (d.24; p.02) in the intervention condition compared to the emotion reporting/waitlist control. The intervention also showed greater improvements in positive emotion (d.58; p-.01) and positive aspects of caregiving (d.36; p-.01). Increases in positive emotion significantly mediated the effect of LEAF on depression over time. Conclusions: This randomized controlled trial of the online-facilitated positive emotion regulation intervention in dementia caregivers demonstrated small to medium effect sizes on caregiver well-being and shows promise for remotely delivered programs to improve psychological well-being in caregivers of people with dementia and other chronic illnesses. 

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An evaluation of the suitability, readability, quality, and usefulness of online resources for family caregivers of patients with cancer

Objective: Evaluate the suitability, readability, quality, and usefulness of publicly available online resources for cancer caregivers. Methods: Resources identified through a Google search and environmental scan were evaluated using the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM), an online readability text analysis tool, the DISCERN (quality), and caregivers' unmet needs checklist (usefulness). Descriptive analyses and cluster analysis to identify the group of resources with the highest SAM and DISCERN scores were performed. Results: 55 resources were evaluated. The suitability of 48/55 (87%) resources were categorized as adequate (SAM scores 40–69), with no resources ranking in the superior category (SAM scores > 70%). The readability of 51/55 (93%) resources exceeded 9th grade reading level. The mean quality score as a percentage was 49% (SD 11.5). On average resources addressed 9.9/33 unmet needs (SD = 5.8). A high-quality cluster was identified and included 15 (27%) websites. Conclusion: Online resources for cancer caregivers are not optimal in terms of their suitability, readability, quality, and usefulness. The highest ranked resources include, Cancer Council Australia's booklet, Caring for Someone with Cancer, and the American Cancer Society's webpages, Caregivers and Families. Practice implications: Study findings will allow healthcare professionals to better address cancer caregivers’ needs by recommending the most optimal resources. 

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Online information and support for carers of people with young-onset dementia: A multi-site randomised controlled pilot study

OBJECTIVES: The European RHAPSODY project sought to develop and test an online information and support programme for caregivers of individuals diagnosed with young onset dementia. The objectives were to assess user acceptability and satisfaction with the programme and to test outcome measures for a larger effectiveness study. DESIGN: A pilot randomised controlled trial in England, France, and Germany was conducted with 61 caregivers for adults with young onset Alzheimer's disease or frontotemporal degeneration. Evaluations at baseline, week 6, and week 12 assessed user acceptability and satisfaction. Use of the programme was measured from online back-end data. Qualitative feedback on user experiences was collected via semi-structured interviews. Measures of caregiver well-being (self-efficacy, stress, burden, frequency of patient symptoms, and caregiver reactions) were explored for use in a subsequent trial. RESULTS: Participants logged in online on average once a week over a 6-week period, consulting approximately 31% of programme content. Seventy percent of participants described the programme as useful and easy to use. Eighty-five percent expressed intent to use the resource in the future. Reductions in reported levels of stress and caregivers' negative reactions to memory symptoms were observed following use of the programme. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicated that the RHAPSODY programme was acceptable and useful to caregivers. The programme may be complementary to existing services in responding to the specific needs of families affected by young onset dementia. Distribution of the programme is underway in England, France, Germany, and Portugal.

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Moving through predeath grief: Psychological support for family caregivers of people with dementia

When caring for a family member with dementia, continuous losses and predeath grief can adversely affect the caregivers’ physical and mental health. Interventions for caregivers should therefore also aim at coping with loss and managing predeath grief. It was the objective of the present study to describe sources of grief caregivers report during therapy and to investigate how therapists can support caregivers. Two caregivers who participated in a randomized controlled trial were selected for this case study. Both caregivers received an intervention based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy with grief-focused content that consisted of 12 sessions within six months. Three therapy sessions per participant were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results illustrate that both caregivers experienced a loss of companionship with their respective care recipient and ambiguous loss that resulted in intense grief that they found difficult to manage. Therapists responded by supporting the caregivers to acknowledge their losses and identify individual ways to cope with and accept loss and grief. Both caregivers reported higher well-being and an increased ability to manage their grief-related emotions after the therapy ended. The identified intervention strategies fit well into a theoretical framework for grief interventions for dementia caregivers, i.e. the dementia grief model.

 
 
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The effectiveness of a life story program on stress reduction among Chinese American family caregivers of older adults

The study aims to examine the effectiveness of a life story program on reducing Chinese American family caregivers’ stress due to the burden of caregiving. This study conducted a quasi-experimental pre-posttest research design. A simple one-way ANOVA was performed to test the significance of the intervention on caregivers’ burden. The life story was not found to be directly statistically significant on reducing burden. However, through the life story intervention, it was discovered that among Chinese American family caregivers their perceived lower dependency of the care receiver, fewer needs of the care receiver and unknown time frame of continuation of care were statistically significant on the burden scale. The life story intervention improved family caregivers’ insight and judgment on the effect that care receivers’ needs and demands had on their continuation of caregiving. 

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A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Caregivers of Veterans

Objectives: Informal caregivers of veterans are providing care for a population whose specialized care needs require increased investments on the part of caregivers and for longer durations. Empirical evidence shows negative mental health effects on these caregivers at rates that outpace those seen in caregivers in the general population. With a growing need and limited resources, effective interventions are needed to improve mental health outcomes in this special population of caregivers. Methods: This pilot, randomized control trial tested the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention at improving perceived stress, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and worry compared to waitlist controls in a sample of 23 caregivers of veterans. Results: The Mann-Whitney U tests used to determine whether groups differed in change scores (post minus pre) indicated that there were significant differences between the mindfulness and waitlist control group in perceived stress (U = 21.5, p =.006, r = .57), anxiety (U = 24.0, p =.009, r = .54), and worry (U = 29.5, p =.024, r = .47). Results from the Wilcoxon signed-rank tests indicated that caregivers in the mindfulness group reported a significant reduction in perceived stress (Z = − 2.50, p =.013, r =.75) and anxiety (Z = − 2.81, p =.005, r =.85), whereas the waitlist control group reported higher mean symptoms at the end of the intervention period. Conclusions: Given these promising results, policymakers, health practitioners, and veteran-related programs should increase efforts to provide caregivers of veterans with mindfulness-based interventions to improve mental health outcomes. 

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Effects on stress reduction of a modified mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for family caregivers of those with dementia: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Background: Caring for people with dementia (PWD) is stressful and poses many life challenges for the family caregivers. Interventions targeting the stress and psychological well-being of the caregivers have been proposed but the sustainable effects and efficacies of these interventions vary considerably. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be effective at reducing stress in several populations. However, limited research on the effects of MBCT in family caregivers of PWD has been conducted. This study protocol aims to examine the effects on stress reduction of a modified MBCT for family caregivers of PWD. Methods: A prospective, single-blind, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial will be adopted. A convenience sample of 100 community-dwelling family caregivers of PWD will be randomized to either the modified MBCT or the control groups. The modified MBCT group will receive a 10-week, seven-session, group-based modified MBCT whereas the control group will receive a social interaction and routine education (SIRE) on dementia care program at a frequency and timing similar to those in the intervention group. The primary outcomes (stress) and secondary outcomes (depression, anxiety, burden, health-related quality of life, and the behavioral and psychological symptoms of the care recipient) will be measured immediately post-intervention (T1) and at 6-month follow-up (T2), which will be compared with the baseline (T0). Discussion: Reducing the stress of caregiving can promote the well-being of the family caregivers and maintain their sustainability in providing daily care for their family members with dementia. MBCT is found to be effective for stress reduction in other populations, and the results of this study are able to provide us with evidence for using MBCT as a standard supportive intervention for the family caregivers of PWD. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03354819. Registered on 28 November 2017. 

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Effects of a modified mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for family caregivers of people with dementia: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Background: Caregivers of people with dementia experience high stress levels. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has been found to be effective in reducing stress and improving the psychological well-being of several populations. Objective: To explore the feasibility and preliminary effects of a modified mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for family caregivers of people with dementia. Methods: In a single-blinded, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial, 36 caregivers of people with dementia were randomized to either the intervention group, receiving the 7-session modified mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in 10 weeks; or the control group, receiving the usual family care and brief education on dementia care. The brief education sessions were similar in frequency and duration to the intervention group. Various psychological outcomes of caregivers were assessed and compared at baseline, immediately post-intervention, and at the 3-month follow-up. A focus group with eight participants from the intervention group was conducted to identify the strengths, limitations, and difficulties of the intervention. Results: Intervention feasibility was established with a high completion rate of 83% (completing ≥5 out of the 7 sessions) and a low attrition rate of 11.1%. The duration of the average weekly home-based mindfulness practice of the caregivers was 180 minutes (S.D. = 283.8). The intervention group experienced a statistically significant decrease in stress levels (Z = -1.98, p = 0.05, Cohen's d = 0.7) and depressive symptoms (Z = -2.25, p = 0.02, Cohen's d = 0.8) at the post-test; and a decrease in stress (Z = -2.58, p = 0.01, Cohen's d = 0.9), depressive symptoms (Z = -2.20, p = 0.03, Cohen's d = 0.7), and burden (Z = - 2.74, p = 0.006, Cohen's d = 1.0), and improved quality of life (physical) (Z = -1.68, p = 0.09, Cohen's d = 0.6) at the 3-month follow-up compared to the controls. A focus group conducted immediately after the intervention revealed three major themes: Impacts on the family caregivers, Impacts on the people with dementia, and Difficulty in practicing mindfulness. Conclusion: The findings support the feasibility and preliminary effects of the modified mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on reducing the stress of caregivers and improving their psychological well-being. Some potential effects on people with dementia (e.g., improvements in behavioral problems) were reported by the caregivers. A future study with a larger and more diverse sample is proposed to evaluate the longer-term effects and generalizability of the modified mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and the impacts on people with dementia. 

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Opting Out of a Time-of-Death Visit: Insights From Home Hospice Family Members

Hospice patients die in various settings, including at home with family caregivers. Hospice offers a time-of-death visit to provide support and confirm death, a requirement in some states but not all. Few studies have been conducted among home hospice families exploring their experiences without a time-of-death visit. To better understand the family's experience regarding the time of death of their loved one, we conducted an exploratory study using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Home hospice families who had experienced a death within the last 6 to 13 months and had not received a time-of-death visit were recruited. Seven interviews were conducted, and data were analyzed using an emergent thematic approach. Major themes included caregiver's previous experience with death, caregiver support, final hours, and reasons for not selecting a time-of-death visit. Results showed families did well without a time-of-death visit when strong social support was present and conveyed the importance of allowing personal choice. Further research is needed to identify families in need of time-of-death visits and targeted support needs and to inform practice and policy guidelines. 

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A meta-analysis of low-intensity cognitive behavioral therapy-based interventions for dementia caregivers

Objectives: This study aimed to review the effectiveness of low-intensity cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based interventions for informal dementia caregivers when compared to non-active control conditions. Design: Literature searches were conducted in databases of published (PsycINFO, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus) and unpublished (Open Grey, ISRCTN registry, ClinicalTrials.gov, ProQuest) literature. Individual meta-analyses were conducted for each outcome variable. Pooled intervention effect estimates were calculated as Hedge's g using a random-effects model.Included studies: Studies examining the effect of low-intensity CBT-based interventions for informal caregivers for people with any progressive dementia were included. Randomized controlled trials and controlled clinical trials were included. Measurements: Outcomes included the psychological variables of anxiety, depression, burden, and distress (defined as stress or strain). Results: A total of five studies reported anxiety outcomes, 12 reported on depression, three reported on burden, and six reported distress outcomes. Results demonstrated a significant effect of low-intensity CBT-based interventions in reducing all examined psychological difficulties. Small effect sizes were found for anxiety (g = 0.35), depression (g = 0.27), and distress (g = 0.33). A medium effect was found for burden (g = 0.53). Conclusions: The results provide initial support for low-intensity CBT-based interventions for dementia caregivers. Clinical implications and research recommendations are explored. Strengths and limitations of the study are discussed. 

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DESKK Study - Development and testing of a dementia-specific respite care concept with a mobility and counselling programme: Study protocol

Introduction: Specific mobility programmes can delay functional decline in people with dementia (PwD). Family caregivers (FCs) can be relieved from care-related burden by counselling services. Respite care is a short-term inpatient care service (1-8 weeks of stay). Respite care centres (RCCs) can function as support structures for dementia care arrangements through caring-based mobility training of PwD and counselling sessions for their FCs. However, no systematic mobility or counselling programmes exist in this setting in Germany or the rest of the world. The aim of the development and testing of a dementia-specific respite care concept (DESKK) study is the development and testing of an evidence-based mobility and counselling programme for PwD and their FCs that is suitable for the respite care setting. Methods and analysis: A pilot-based, quasi-experimental evaluation study will be conducted in a specialised RCC for PwD. To evaluate the acceptance and usability of the development and testing of a DESKK concept, qualitative data will be collected from the RCC staff and FCs via semistandardised interviews. Quantitative data will be collected using instruments to assess effect tendencies of the concept related to mobility (PwD) and burden (FCs). Furthermore, a mixed-methods triangulation approach will be conducted. Ethics and dissemination: The protocol, informed consent and accompanying material given to patients were submitted by the investigator to the Ethical Review Committee of the German Society of Nursing Science. The project was examined and finally approved on 31 January 2017 (Number: 16-27). Prior to obtaining written consent for study participation, information must be given to all of the study participants in verbal and written form. The results of the study will be presented at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. After the concept is finalised, a practice-friendly manual will be developed in which implementation components are described for other RCCs. 

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An Italian pilot study of a psycho-social intervention to support family caregivers' engagement in taking care of patients with complex care needs: The Engage-in-Caring project

Background: The raising of disability and chronic illness burden among European population is calling for a new paradigm of care, focused on primary health care interventions. Engage-In-Caring is a novel multicomponent intervention clearly dedicated to improve family caregiver engagement in the care of patients with complex care needs, by supporting them to develop a stronger consciousness of their role, needs and skills. Method: Engage-In-Caring intervention's efficacy and feasibility have been evaluated through a single arm pre-post observational pilot study settled in Rome. A qualitative phase, consisting of literature analysis of caregivers' unmet needs and a final revision from an experts' group, led to the structuration of the intervention, following the Caregiver Health Engagement Model (CHE-Model). Afterwards, a quantitative phase allowed understanding the feasibility of the intervention through Kruskal-Wallis test on a sample of 47 caregivers. Results: Results showed a reduction of the physical burden (Chi Squared = 6,483; p =.01) perceived by the caregivers and increase of the health literacy (Chi Squared = 3,560; p =.059) after the intervention. Conclusions: Feasibility tests on caregivers of patients with complex care needs are promising: this pilot study suggests a first effectiveness evidence, particularly concerning aspects related to burden perception and improvements in health literacy. Randomised controlled trials on larger samples are needed.

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Carers at breaking point: Making the case for carers' breaks in England

This report shows the that majority of unpaid carers are unable to take sufficient breaks and also highlights an unfair and unequal provision of carers’ breaks services across England. The report is based on the results of a survey of over 1,000 carers in the UK and a freedom of information request to local authorities and clinical commissioning groups across England. Only 8 per cent of carers responding to the survey felt they had been able to take sufficient breaks. Almost half of respondents said they had not been able to take breaks even if they would have liked to, with 38 per cent f those not being able to afford replacement care. Carers who hadn’t taken a break from caring within the last year were also more likely to report that their mental or physical health had suffered as a result of caring. The Freedom of Information request also found wide variation in the amount of money local authorities and clinical commissioning groups are spending on carers’ breaks through the dedicated Better Care Fund. The report makes recommendations to improve access to breaks for carers, including increased funding for carers’ breaks through the Better Care Fund and for local authorities to make breaks a key part of their preventative work. 

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An exploration of the experience of using calendar reminders for people with dementia and family carers

People with dementia and family carers often use calendars to support time orientation to maintain routine. However, little is known about the use of calendars as a compensatory strategy. This study examines the experience and practicalities of using calendar reminders from the perspective of people with dementia and family carers. Six dyads were recruited and interviewed at home. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to develop a narrative interpreted from an occupational therapy perspective. The themes were reflected on during two subsequent focus groups. Findings suggested that calendars are used either intensively as external memory records or more casually and randomly for reassurance. The familiarity and location of the calendar and its utility to the person with dementia and carer, all contribute to its efficacy. For carers the experience of supporting calendar reminders encompasses practical, cognitive and emotional effort. There was little awareness amongst participants of electronic assistive technology. 

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Can brief telephone interventions reduce caregiver burden and depression in caregivers of people with cognitive impairment? - Long-term results of the German day-care study (RCT)

Background: Day-care and telephone counseling have been discussed as effective support measures for caregivers of people with cognitive impairment. Methods: In a two-arm cluster-randomized trial involving multicomponent therapy for cognitively impaired persons in day-care centers and telephone counseling for their caregivers versus treatment as usual (TAU), we investigated long-term effects on caregivers' burden and depressiveness. Person-caregiver dyads involving home-dwelling persons with MCI, mild dementia, or moderate dementia were eligible. Day-care centers were randomized into an intervention group (IG) or a control group (CG). Outcome assessors were blinded. Out of 359 caregivers who had completed a 6-month intervention phase (nIG = 205, nCG = 154), a total of 304 of them were available at the 12-month follow-up (nIG = 173, nCG = 131). Instruments for assessing were the Burden Scale for Family Caregivers - short version (BSFC-s) (caregiver burden) and the Well-Being Index Score (WHO-5) (depressiveness). Mixed ANOVAs were used for the main analyses; descriptive statistics and subgroup analyses were additionally performed; secondary analyses involved multiple linear regressions for the main outcomes that were significant in the unadjusted main analysis. Results: At follow-up, crude mean differences showed a nonsignificant advantage for the IG in caregiver burden [IG: -.20 (SD = 5.39) vs. CG:.76 (SD = 5.49), p =.126, d =.177] and depressiveness (reverse scored) [IG: -.05 (SD = 5.17) vs. CG: -.98 (SD = 5.65), p =.136, d =.173]. For caregiver burden, a mixed ANOVA resulted in significant main effects of group (F (1, 302) = 4.40; p =.037) and time (F (1.88, 568.96) = 3.56; p =.032) but not a significant interaction. The largest effects were found for the "mild dementia" subgroup (d =.443 for caregiver burden and d =.520 for depressiveness). Discussion: Positive long-term effects of a combined intervention involving telephone counseling for caregivers and multicomponent activation for patients were observed especially for mild dementia. However, the treatment effects washed out after the intervention ended. Trial registration: ISRCTN16412551 (date: 30 July 2014, retrospectively). 

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Designing and developing a co-produced theoretical and evidence-based online support for family caregivers of people with dementia at the end of life

Background: Caring for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally difficult. Acting as a caregiver can make it difficult to access sources of support, particularly in the later stages of dementia. This paper reports the development and presents the targets (subject areas) and components of a prototype website to support family caregivers of a person with dementia towards the end of life. Methods: Adopting an iterative approach and co-production methods the development process consisted of four stages: Stage1-Synthesis of data: Three sources of data (interviews, systematic review and theory) were synthesised using tabulation, to identify the targets of the prototype; Stage2-Identifying intervention targets and components: A research development group (health practitioners, a family caregiver and academic experts) met to discuss the development, using a modified nominal group process, refining the synthesis from stage 1; Stage3-Developing the intervention prototype: An outline of the prototype was developed based on stage 1 and 2; and Stage4-User testing: Interviews with caregivers testing the prototype website. Results: Qualitative interviews with caregivers identified four targets for the intervention: 1) feeling prepared and equipped; 2) feeling connected and supported; 3) valuing themselves as a caregiver and as an individual; 4) maintaining control of the caring situation and being the coordinator of care. The systematic review provided evidence on how and what components could address these targets, including providing information, peer support, contact with professionals, and psychological support. Theory helped to narrow the focus within each of these targets. Active discussion with the research development group and end users provided an outline of the prototype website. The prototype website presented addresses these targets with written information, videos from other caregivers, and peer and professional support sections. The subject areas covered included expectations at the end of life, support with day-to-day caring, care planning, and communication. Conclusions: This paper provides a detailed account of the development process of a prototype website for caregiver support. The transparent methodology and key lessons learnt from developing the prototype should help those who are developing similar interventions, across complex, progressive conditions and not just limited to dementia. 

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Long-Term Outcomes of the Benefit-Finding Group Intervention for Alzheimer Family Caregivers: A Cluster-Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial

Objectives: To examine the effects of the group benefit-finding therapeutic intervention (BFT) for Alzheimer family caregivers up to 10-month follow-up. Methods: This was a cluster-randomized double-blind controlled trial in social centers and clinics. Participants included 129 caregivers. Inclusion criteria were 1) primary caregiver aged 18 years and older and without cognitive impairment, 2) providing 14 or more care hours per week to a relative with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer disease, and 3) scoring 3 or more on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Exclusion criterion was care-recipient having parkinsonism or other forms of dementia. BFT (using cognitive reappraisal to find positive meanings) was evaluated against two forms of psychoeducation as controls—standard and simplified (lectures only) psychoeducation. All interventions had eight weekly sessions of 2 hours each. Primary outcome was depressive symptoms, whereas secondary outcomes were global burden, role overload, and psychological well-being. Measures were collected at baseline, postintervention, and 4- and 10-month follow-up. Results: Mixed-effects regression showed that BFT's effect on depressive symptoms conformed to a curvilinear pattern, in which the strong initial effect leveled out after postintervention and was maintained up to 10-month follow-up; this was true when compared against either control group. The effect on global burden was less impressive but moderate effect sizes were found at the two follow-ups. For psychological well-being, there was an increase in the BFT group at 4-month follow-up and a return to baseline afterward. No effect on role overload was found. Conclusion: Benefit-finding reduces depressive symptoms as well as global burden in the long-term and increases psychological well-being in the medium-term.

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Predictors of Symptoms Remission Among Family Caregivers of Individuals With Dementia Receiving REACH VA

Resources for Enhancing All Caregivers Health (REACH VA) is a behavioral intervention for caregivers of individuals with dementia disseminated in the VA. Although shown to improve caregiver and care recipient outcomes, some caregivers continue to experience depression or caregiver burden following the intervention. Factors that predict symptom remission following REACH VA are unknown. The present study investigated attachment, social support, and psychopathology as predictors of symptom remission for family caregivers who completed REACH VA. Caregivers who do not remit perceive lower levels of social support from loved ones, endorse poorer attachment quality, and have more personality disorder characteristics, particularly affective instability. These factors that impair caregivers’ abilities to be effectively attuned to the needs of their care recipients and to reap benefits from a brief and focused behavioral intervention such as REACH VA. Interventions that target caregiver interpersonal functioning and emotion regulation skills may be helpful to those who do not respond to REACH VA. 

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The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act

The Recognize, Assist, Include Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act was signed into law on January 23, 2018. The bill is Public Law 115-119 (U.S. Congress) had bipartisan sponsorship by Maine Senator Susan Collins (R) who chairs the Senate Committee on Aging and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) along with Mississippi Congressman Harper Gregg (R) and Florida Congresswoman Kathy Caster (D) on the House side (Eisenberg, 2018). This law directed the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and maintain a United States strategy to recognize and support the over 40 million family caregivers. The RAISE Act aims to help relatives and partners who provide medical household and financial assistance to loved ones (Eisenberg, 2018).

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“They take a lot of pressure off us”: Volunteers reducing staff and family care burden and contributing to quality of care for older patients with cognitive impairment in rural hospitals

Objectives: 1Explore the ability of trained volunteers to provide person-centred care focusing on nutrition/hydration support, hearing/visual aids and activities in rural hospitals for older patients with dementia and/or delirium. 2Explore the impacts and challenges of volunteer care for family carers and hospital staff. Methods: Staff were surveyed about their confidence, stress and satisfaction at 6 months post-implementation. Focus groups with staff and interviews with families explored program successes, challenges and enabling factors. Results: Volunteers integrated themselves into the care team, providing person-centred care, increased safety and quality of care for patients and a reduced burden for staff and families. Key enablers were clear processes for screening, training and supporting volunteers. Key challenges included initial role delineation, staff/volunteer trust and sustainability. Conclusion: The program is reported by families and staff as being effective in addressing the main barriers to providing person-centred care for older adults with cognitive impairment in rural acute hospitals. 

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Closer: A videoconference intervention for distance caregivers of cancer patients

Distance caregivers (DCGs) represent a growing demographic. The emotional burden of caregiving for a family member with cancer is amplified by the logistical challenges of providing support from afar. DCGs feel higher levels of distress, anxiety, and depression compared with local caregivers. Videoconference technology may alleviate both the emotional and practical burdens faced by DCGs. This is an ongoing randomized controlled trial in 32 outpatient ambulatory clinics at a large, urban, comprehensive cancer center. To date, 332 patient‐DCG dyads have been enrolled. DCGs must have internet access and have been identified by the patient as a source of support. The intervention period is 4 months. DCGs are randomized to one of three arms: DCGs in Arm 1 receive four coaching sessions with an advanced practice nurse or social worker and four videoconference appointments during the oncologist‐patient office visit. DCGs in Arm 2 participate in four videoconference appointments with the oncologist and patient, and Arm 3 is the control group, which receives access to information through a website. Primary outcome variables are DCG distress, anxiety, depression, burden, self‐efficacy, and emotional support. These data are collected electronically at baseline, 4 months, and 6 months. Patient distress, anxiety, and depression are also assessed at these same intervals using brief in‐person interviews. The change in each of the DCG outcomes over time will be examined by a repeated measures analysis of covariance.

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Nursing interventions to support family caregivers in end-of-life care at home: A systematic narrative review

Background: Family caregivers are crucial in end-of-life care. However, family caregiving may involve a significant burden with various negative health consequences. Although nurses are in a unique position to support family caregivers at home, little is known about which nursing interventions are effective in this context. Therefore, this study aims to provide insight into nursing interventions currently available to support family caregivers in end-of-life care at home and to describe their effects. Methods: A systematic search was conducted in Embase, Medline Ovid, Web of Science, Cochrane Central, CINAHL and Google Scholar. This review included quantitative studies published from January 2003 until December 2018 reporting on nursing interventions to support adult family caregivers in end-of-life care at home. Data were extracted on intervention modalities, intervention components, and family caregivers’ outcomes. Methodological quality of the studies was assessed with the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool. Results: Out of 1531 titles, nine publications were included that reported on eight studies/eight interventions. Of the eight studies, three were randomised controlled trials, one a pilot randomised trial, one a non-randomised trial, and three were single-group prospective studies. Four intervention components were identified: psychoeducation, needs assessment, practical support with caregiving, and peer support. Psychoeducation was the most commonly occurring component. Nursing interventions had a positive effect on the preparedness, competence, rewards, and burden of family caregivers. Multicomponent interventions were the most effective with, potentially, the components ‘needs assessment’ and ‘psychoeducation’ being the most effective. Conclusions: Although only eight studies are available on nursing interventions to support family caregivers in end-of-life care at home, they show that interventions can have a positive effect on family caregivers’ outcomes. Multicomponent interventions proved to be the most successful, implying that nurses should combine different components when supporting family caregivers. 

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Dementia-friendly community indicators from the perspectives of people living with dementia and dementia-family caregivers

Aims: To identify dementia-friendly communities' indicators and their current conditions in Taiwan from the perspectives of people with dementia and dementia-family caregivers.; Design: This qualitative study explored the opinions and experiences of people with dementia and dementia-family caregivers regarding dementia-friendly communities.; Methods: Participants (16 people with dementia and 20 family caregivers) were recruited from neurological clinics, day care centers for people with dementia and support groups for family caregivers in the Taipei community from July - October, 2016. Data were collected in face-to-face interviews, which were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analyzed by Miles and Huberman's (1994) guidelines.; Results: Similar indicators for dementia-friendly communities were identified in Taiwan as in other countries, including dementia-friendly care services, dementia-friendly hospitals, dementia-friendly community environment, dementia-friendly transportation, dementia-friendly stores and shops, dementia friendly people, integrated dementia-related information and community contribution- and -involvement opportunities for people with dementia. However, Taiwanese people with dementia and family caregivers described no emphasis on the potential of people with dementia to contribute to developing dementia-friendly communities and more top-down expectations for the government's role.; Conclusion: These indicators can be a guide for developing and evaluating dementia-friendly communities in Taiwan. Differences between Taiwan and Western developed countries in indicators for dementia-friendly communities can be further explored. Community nursing assessment, interventions and evaluation based on these dementia-friendly communities indicators can be further developed.; Impact: This study developed indicators for dementia-friendly communities in an Asian country. These indicators can be used as a guide for developing and evaluating dementia-friendly communities.

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Caregivers for the elderly in Thailand: development and evaluation of an online support system

Informal caregivers are playing a major role in helping elderly people with their activities in daily life. The purpose of this work is to develop an Online Support System for Elderly Care (OSSEC) to provide services for informal caregivers in Thailand. The system has six modules which are: patient and caregiver profile manager, elderly care recommender applying case-based reasoning, daily care plan manager, elderly care activity notifier, elderly care information resource locator and caregivers’ social interaction platform. We have established the utility of OSSEC in enhancing the knowledge and ability of informal caregivers and in reducing their stress. In particular, we measured quantitatively the usefulness of OSSEC and evaluated user satisfaction as well.

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Psychosocial interventions for informal caregivers of people living with cancer

Background Increasingly, people who are not health professionals provide care for a partner, family member or friend affected by cancer, which can have negative effects on their health and well‐being. Psychosocial interventions that comprise psychological or social support and involve direct interaction between a healthcare professional and caregivers (or caregiver‐patient pairs) may help to address the negative health effects for caregivers. Review question What is the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions compared to usual care for informal caregivers of people living with cancer on a range of outcomes related to health and well‐being?  Results We found19 trials that compared psychosocial interventions with usual care, in studies that included almost four thousand participants. Studies included caregivers of people affected by different cancers across all stages of the disease. There were differences in intervention make‐up. Intervention examples include providing information and/or teaching caregivers (or caregiver‐patient pairs) coping, communication or problem‐solving skills to manage symptoms or improve relationships. Interventions were delivered by nurses, psychologists or other professionals on an outpatient basis or at home via telephone. There may be a minimal benefit for caregiver quality‐of‐life immediately after the intervention, but this may not last. Psychosocial interventions may have little to no effect on quality of life for patients six to 12 months post‐intervention, but we are uncertain whether or not interventions improve quality of life for patients immediately post‐intervention. Psychosocial interventions may have little to no effect on caregiver depression, anxiety, distress and physical health and patient anxiety and distress at any time after the intervention, or on patient depression immediately and patient physical health six to 12 months post‐intervention. Psychosocial interventions probably have little to no effect on patient physical health immediately post‐intervention or patient depression three to six months post‐intervention. Three studies reported adverse effects including increased distress and sexual function‐related distress and lower relationship satisfaction levels for carers, increased distress levels for patients, and intervention content that was seen as inappropriate for some participants. No studies looked at cost‐effectiveness or intervention satisfaction for caregivers or patients. Because the quality of evidence was low generally, findings must be treated with caution. Conclusion Psychosocial interventions do not impact to a clinically meaningful degree outcomes for caregivers irrespective of patient cancer stage or type. Perhaps, other outcomes (e.g. relationship quality) or other psychosocial interventions (e.g. meditation) may be more helpful for caregivers. Interventions should be subjected to better conducted trials. Intervention development should involve caregivers and pay particular attention to individual personal needs.

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Intracranial Tumors: A nurse-led intervention for educating and supporting patients and their caregivers

BACKGROUND: Behavioral symptoms among postoperative patients with intracranial tumors and distress among caregivers are common. OBJECTIVES: This article aimed to assess the effectiveness of a brief nurse-led intervention on behavioral symptoms of postoperative patients with intracranial tumors and distress of their caregivers. METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted on 80 patients with intracranial tumors and their family caregivers in a tertiary care institute in India. A brief nurse-led intervention was provided in the form of individual counseling, and a pamphlet was given to patients and caregivers in the experimental group at the time of discharge. Behavioral symptoms of patients and distress of caregivers were assessed. FINDINGS: Patients in the experimental group had significantly fewer behavioral symptoms and less severity of behavioral symptoms as compared to the control group. Caregivers in the experimental group had significantly less severity of distress as compared to the control group. 

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Caregiver Care

Eighty percent of adults requiring long-term care currently live at home in the community, and unpaid family caregivers provide 90% of their care. Family caregivers serve as a critical extension of the U.S. health care system, and the demand for family caregivers is expected to increase during the next few decades. Caring for loved ones is associated with several benefits, including personal fulfillment; however, caregiving is also associated with physical, psychological, and financial burdens. Family physicians can aid in the identification, support, and treatment of caregivers by offering caregiver assessments-interviews directed at identifying high levels of burden-as soon as caregivers are identified. Repeat assessments may be considered when there is a change in the status of the caregiver or the care recipient. Caregivers should be directed to appropriate resources for support, including national caregiving organizations, local elder care agencies, websites, and respite care. Psychoeducation, skills training, and therapeutic counseling interventions for caregivers have shown small to moderate success by decreasing caregiver burden and increasing caregiver quality of life. Additional research is needed to further identify strategies to offset caregiver stress, depression, and poor health outcomes. Support and anticipatory guidance for the caregiver is especially helpful during care transitions and at the care recipient's end of life.

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Improving family caregiver and patient outcomes in lung cancer surgery: Study protocol for a randomized trial of the multimedia self-management (MSM) intervention

Objective: To describe the study protocol of the Multimedia Self-Management (MSM) intervention to prepare patients and family caregivers (FCGs) for lung cancer surgery.; Design: The study is a five-year, single site, randomized controlled trial of 160 lung cancer surgery FCG and patient dyads (320 total participants), comparing intervention and attention control arms.; Setting: One National Cancer-Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center in Southern California.; Participants: Patients who are scheduled to undergo lung cancer surgery and their FCGs are enrolled as dyads only.; Intervention: Based on the Chronic Care Self-Management Model (CCM), the intervention is a nurse-led, caregiver-based, multimedia care program for lung cancer surgery. Its primary focus is to help FCGs develop self-management skills related to their caregiving role through goal setting, proactive planning, building problem-solving skills, and accessing family support services. The intervention also supports dyads to prepare for surgery and post-operative recovery at home. It includes videos, print, web-based, and post-discharge telephone support.; Main Outcome Measures: FCG and patient psychological distress and QOL; FCG burden and preparedness for caregiving; FCG and patient healthcare resource use (in-home nursing care, urgent care/ER visits, readmissions).; Analysis: Repeated measures ANCOVA statistical design will be used, removing variances prior to examining mean squares for the group by occasion interactions, and co-varying the baseline scores. In addition, structured equation modeling (SEM) will assess whether mediating and moderating factors are associated with outcomes. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03686007.

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Enhancing & Mobilizing the POtential for Wellness & Emotional Resilience (EMPOWER) among Surrogate Decision-Makers of ICU Patients: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Background: Critical illness increases the risk for poor mental health outcomes among both patients and their informal caregivers, especially their surrogate decision-makers. Surrogates who must make life-and-death medical decisions on behalf of incapacitated patients may experience additional distress. EMPOWER (Enhancing & Mobilizing the POtential for Wellness & Emotional Resilience) is a novel cognitive-behavioral, acceptance-based intervention delivered in the intensive care unit (ICU) setting to surrogate decision-makers designed to improve both patients' quality of life and death and dying as well as surrogates' mental health. Methods: Clinician stakeholder and surrogate participant feedback (n = 15), as well as results from an open trial (n = 10), will be used to refine the intervention, which will then be evaluated through a multisite randomized controlled trial (RCT) (n = 60) to examine clinical superiority to usual care. Feasibility, tolerability, and acceptability of the intervention will be evaluated through self-report assessments. Hierarchical linear modeling will be used to adjust for clustering within interventionists to determine the effect of EMPOWER on surrogate differences in the primary outcome, peritraumatic stress. Secondary outcomes will include symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, prolonged grief disorder, and experiential avoidance. Exploratory outcomes will include symptoms of anxiety, depression, and decision regret, all measured at 1 and 3 months from post-intervention assessment. Linear regression models will examine the effects of assignment to EMPOWER versus the enhanced usual care group on patient quality of life or quality of death and intensity of care the patient received during the indexed ICU stay assessed at the time of the post-intervention assessment. Participant exit interviews will be conducted at the 3-month assessment time point and will be analyzed using qualitative thematic data analysis methods. Discussion: The EMPOWER study is unique in its application of evidence-based psychotherapy targeting peritraumatic stress to improve patient and caregiver outcomes in the setting of critical illness. The experimental intervention will be strengthened through the input of a variety of ICU stakeholders, including behavioral health clinicians, physicians, bereaved informal caregivers, and open trial participants. Results of the RCT will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and serve as preliminary data for a larger, multisite RCT grant application. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03276559. Retrospectively registered on 8 September 2017.

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The effectivness of a strengths-oriented therapeutic conversation intervention on perceived support, well-being and burden among family caregivers in palliative home-care

Aims: To evaluate the effectiveness of a two-session multicomponent family strengths- oriented therapeutic conversation intervention among family caregivers of an individual with advanced/final stage cancer during ongoing palliative home-care.; Background: Family caregivers of patients in the advanced/final phases of cancer, experience multifaceted psychological distress and morbidity. Psychosocial interventions improve the well-being of family members who are caring for their close relative.; Design: A pre-experimental design with a one-group pre-test/posttests measurements.; Methods: Forty-eight family caregivers were assigned to receive two 60-90 min sessions of the intervention. The primary outcome was perceived emotional and cognitive support and psychological well-being, measured at baseline (T1). Then the participants were offered the first session of the intervention. About one week later, the second session was administered. The participants answered the same questionnaires again (T2) and then 2-4 weeks later (T3). The guideline; Criteria for Reporting Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions 2, guided the reporting of the study.; Results: Family caregivers reported significantly higher emotional and cognitive support post-intervention (T2) and (T3). They also reported significantly reduced stress symptoms at (T3) and reduced caregiver burden post-intervention (T2) and at (T3).; Conclusion: The provision of the intervention contributed to extending knowledge about the usefulness of family conversations in the context of advanced/final stage cancer care.; Impact: There is a lack of knowledge regarding the benefit of therapeutic conversations interventions for family caregivers. The therapeutic conversation intervention offered, resulted in perceived support, decreased stress and decreased caregiving demands among caregivers in palliative home-care. 

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The Carers' Alert Thermometer (CAT): supporting family carers of people living with motor neurone disease

Background: Burden and distress among family carers of people living with motor neurone disease (MND) are reported widely. Evidence-based screening tools to help identify these carers' needs and plan appropriate support are urgently needed. Aim: To pilot the Carers' Alert Thermometer (CAT), a triage tool developed to identify carers' needs, with family carers of people living with MND to determine its usefulness in identifying their need for support. Methods: Training workshops with MND Association visitors (AVs) and staff in southwest and northwest England, followed by implementation of the CAT. A self-completed online survey and semi-structured telephone interview evaluated use of the CAT. Findings: Sixteen participants completed the online survey with 11 volunteering to be interviewed. The CAT has potential to map change over time, help to focus on carers' needs and improve communication with carers. Conclusion: The CAT provides a structure enabling AVs to engage in a meaningful process with family carers to identify and discuss their needs.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Symptom Interference in Advanced Lung Cancer and Caregiver Distress: A Pilot Randomized Trial

Context: Advanced lung cancer patients typically have a poor prognosis and many symptoms that interfere with functioning, contributing to high rates of emotional distress in both patients and family caregivers. There remains a need for evidence-based interventions to improve functional outcomes and distress in this population.; Objectives: This pilot trial examined the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of telephone-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for symptomatic, advanced lung cancer patients and their distressed family caregivers. Primary outcomes were patient symptom interference with functioning and patient and caregiver distress.; Methods: Symptomatic, advanced lung cancer patients and distressed caregivers (n=50 dyads) were randomly assigned to six sessions of ACT or an education/support condition. Patients completed measures of symptom interference and measures assessing the severity of fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and breathlessness. Patients and caregivers completed measures of distress and illness acceptance and struggle.; Results: The eligibility screening rate (51%) and retention rate (76% at 6 weeks post-intervention) demonstrated feasibility. No group differences were found with respect to patient and caregiver outcomes. Both groups showed a small, significant decrease in struggle with the illness over the study period, but did not show meaningful change in other outcomes.; Conclusion: Findings suggest that telephone-based ACT is feasible for many advanced lung cancer patients and caregivers, but may not substantially reduce symptom interference and distress. Low baseline levels of certain symptoms may have contributed to null findings. Next steps include applying ACT to specific, clinically meaningful symptom interference and varying intervention dose and modality.

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Pilot Study of a Transitional Intervention for Family Caregivers of Older Adults

Objective : To conduct a formative evaluation of a transitional intervention for family caregivers, with assessment of feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness, and potential benefits. Methods : The intervention aimed to provide emotional support, information on community resources, and information and support for development of coping skills for the caregivers of patients aged 65 and older who were to be discharged home from an acute medical hospital admission. We used a one-group, pre- and three-month post-test study design. Results: Ninety-one patient-caregiver dyads were recruited. Of these, 63 caregivers (69%) received all five planned intervention sessions, while 60 (66%) completed the post-test. There were significant reductions in caregiver anxiety and depression following the intervention, and high rates of satisfaction. Discussion: This transitional intervention should be further evaluated, preferably with a control group, either as a stand-alone intervention or as one component of a comprehensive transitional intervention for older patients and their caregivers.

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Improving information to caregivers of cancer patients: the Herlev Hospital Empowerment of Relatives through More and Earlier information Supply (HERMES) randomized controlled trial

Purpose: The newly developed "Herlev Hospital Empowerment of Relatives through More and Earlier information Supply" (HERMES) intervention systematically identifies cancer caregivers' unmet needs for information from health care professionals (HCPs) and offers them the information they lack. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the HERMES intervention on caregivers' perception of information, communication, attention and help from HCPs, fulfillment of care needs, and anxiety and depression.; Methods: A randomized intervention study with immediate intervention in the intervention group and delayed intervention (after follow-up) in the control group among caregivers of cancer patients starting chemotherapy.; Results: Totally 199 caregivers were included (intervention group, n = 101; control group, n = 98). No intervention effect was found on overall satisfaction with information from HCPs (p = 0.1687) measured by a single item from the Cancer Caregiving Tasks, Consequences and Needs Questionnaire (CaTCoN) and chosen as primary outcome. However, positive effects were found on the CaTCoN subscales "Problems with the quality of information from and communication with HCPs" (p = 0.0279), "Lack of information from HCPs (HERMES)" (p = 0.0039), and "Lack of attention on the caregivers' wellbeing from HCPs" (p < 0.0001). No effect was found on the CaTCoN subscale "Need for help from HCPs", the Family Inventory of Needs subscale regarding fulfillment of care needs, or the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale.; Conclusions: Although no effect was found on overall satisfaction with information, the HERMES intervention had positive effects on the caregivers' experiences of the amount of information and attention given to them and the quality of information and communication.; Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (Identifier: NCT02380469).

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Investigating the economic case of a service to support carers of people with dementia: A cross-sectional survey-based feasibility study in England

Carers contribute essential support to enable people with dementia to continue living within the community. Admiral Nurses provide specialist dementia support for carers of people with dementia, including offering expert emotional support and guidance, and work to join up different parts of the health and social care system to address needs in a co-ordinated way. The cost-effectiveness of this service is not clear. We undertook a feasibility study to explore related outcomes and costs for these carers. A cross-sectional, clustered survey was undertaken in England in 2017, in areas with and without Admiral Nursing (AN). The survey questionnaire included questions on the characteristics of the carers and the person with dementia, outcomes (care-related quality of life [CRQoL], self-efficacy and subjective well-being), use of health and social care services, out-of-pocket costs and time spent on informal care. We used different econometric techniques to compare the outcomes and the costs of the carers with and without AN services: linear regression, propensity score matching and instrumental variables analysis. These techniques allowed us to control for differences in observed and unobserved characteristics between the two groups of carers which determined outcomes and costs. We concluded that AN services might have a positive effect on carers' CRQoL, self-efficacy and subjective well-being. Furthermore, we found little difference in costs between carers using AN and those using usual care, or in the costs of the people with dementia they care for. Our findings provided an initial indication as to whether AN services could be good value for money. The key limitation of the study was the difficulty in controlling for unobserved characteristics because of the cross-sectional nature of our observational data. To diminish this limitation, our survey could be used in future studies following carers with and without AN services over time.

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The Effect of Group Counseling Based on Quality of Life Therapy on Stress and Life Satisfaction in Family Caregivers of Individuals with Substance Use Problem: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Family caregivers of people with substance abuse are exposed to psychological problems that diminish their life quality and satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to diagnose the efficacy of quality-of-life intervention on stress and life satisfaction of family caregivers of individuals with substance use problem. This is a randomized controlled trial conducted on 80 family caregivers of individuals with substance use problem in the process of withdrawal who were referred to a psychiatric center in southeastern Iran (2018). The intervention group received seven sessions of quality-of-life group counseling every other day based on predetermined content. Twelve weeks post-intervention, data were collected from the control and intervention groups using the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS-21) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). The results were analyzed through statistical tests. After group counseling based on quality of life, the mean stress score in the family caregivers of the intervention group (11.50 ± 4.36) was significantly lower than in those of the control group (14.67 ± 4.93) (p = 0.003). Also, in the posttest, the mean score of life satisfaction in the intervention group (24.75 ± 4.28) was significantly higher than that of the control group (19.57 ± 7.33) (p = 0.001). Group counseling based on quality of life exerted a significantly positive impact on reducing the severity of stress and improving life satisfaction among family caregivers of individuals with substance use problem. Therefore, it is highly recommended that healthcare service providers incorporate this counseling approach in substance use withdrawal programs so as to increase the well-being and mental health of family caregivers.

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Pilot Test of a Computer-Based System to Help Family Caregivers of Dementia Patients

Background: Family members absorb much of the care of dementia patients. The burden of care substantially impacts caregivers' health, further straining our healthcare system. By 2050, the incidence of Alzheimer's disease will more than double, increasing the numbers of family caregivers proportionally. Interventions that reduce their burden are needed to preserve their health as well as the viability of the healthcare system.; Objective: This paper reports on the development and feasibility testing of a computer-based system intended to improve the lives of caregivers. D-CHESS (Dementia-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System) allows users to obtain information, communicate with other caregivers, get help with care decisions, and share information with experts.; Method: Thirty-one caregivers were randomly assigned to an intervention group receiving D-CHESS for 6 months or to a control group receiving a caregiving book. Surveys at 0, 2, 4, and 6 months evaluated caregiver burden, family conflict, satisfaction with decisions, social support, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and coping competence.; Results: Survey findings suggest D-CHESS participants may perform better on measures of social support, anxiety, loneliness, and coping competence; the groups were equivalent on caregiver burden, decision satisfaction, and depression, and the control group reported less family conflict than the intervention. D-CHESS use data suggested enhancements to system design and content to increase awareness and use of various features.; Conclusion: This study suggests that D-CHESS has potential to positively impact family caregivers and that the system merits further development and investigation with a full-scale clinical trial.

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Factors influencing the adoption of Smart Health technologies for people with dementia and their informal caregivers: Scoping review and design framework

Background: Smart Health technologies (s-Health technologies) are being developed to support people with dementia (PwD) and their informal caregivers at home, to improve care and reduce the levels of burden and stress they experience. However, although s-Health technologies have the potential to facilitate this, the factors influencing a successful implementation in this population are still unknown. Objective: The aim of this study was to review existing literature to explore the factors influencing PwD and their informal caregivers’ adoption of s-Health technologies for home care. Methods: Following the Arksey and O’Malley methodology, this study is a scoping review providing a narrative description of the scientific literature on factors influencing s-Health technology adoption for PwD and their informal caregivers. A search was conducted using PubMed, the Cochrane library, the IEEE library, and Scopus. Publications screening was conducted by 2 researchers based on inclusion criteria, and full-text analysis was then conducted by 1 researcher. The included articles were thematically analyzed by 2 researchers to gain an insight into factors influencing adoption that PwD and their informal caregivers have to encounter when using s-Health technologies. Relevant information was identified and coded. Codes were later discussed between the researchers for developing and modifying them and for achieving a consensus, and the researchers organized the codes into broader themes. Results: Emerging themes were built in a way that said something specific and meaningful about the research question, creating a list of factors influencing the adoption of s-Health technologies for PwD and their informal caregivers, including attitudinal aspects, ethical issues, technology-related challenges, condition-related challenges, and identified gaps. A design framework was created as a guide for future research and innovation in the area of s-Health technologies for PwD and their informal caregivers: DemDesCon for s-Health Technologies. DemDesCon for s-Health Technologies addresses 4 domains to consider for the design and development of s-Health technologies for this population: cognitive decline domain, physical decline domain, social domain, and development domain. Conclusions: Although s-Health technologies have been used in health care scenarios, more work is needed for them to fully achieve their potential for use in dementia care. Researchers, businesses, and public governments need to collaborate to design and implement effective technology solutions for PwD and their informal caregivers, but the lack of clear design guidelines seems to be slowing the process. We believe that the DemDesCon framework will provide them with the guidance and assistance needed for creating meaningful devices for PwD home care and informal caregivers, filling a much-needed space in the present knowledge gap.

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A realist evaluation of a regional Dementia Health Literacy Project

Background: A Dementia Health Literacy Project was undertaken in the north coast region of NSW, Australia, after it was identified as having a high prevalence of dementia. A Dementia Support Kit was produced with service user engagement to provide useful information to people with dementia and their families. Objective: To evaluate the Dementia Health Literacy Project using a realist evaluation framework. Setting and participants: The setting was the region of the north coast of New South Wales. Eight people diagnosed with dementia and their carers, 13 members of social groups of older people in the local area, and 22 local GPs and other health‐care and service providers participated in this study. Results: Two context‐mechanism‐outcome configurations were identified: (a) co‐design workshops where the stakeholders' opinions were equally valued (context) led service users to feel listened to and prompted them to provide feedback (mechanism) to develop a practical resource that they would use (outcome); and (b) use of health professionals to distribute the resources (context) that they consider useful and valuable (mechanism) resulted in the target audience receiving the resources (outcome). Discussion and conclusions: The Dementia Health Literacy Project produced a Dementia Support Kit that is likely to provide locally relevant and useful information for people with dementia and their carers. The results highlight the value of the co‐design approach in producing and disseminating dementia health literacy resources. Further evaluation is required to confirm the impact of the Kit over time on service users' behaviour and consequently on their health outcomes.

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Providing Support for Caregiver Communication Burden: Assessing the Plain Language Planner Resource As a Nursing Intervention

Objective: To elicit informal caregiver feedback about an mHealth resource and it's potential as a nurse-delivered intervention for caregiver communication support.; Data Sources: Four focus groups with current oncology caregivers that involved caregiver use of the resource and response to a video demonstrating the resource as a nursing intervention. A brief assessment of the resource was collected for triangulation of data.; Conclusion: Caregivers rated the resource as overwhelmingly positive and reported that use of the resource gave an increased sense of preparedness. Caregivers shared ideas for future expansion of the resource, highlighted the need for user-responsive design, and described the need for a caregiver-centered tool.; Implications For Nursing Practice: Communicating complex terminology relating to treatment, side effects, and symptoms requires resources to meet health literacy needs. A nursing protocol for using the resource is provided based on feedback collected from caregivers.

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Embedding caregiver support in community-based services for older adults: A multi-site randomized trial to test the Adult Day Service Plus Program (ADS Plus)

There are over five million people in the United States living with dementia. Most live at home and are cared for by family. These family caregivers often assume care responsibilities without education about the disease, skills training, or support, and in turn become at risk for depression, burden, and adverse health outcomes when compared to non-dementia caregivers. Despite over 200 caregiver interventions with proven benefits, many caregivers lack access to these programs. One approach to enhance access is to embed evidence-based caregiver support programs in existing community-based services for people with dementia such as adult day services (ADS). Here we describe the protocol for an embedded pragmatic trial designed to augment standard ADS known as ADS Plus. ADS Plus provides family caregivers with support via education, referrals, and problem solving techniques over 12 months, and is delivered on-site by existing ADS staff. Embedding a program in ADS requires an understanding of outcomes and implementation processes in that specific context. Thus, we deploy a hybrid design involving a cluster randomized two-group trial to evaluate treatment effects on caregiver wellbeing, ADS utilization, as well as nursing home placement. We describe implementation practices in 30 geographically and racially/ethnically diverse participating sites. Clinical trial registration #: NCT02927821.

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Dementia Patients' Transition to Residential Aged Care: Carers' and Social Workers' Experiences

Many people with dementia eventually require residential aged care, frequently preceded by a hospital admission. Family carers often find the process challenging and disempowering, as they are expected to move their family member to residential aged care quickly. This article reports on findings from a small Australian qualitative study focusing on the provision of information, support and resources, and discusses the findings in relation to person-centred care and critical social work. Social workers completed an online survey and participated in focus groups, and carers were interviewed. The research found that carers valued the information, support, and resources provided by social workers and other hospital staff. They needed time to adjust to the dementia diagnosis and wanted a supportive person to talk to about the written information. The social workers wanted an improved approach to the preparation and communication of information, and a more consistent approach to family meetings. There is a need to further develop and articulate the role of hospital social workers in supporting the transition to residential aged care for people with dementia and their family carers. What is valued by family carers is personal support; a team approach from the hospital; up-to-date, concise information; and guidance from a caseworker. Early diagnosis of dementia, more information about the progression of dementia, and advanced care planning would be of assistance.

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Innovative Tools to Support Family Caregivers of Persons with Cancer: The Role of Information Technology

Objectives: To describe the current evidence of studies examining the use of information technology for family caregivers of persons with cancer. We highlight emerging technologies and trends and discuss ethical and practical implications.; Data Sources: Review scientific studies and systematic reviews of technology use to support caregivers of persons with cancer.; Conclusion: The evidence base is growing; however, more studies are needed to test the effectiveness of technology.; Implications For Nursing Practice: Several tools have potential to provide support to family caregivers but the selection of such tools needs to address access, privacy, interoperability, and usability considerations.

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Process evaluation of a social support platform ‘Inlife’ for caregivers of people with dementia

Introduction Informal caregivers of persons with dementia have an increased risk of facing social isolation. Online social media interventions might offer a new opportunity to increase access to social support. An online social support platform, ‘Inlife’, was developed and launched in the Netherlands to enhance social support, positive interactions and information sharing in informal support networks. Objective A process evaluation was performed to evaluate the internal and external validity of the Inlife intervention. Methods Implementation, sampling and intervention quality were evaluated by both qualitative and quantitative methods. Analyses were performed using descriptive statistics and inductive content analysis. Analyses were conducted following participants' completion of the intervention after 16 weeks. Results The overall participation rate in the study was 27% (96/351). The Inlife intervention was generally well-received by the primary caregivers. Inlife facilitated empowerment, openness, involvement, and efficient care organization. Still, adherence was not optimal for all Inlife users. Determinants for Inlife use were identified on the level of the Inlife innovation, the users, and the socio-political context. Conclusions Inlife was evaluated as a useful instrument for efficient central care coordination and mutual involvement. This study emphasizes that the personal attitudes of the Inlife users to seek and provide support warrant attention, next to the characteristics of the actual Inlife innovation for optimal intervention uptake. Online and offline support might be integrated to raise awareness of caregiver social support needs and attitudes and provide insight into caregivers' available social capital. Trial registration Dutch trial register NTR6131, Registered on 20 October 2016.

  • Users found that Inlife increased empowerment, openness, involvement, and efficient care organization.
  • Lower adherence rates may have affected internal and external validity.
  • Determinants for Inlife use were found at the level of the innovation, the users, and the socio-political context.
  • Implementation strategies should focus on attitudes and barriers of Inlife’s users, as well as Inlife’s characteristics.
  • Offline guidance might be integrated to raise awareness of caregivers’ social capital, their support needs and barriers.
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Addressing personal barriers to advance care planning: Qualitative investigation of a mindfulness-based intervention for adults with cancer and their family caregivers

Objective: Advance care planning (ACP) increases quality of life and satisfaction with care for those with cancer and their families, yet these important conversations often do not occur. Barriers include patients' and families' emotional responses to cancer, such as anxiety and sadness, which can lead to avoidance of discussing illness-related topics such as ACP. Interventions that address psychological barriers to ACP are needed. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of a mindfulness intervention designed to cultivate patient and caregiver emotional and relational capacity to respond to the challenges of cancer with greater ease, potentially decreasing psychological barriers to ACP and enhancing ACP engagement. Method: The Mindfully Optimizing Delivery of End-of-Life (MODEL) Care intervention provided 12 hours of experiential training to two cohorts of six to seven adults with advanced-stage cancer and their family caregivers (n = 13 dyads). Training included mindfulness practices, mindful communication skills development, and information about ACP. Patient and caregiver experiences of the MODEL Care program were assessed using semistructured interviews administered immediately postintervention and open-ended survey questions delivered immediately and at 4 weeks postintervention. Responses were analyzed using qualitative methods.Result Four salient themes were identified. Patients and caregivers reported the intervention (1) enhanced adaptive coping practices, (2) lowered emotional reactivity, (3) strengthened relationships, and (4) improved communication, including communication about their disease. Significance of resultsThe MODEL Care intervention enhanced patient and caregiver capacity to respond to the emotional challenges that often accompany advanced cancer and decreased patient and caregiver psychological barriers to ACP.

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Mindfulness-based practices with family carers of adults with learning disability and behaviour that challenges in the UK: Participatory health research

Background: Family carers of adults with learning disability and behaviours that challenge lead complex and stressful lives. Their caring role can leave them isolated and unsupported. In the UK, effective services designed to build resilience for people in long-term caring roles are lacking. There are none (to our knowledge) designed using a participatory health research (PHR) approach with family carers and professionals.; Objective: With positive behaviour support (PBS) and mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) as key elements, a PHR approach was used to understand the basis for a successful course that supported the capabilities and resilience of family members in long-term caring roles.; Design: The research was guided by the principles of PHR with participation as the defining principle throughout. Central to the research were reflexive conversations (communicative spaces) where diverse knowledges were shared and critiqued.; Findings: Mindfulness/ACT can change long-standing response behaviours and build personal resilience and improve mental health. Elements enabling positive change included a facilitation approach for collaborative reflexivity and the complementary, interactive approach to collaborative enquiry for learning and decision making afforded by PHR.; Discussion: The use of PHR accessed knowledges that would have been lost to more traditional, professional-expert driven processes and facilitated change in constructs for action for both professionals and family carers. Findings challenge service providers to consider how experiential knowledge has agency in professional practice and service design. Reflection on the PHR process across the FaBPos project led to a re-consideration of quality issues in relation to PHR and participation.

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Interventions to help support caregivers of people with a brain or spinal cord tumour

Background: The diagnosis and treatment of a brain or spinal cord tumour can have a huge impact on the lives of patients and their families with family caregiving often resulting in considerable burden and distress. Meeting the support needs of family caregivers is critical to maintain their emotional and physical health. Although support for caregivers is becoming more widely available, large-scale implementation is hindered by a lack of high-quality evidence for its effectiveness in the neuro-oncology caregiver population.; Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of supportive interventions at improving the well-being of caregivers of people with a brain or spinal cord tumour. To assess the effects of supportive interventions for caregivers in improving the physical and emotional well-being of people with a brain or spinal cord tumour and to evaluate the health economic benefits of supportive interventions for caregivers.; Search Methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2018, Issue 7), MEDLINE via Ovid, and Embase via Ovid. We also handsearched relevant published conference abstracts (previous five years), publications in the two main journals in the field (previous year), searched for ongoing trials via ClinicalTrials.gov, and contacted research groups in the field. The initial search was in March 2017 with an update in August 2018 (handsearches completed in January 2019).; Selection Criteria: We included all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) where caregivers of neuro-oncology patients constituted more than 20% of the sample and which evaluated changes in caregiver well-being following any supportive intervention.; Data Collection and Analysis: Two review authors independently selected studies and carried out risk of bias assessments. We aimed to extract data on the outcomes of psychological distress, burden, mastery, quality of patient-caregiver relationship, quality of life, and physical functioning.; Main Results: In total, the search identified 2102 records, of which we reviewed 144 in full text. We included eight studies. Four interventions focused on patient-caregiver dyads and four were aimed specifically at the caregiver. Heterogeneity of populations and methodologies precluded meta-analysis. Risk of bias varied, and all studies included only small numbers of neuro-oncology caregivers (13 to 56 participants). There was some evidence for positive effects of caregiver support on psychological distress, mastery, and quality of life (low to very low certainty of evidence). No studies reported significant effects on caregiver burden or quality of patient-caregiver relationship (low to very low certainty of evidence). None of the studies assessed caregiver physical functioning. For secondary outcomes (patient emotional or physical well-being; health economic effects), we found very little to no evidence for the effectiveness of caregiver support. We identified five ongoing trials.; Authors' Conclusions: The eight small-scale studies included employed different methodologies across different populations, with low certainty of evidence overall. It is not currently possible to draw reliable conclusions regarding the effectiveness of supportive interventions aimed at improving neuro-oncology caregiver well-being. More high-quality research is needed on support for family caregivers of people diagnosed, and living, with a brain or spinal cord tumour.

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Family Caregiving in Serious Illness in the United States: Recommendations to Support an Invisible Workforce

Family caregivers provide the vast majority of care for individuals with serious illness living in the community but are not often viewed as full members of the healthcare team. Family caregivers are increasingly expected to acquire a sophisticated understanding of the care recipient's condition and new skills to execute complex medical or nursing tasks, often without adequate preparation and support, and with little choice in taking on the role. This review draws on peer‐reviewed literature, government reports, and other publications to summarize the challenges faced by family caregivers of older adults in the context of serious illness and to identify opportunities to better integrate them into the healthcare workforce. We discuss promising approaches such as inclusion of family caregivers in consensus‐based practice guidelines; the “no wrong door” function, directing consumers to needed resources, regardless of where initial contact is made; and caregiver‐friendly workplace policies allowing flexible arrangements. We present specific recommendations focusing on research, clinical practice, and policy changes that promote family‐centered care and improve outcomes for caregivers as well as persons with serious illness.

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Supporting Working Carers: A Growing Challenge

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the challenges facing people juggling work with care and to explore how employers can develop a workplace culture that supports them.

One in seven UK employees is caring for an older, sick or disabled family member or friend who cannot manage without their support. Currently 600 carers leave work every day, a figure which is not sustainable given the challenges to UK productivity.

Supporting carers in the workplace is an issue which cannot be ignored:

  • The UK is facing a significant skills gap; over the next decade, the number of workers aged 16-49 is forecast to drop while the number of people aged 50-65 will rise
  • Increasing numbers of workers will be taking on caring responsibilities; with our ageing population and rising State Pension age, more people will be combining work with care
  • Carers will include many of your most talented and experienced employees; the peak age for caring is 45-64, an age at which many people will have gained valuable skills and knowledge in the workplace.

Organisations which fail to address these issues and do not create a workplace culture which supports carers are potentially at risk of:

  • Losing top talent and skills
  • Incurring recruitment and retraining costs
  • Facing productivity losses

All this impacts the bottom line - It has never been more important to address this growing workforce challenge and to reap the business benefits of creating a fundamentally fair and healthy workplace where everybody has equal opportunity to thrive.

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An uncertain practice: social work support for disabled people and carers moving across local authority boundaries in England

This article reports on a study of social work practice with care recipients choosing to relocate between English local administrative units. Data were collected from interviews with 20 social work practitioners from three areas, seeking their views through the use of vignettes. Participants reported that supporting relocation: requires time and planning; is conceptualised as a key transition for those moving; and exposes practitioners (and care recipients) to local variations and the potential for risk, and therefore uncertainty. New legal rights for care recipients may decrease the problems, but local variations will remain.

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Male working carers: a qualitative analysis of males involved in caring alongside full-time paid work

Given ageing demographics, the need for carers will increase and studies suggest that men are nearly as likely as women to become carers. The purpose of this study is to understand the specific challenges that male working carers experience with regard to social life and paid work. Participant recruitment was conducted through local carer support groups and male-dominated workplaces. Using a semi-structured format, 15 interviews were conducted. Findings suggest a variety of themes, including caring characteristics, the effects of caring, support systems and coping strategies. Our results indicate that the male working carer population faces specific challenges in the workplace and social settings.

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Engaging the person with young-onset dementia: working in partnership to support meaningful activity

Imelda cared for her husband through his journey with young-onset Alzheimer's disease. He was diagnosed at the age of 64 and died aged 68. This article describes many of the challenges that she faced in ensuring that her husband continued to experience purpose and meaning even as the ravages of the disease robbed him of his skills. She focuses on the need for the caregiver and the care professional to respond to the unique way in which the person being cared for engages with his or her world and to co-develop activities that are meaningful to them.

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Supporting carers in their careers

In the June edition of the British Ecological Society Bulletin The Niche, an article appeared that I wrote about student carers in the UK.  The BES is a huge network of people who work in the environmental sector in the UK, but also around the world, it’s a network of peers that I hope to move into in my career. I’m very happy to have appeared within it, but also a little daunted given the nature of the article. I have reproduced the article here, followed by a discussion about it.

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Creating Inclusive Spaces for Students in Higher Education with Caregiving Responsibilities: Guidance and Recommendations

This briefing provides an overview of findings from research led by Prof. Moreau that looks at the relationship between care and academia for different groups in Higher Education (HE) in England. The most recent publication is an SRHE report that explores experiences of senior academic staff who are caregivers, with previous research projects looking at other academics, including Early Career Researchers, and students. The research reports are listed in the references section overleaf if you would like to read about this subject in more detail. This particular document focuses on students with caregiving responsibilities. It presents recommendations for how practitioners and policy makers, at an institutional and national level, can work towards making academia a more inclusive space for these students. It follows a similar briefing paper published in June 2019, ‘Creating Inclusive Spaces for Academic Staff with Caregiving Responsibilities in Higher Education’.

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Creating Inclusive Spaces for Academic Staff with Caregiving Responsibilities: Guidance and Recommendations

This briefing provides an overview of findings from research led by Prof. Moreau that looks at the relationship between care and academia for different groups in Higher Education (HE) in England. The most recent publication is an SRHE report which explores experiences of senior academic staff who are caregivers, with previous research projects looking at other academics, including Early Career Researchers, and students. The research reports are listed in the references section overleaf if you would like to read about this subject in more detail. This particular document focuses on academics with caregiving responsibilities. It presents recommendations for how practitioners and policy makers, at an institutional and national level, can work towards making academia a more inclusive space for these academics.

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'From my point of view, my wife has recovered': A qualitative investigation of caregivers' perceptions of recovery and peer support services for people with bipolar disorder in a Chinese community

Background: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic mental disorder, and family members play a key role in taking care of the affected individuals. The recovery movement has gradually transformed mental health services, for example, through the introduction of peer support services (sharing of expert-by-experience knowledge), and it has challenged the prevailing view that people with mental illness cannot recover.; Aims: Through this study, the researchers explored how family caregivers in a Chinese context conceptualise recovery, how caregivers interact with peer support workers (PSWs) and how they perceive peer support services.; Methods: Fourteen family caregivers from community settings participated in individual semi-structured interviews. The data were analysed through thematic analysis.; Results: Family caregivers had multifaceted definitions of recovery and had various degrees of contact with PSWs. The views and experiences shared by PSWs were hope-instilling for caregivers and changed their perception of BD and their loved ones. Some limitations of PSWs were also identified.; Conclusion: Social connectedness and functional outcomes were important indicators of recovery among Chinese family caregivers. Caregivers began to understand the benefits of PSWs after experiencing their services. Peer-led services could be a helpful support for both service users and family caregivers.;

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Dementia caregiver interventions in Chinese people: A systematic review

Aims: The aim of this systematic review was to examine the characteristics and the efficacy of dementia caregiving interventions among the Chinese population. Background: In recent years, an increasing number of dementia caregiving interventions have been developed for Chinese older adults living in Asia that aim to reduce caregivers' burden, depression and distress, and enhance quality of life. Little is known, however, on the nature and the efficacy of these interventions. Design: Systematic review with narrative summary. Data sources: We searched four databases for studies published in English between 1 January 1994–30 December 2017. Nineteen studies reported in 23 articles were included in the final analysis. Review methods: We used a set of criteria from the Cochrane Collaboration tool to assess for the risk of bias across studies. Results: We found that interventions varied in length, frequency, approach, and content, making comparisons across studies challenging. Caregivers' burden, depression, and distress were improved among most included studies. All studies that examined quality of life of caregivers (N = 6) showed improvement. Most of the interventions showed beneficial effects on care recipients' behavioural symptoms, agitation, and depression; cognitive function, however, failed to improve. Conclusion: Although the review found mixed results on intervention outcomes, the majority of interventions showed a potential to improve the health and well‐being of dementia caregivers and care recipients. This review provides suggestions for future dementia caregiving research in the Chinese population, such as inclusion of relevant theoretical frameworks and more rigorous research designs

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Caregiver Communication About Cancer: Development of a mhealth resource to support family caregiver communication burden

Objective: The aim of this study is to illustrate an evidence-based and theoretically informed mhealth resource (smartphone app) designed to provide communication support for informal cancer caregivers (friends or family members). Methods: An eight-step process was conducted: (a) review of existing print resources, (b) selection of theoretical framework for content development, (c) integration of stakeholder feedback and literacy assessment into an alpha print model, (d) review of existing mhealth resources, (e) development of prototype, (f) assessment of caregiver acceptability (n = 5), (g) assessment of quality and perceived impact by cancer providers (n = 26), and (h) acceptability testing with caregivers (n = 6). Results: Key stakeholders were integrated throughout development and user testing of this iOS smartphone app. The smartphone app consists of talking tips and resources for caregiver communication with the patient, family, far away family, and health care providers, as well as general information sharing features. Conclusions: This study demonstrates feasibility and development of an evidence-based and theory-driven mhealth resource to support caregiver communication about cancer. This is the first theory-driven mhealth application created to support the communication burden experienced by cancer caregivers. A larger study is needed to establish the efficacy of the app as an intervention for caregivers. 

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Impact of a student-driven wellness program for individuals with disabilities on caregivers and family members

Aim: Few studies have addressed impact of participation in exercise programs on caregivers or family members of individuals with disabilities.; Purpose: To evaluate the impact of interaction rich wellness program on family members or caregivers of participants.; Methods: Nine family members or caregivers were selected for interviews. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using a thematic approach.; Results: Five themes were constructed from analysis of the interview data: benefit of class to self, positive feelings about participation, relationship dynamic, importance of classroom interaction, and burden of class. The first four themes occurred in caregivers despite individual burden determined by self-reported interview scores on the Zarit Burden interview.; Conclusion: This study demonstrated the impact of an interaction rich exercise program on wellness of participants with disabilities and respective caregivers or family members. Caregivers or family members do acknowledge benefits of the program to themselves. However, the program does not reduce caregiver burden. Implications for Rehabilitation Rehabilitation professionals should be cognizant of the potential for indirect benefit of rehabilitation or exercise programs on family members or caregivers of patients. Rehabilitation programs should consider the indirect benefit on the caregivers of patients when evaluating the burden of a program on caregivers. Rehabilitation professionals should focus on interpersonal interaction to aid in positive outcomes for both patients and caregivers.

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Comprehensive Support for Family Caregivers: Impact on Veteran Health Care Utilization and Costs

This study aimed to examine the early impact of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) on Veteran health care utilization and costs. A pre-post cohort design including a nonequivalent control group was used to understand how Veterans' use of Veteran Affairs health care and total health care costs changed in 6-month intervals up to 3 years after PCAFC enrollment. The control group was an inverse probability of treatment weighted sample of Veterans whose caregivers applied for, but were not accepted into, PCAFC. Veterans in PCAFC had similar acute care utilization postenrollment when compared with those in the control group, but significantly greater primary, specialty, and mental health outpatient care use at least 30, and up to 36, months postenrollment. Estimated total health care costs for PCAFC Veterans were $1,500 to $3,400 higher per 6-month interval than for control group Veterans. PCAFC may have increased Veterans' access to care.

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Realist Review: Understanding Effectiveness of Intervention Programs for Dementia Caregivers

Purpose Caring for patients with dementia is a challenging issue entailing heavy responsibility. Many interventions for caregivers have been developed, but their effectiveness is not clear. This study aimed to examine how, why, and under what circumstances interventions for dementia caregivers affected their burden of caring. Methods Authors used a realist review approach to explore the evidence for how different interventions reduce the burden of dementia caregivers. We completed the literature review about the burden of dementia caregivers and extracted the theoretical concepts to explain context-mechanism-outcome configuration why an intervention may be effective in some situations and not others. Six databases were searched for experimental or quasi-experimental studies conducted from 2008 to 2017. Of 1,225 screened studies, 10 studies were eligible for inclusion. Results None of the studies included all the derived contexts while explaining in detail the mechanism of the intervention effectiveness. Among contexts, the variable of other family members requiring care was not included in all studies. Among the analyzed studies, no studies have applied repeated intervention. Most studies included only some variables of context and mechanism, and these variables did not directly explain the effectiveness of intervention. The effect of outcome variables was significant for each study, and the effects of research intervention and national services could not be separately described. Conclusion Authors conclude that Korean culture's emphasis on relationships with others increases the burden of care. In context, Confucian norms and traditional femininity of Korea were reflected in the core. It is necessary to check the homogeneity of participants and the design of intervention to verify the effectiveness of the outcome variable of psychological burden.

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Levels of Satisfaction, Workload Stress and Support Amongst Informal Caregivers of Patients Receiving or Not Receiving Long-Term Home Nursing Care in Poland: A Cross-Sectional Study

The role of informal caregivers was included in the Assumptions of the Long-Term Senior Policy in Poland for 2014-2020. The document acknowledged the necessity of diagnosing the needs of informal caregivers of elderly people and to implement systemic solutions that would enable the provision of assistance for them. In response, this study aimed to describe the situation of caregivers of patients receiving versus patients not receiving Long-Term Home Nursing Care (LTHNC; i.e., a formal program including regular visits by a nurse specializing in home care) in terms of caregiver socio-demographic characteristics, health self-assessment, work overload, satisfaction derived from being a caregiver, and the quality of perceived support. A cross-sectional study was conducted using the Carers of Older People in Europe (COPE) Index in 2015 in the north-eastern part of Poland involving 170 caregivers of patients supported with LTHNC and 86 caregivers of patients staying at home and not receiving LTHNC. We found that caregivers for patients receiving LTHNC were significantly less overloaded with care work than caregivers for patients without LTHNC support (p < 0.001). LTHNC support was also related to the level of satisfaction with providing care: Caregivers for patients receiving LTHNC were significantly more satisfied with performing their role and felt greater support than caregivers for patients without LTHNC (p < 0.001). Our study provides evidence for a positive relationship between LTHNC and the situation of informal caregivers of dependent elderly people at home. A formal program of visits by a nurse specializing in long-term home care may facilitate the provision by caregivers of better informal care to patients staying at home.

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CE: Original Research: New Acute Symptoms in Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment: What Should Family Caregivers Do?

The authors assessed the frequency with which family caregivers of older veterans with cognitive impairment sought guidance for new physical or behavioral symptoms and described the characteristics of such events, including the diagnoses and advice given. Background: When older adults with cognitive impairment develop new physical or behavioral symptoms, their family caregivers face a difficult decision: whether and when to seek professional medical care. Most family caregivers lack formal training in assessment and may have difficulty making such decisions. The Veterans Health Administration's home-based primary care (HBPC) program, which is widely available, offers community-dwelling frail veterans and their family caregivers guidance, with the goal of reducing hospitalization and institutionalization in long-term care facilities. Objective: This study sought to assess the frequency with which family caregivers of cognitively impaired older adults sought prehospital guidance from health care professionals when that resource was available to them, and to describe the characteristics of such events. Methods: This study used a retrospective chart review of patients who were enrolled in the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center HBPC program for at least one month between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014; had a diagnosis indicative of cognitive impairment (Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, or mild cognitive impairment); had a dedicated family caregiver; and were not enrolled in hospice care. Data were collected from data collection templates and nurses' narrative notes. Univariate descriptive analyses were conducted regarding the type of staff contacted by family caregivers, the presenting diagnoses, the guidance offered by staff, and the number of unplanned acute care encounters. Results: Among the 215 patients studied, there were 254 unplanned acute care encounters (including ED visits followed by discharge to home and ED visits resulting in hospital admission). Family caregivers sought guidance from a health care professional 22% of the time before such an encounter. The presenting clinical issues were most often new problems (43%) that included falls, feeding tube problems, fever, new pain, rash or other skin problems, and unexplained edema. Overall, 25% of all unplanned acute care encounters were for reasons considered potentially avoidable. About half of the patients who were subsequently hospitalized had symptoms of delirium, indicating that their illness had significantly advanced before presentation. Conclusions: It's important for health care professionals to ensure that family caregivers of cognitively impaired older adults can access professional guidance readily when facing decisions about a loved one's care, especially when there is an acute onset of new symptoms. Teaching caregivers how to recognize such symptoms early in order to prevent exacerbations of chronic illness and subsequent hospitalization should be a high priority. Our findings underscore the need to do so, so that caregivers can best use the resources that HBPC programs have (or ought to have) in place, in particular 24/7 guidance and decision assistance.

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Using a six-step co-design model to develop and test a peer-led web-based resource (PLWR) to support informal carers of cancer patients

Objective: To co-design and test the acceptability of a peer-led web-based resource (PLWR) for cancer carers to provide practical and emotional advice on common issues. Methods: A six-step co-design model informed PLWR development. Content was developed through three cancer carer workshops and monthly meetings with an expert advisory team (n = 12). User-testing was conducted via web-based survey and telephone interview. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were utilised. Google analytics explored site visits, commonly used components, and time spent using the PLWR. Results: The PLWR was developed to deliver cancer carer information tailored to each stage of the illness trajectory regardless of cancer type, in the form of videoed personal experiences. From November to May 2018, there were 2789 unique visits to the PLWR with 743 returners. The majority of time was spent on the full unclipped peer stories (414 views), and diagnosis-specific information (159 views), with less time spent on bereavement, cancer treatment, or self-care (120 views each). Fifty-five individuals completed the resource evaluation, with 10 participating in telephone interviews. Fifty-four carers rated the resource as excellent, useful, and easy to use. The web-based videos were regarded as convenient as and less burdensome than written information. The resource provided relevant information, potentially reducing isolation and uncertainty. Conclusion: The content and design of the PLWR appear acceptable to cancer carers. The co-design model is an effective way to develop appropriate information for service users and could be utilised as a framework for development of other interventions in a variety of disease groups.

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Foreign Domestic Workers and Eldercare in Singapore: Who Hires Them?

In Singapore, policy makers expect families to remain actively involved in the care of their frail older relatives, as manifestly expressed in its Many Helping Hands approach to long-term care. To enable families to fulfill this expectation, the government has enacted policies that encourage the hiring of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) to complement or supplement informal caregiving efforts. Using the Andersen Behavioral Model, we were interested in identifying caregiver and care receiver characteristics that might predict the hiring of FDWs. With data from a convenience sample of 488 informal caregivers, we ran logistic regression regressing the hiring of an FDW on various predisposing, enabling, and need factors. Of interest, enabling factors such as household income, housing type, and educational level were predictive of hiring an FDW in the home. Only one need factor, time spent in caregiving, was predictive of the increased likelihood to hire an FDW. Policies that encourage the marketization of care are likely to favor those with financial means and inadvertently ignore the caregiving burdens of lower income families. In addition, we suggest research and policies to ensure the well-being and protection of FDWs who have become a key component of the long-term care policy and practice in Singapore.

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Acceptability of psychosocial interventions for dementia caregivers: a systematic review

Background: Most of patients with dementia are cared for by family members. Caring for people with dementia is challenging; approximately 30-55% of caregivers suffered from anxiety or depressive symptoms. A range of studies have shown that psychosocial interventions are effective and can improve caregivers' quality of life, reduce their care burden, and ease their anxiety or depressive symptoms. However, information on the acceptability of these interventions, despite being crucial, is under-reported.; Methods: Systematic searches of databases were conducted for literature published on EMBASE, PubMed, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and PsycARTICLES until August 2017 and the searches were updated on June 2018. The selection criteria included primary studies with data about the acceptability of psychosocial interventions for informal caregivers and publications written in English. Two authors independently selected studies, extracted study characteristics and data, assessed the methodological quality of the included studies by using the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool and Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) Qualitative Research Checklist, and conducted a narrative synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data.; Results: A total of 10,610 abstracts were identified through systematic searches. Based on screening titles and abstracts, 207 papers were identified that met the criteria for full paper review, with 42 papers from 13 different countries meeting the inclusion criteria. We found high- and moderate-quality evidence showing psychosocial interventions were acceptable, with important benefits for caregivers. Facilitators of acceptability included caregivers' need for intervention, appropriate content and organization of the intervention, and knowledge and professionalism of the staff. Barriers to acceptability included participants' poor health status and low education levels, caregiving burden, change of intervention implementers, and poor system performance of interventions.; Conclusion: There is preliminary evidence to support the acceptability of psychosocial interventions for dementia caregivers. However, the available supporting evidence is limited, and there is currently no adequate information from these studies indicating that the acceptability has received enough attention from researchers. More well-designed studies assessing psychosocial interventions are needed to give specific statements about acceptability, and the measure of acceptability with psychosocial interventions should be more comprehensive.

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Resources for the Family Caregiver: A Review of the Family Caregiver Alliance and the AARP Caregiving Resource Center

The rate of family caregiving is steadily increasing as baby boomers retire and their loved ones step into the role as family caregiver. Whether caregiving is a sudden or anticipated role, caregivers are often unsure of where to turn for information or aide, and face many challenges including stress, depression, anxiety, and financial burdens. Credible, easy, and useful online resources are abundant, and the Family Caregiver Alliance and the AARP Caregiving Resources Center are no exception. Each provide excellent starting points for caregivers new to the role, or seasoned caregivers seeking additional information. Other sources compliment these pivotal sites, but each can stand alone as a primary source for family caregiving information.

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A randomised phase II trial to examine feasibility of standardised, early palliative (STEP) care for patients with advanced cancer and their families [ACTRN12617000534381]: a research protocol

Background: Current international consensus is that 'early' referral to palliative care services improves cancer patient and family carer outcomes; however, in practice, these referrals are not routine. Uncertainty about the 'best time' to refer has been highlighted as contributing to care variation. Previous work has identified clear disease-specific transition points in the cancer illness which heralded subsequent poor prognosis (less than 6 months) and which, we contest, represent times when palliative care should be routinely introduced as a standardised approach, if not already in place, to maximise patient and carer benefit. This protocol details a trial that will test the feasibility of a novel standardised outpatient model of early palliative care [Standardised Early Palliative Care (STEP Care)] for advanced cancer patients and their family carers, with referrals occurring at the defined disease-specific evidence-based transition points.The aims of this study are to (1) determine the feasibility of conducting a definitive phase 3 randomised trial, which evaluates effectiveness of STEP Care (compared to usual best practice cancer care) for patients with advanced breast or prostate cancer or high grade glioma; (2) examine preliminary efficacy of STEP Care on patient/family caregiver outcomes, including quality of life, mood, symptoms, illness understanding and overall survival; (3) document the impact of STEP Care on quality of end-of-life care; and (4) evaluate the timing of palliative care introduction according to patients, families and health care professionals.; Methods: Phase 2, multicenter, open-label, parallel-arm, randomised controlled trial (RCT) of STEP Care plus standard best practice cancer care versus standard best practice cancer care alone.; Discussion: The research will test the feasibility of standardised palliative care introduction based on illness transitions and provide guidance on subsequent development of phase 3 studies of integration. This will directly address the current uncertainty about palliative care timing.; Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12617000534381.

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An Examination of a Simplified Stroke Rehabilitation Program for Reducing Family Caregiver's Burden for Stroke Patients in Rural China

With stroke being one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, families and social systems may face strain as they adjust to a caregiving role. This strain may be amplified in family systems living in rural areas due to limited access to resources. Thus, it is important for helping professionals such as couple, marriage, and family therapists to understand what facets of this disability are linked with caregiver strain as well as to explore and understand various interventions that may ease caregiver burden. Using existing data from 177 pairs of stroke patients and their family caregivers in rural Mainland China, the present study utilized a moderation analysis to examine (1) the association between stroke patient physical functioning, patient mental health, and their family caregiver burden and (2) how a developed patient rehabilitation intervention program for caregivers moderated the association between patient physical functioning as well as mental health and caregiver burden 6-month post intervention. Results suggested that better patient physical functioning were related to lower levels of caregiver burden (b = − 1.418, p <.001, β = − 0.33). However, the developed rehabilitation intervention program did not significantly moderate the association between stroke patient physical functioning as well as mental health and caregiver burden. These findings provide insight into correlates of stroke patients' caregiver burden in rural China. Development of more effective rehabilitation programs and interventions for stroke patients and their family caregivers as well how couple, marriage, and family therapists may be uniquely qualified to contribute to such interventions is discussed.

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Organising Support for Carers of Stroke Survivors (OSCARSS): study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial, including health economic analysis

Background: Stroke often results in chronic disability, with partners and family members taking on the role of informal caregiver. There is considerable uncertainty regarding how best to identify and address carers' needs. The Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) is a carer-led approach to individualised assessment and support for caregiving that may be beneficial in palliative care contexts. CSNAT includes an implementation toolkit. Through collaboration, including with service users, we adapted CSNAT for stroke and for use in a UK stroke specialist organisation providing long-term support. The main aims of OSCARSS are to investigate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of CSNAT-Stroke relative to current practice. This paper focuses on the trial protocol, with the embedded process evaluation reported separately. Methods: Longitudinal, multi-site, pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial with a health economic analysis. Clusters are UK services randomised to CSNAT-Stroke intervention or usual care, stratified by size of service. Eligible carer participants are: adults aged > 18 years; able to communicate in English; referred to participating clusters; and seen face-to-face at least once by the provider, for support. The 'date seen' for initial support denotes the start of intervention (or control) and carers are referred to the research team after this for study recruitment. Primary outcome is caregiver strain (FACQ - Strain) at three months after 'date seen'. Secondary outcomes include: caregiver distress; positive caregiving appraisals (both FACQ subscales); Pound Carer Satisfaction with Services; mood (HADs); and health (EQ-5D5L) at three months. All outcomes are followed up at six months. Health economic analyses will use additional data on caregiver health service utilisation and informal care provision.Discussion: OSCARSS is open to recruitment at the time of article submission. Study findings will allow us to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the CSNAT-Stroke intervention, directed at improving outcomes for informal carers of stroke survivors. Trial findings will be interpreted in the context of our embedded process evaluation including qualitative interviews with those who received and provided services as well as data on treatment fidelity. OSCARSS will contribute to knowledge of the unmet needs of informal stroke caregivers and inform future stroke service development.Trial Registration: ISRCTN Registry, ISRCTN58414120 . Registered on 26 July 2016.

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Improving health-promoting self-care in family carers of people with dementia: a review of interventions

Background: Providing care for a family member with dementia can leave little time for carers to look after their own health needs, which makes them more susceptible to mental and physical health problems. This scoping review aimed to explore potential health benefits of interventions aimed at improving health-promoting self-care in family carers of people with dementia.; Methods: A scoping review was carried out using Arksey and O'Malley's methodological framework. EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Google Scholar were consulted. Original and peer-reviewed research published in English up to April 2017 were included. Publications were selected by two reviewers independently. Eight experts from several countries provided extra relevant information, which was triangulated with the review results. A narrative approach was used to describe and discuss the review findings.; Results: Seven interventions were identified. These were highly heterogeneous in content, method of delivery, and outcome measures. None was specifically focused on improving and evaluating health-promoting self-care, instead they often focused on health promotion and healthy lifestyle (eg, physical activity). Some of the multi-component interventions included "self-care" as a domain, but none used a specific measure of health-promoting self-care, so we were unable to affirm that the improvements found in the interventions were due to an improvement in this area. Interventions helped reduce carer depression and burden and increased quality of life, positive affect, and physical activity. The expert panel recommended to consider carers' preparedness and capacity to adhere to self-care practices, as well as carers' age and culture. Future interventions should be context specific, flexible, and person-centered.; Conclusion: Psychosocial interventions may improve health-promoting self-care behavior, but more research is needed to establish efficacy. Interventions should be flexible, use a person-centered approach, be implemented with fidelity and use the right dosage.

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The imperative of caring for the dependent elderly person

This text presents an overview of aging in Brazil and information that highlights the need to create instruments to deal with the exponential increase of the elderly population, particularly those who lose their physical, cognitive, mental/emotional, and social autonomy. Examples of public policies created by European countries, notably Spain, show how they act to protect the most vulnerable individuals and provide support to their families, especially to the informal caregivers. The whole process of protection for the long-lived is perceived as a form of social solidarity in which the State and sub-national entities, society, the families and the elderly people themselves participate.

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Invisible partners in care: Snapshot of well-being among caregivers receiving comprehensive support from Veterans Affairs

Background and aims: Since May 2011, over 23 000 caregivers of Veterans seriously injured on or after September 11, 2001 have enrolled in the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). PCAFC provides caregivers training, a stipend, and access to health care. The aim of this study is to describe the characteristics of caregivers in PCAFC and examine associations between caregiver characteristics and caregiver well-being outcomes.; Methods: We sent a web survey invitation to 10 000 PCAFC caregivers enrolled as of September 2015. Using linear and logistic regressions, we examine associations between PCAFC caregiver characteristics and caregiver outcomes: perceived financial strain, depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale [CESD-10]), perceived quality of Veteran's Veterans Health Administration (VHA) care, and self-reported caregiver health.; Results: We had complete survey data for 899 respondents. Since becoming a caregiver, approximately 50% of respondents reported reducing or stopping work. Mean time spent providing care was 3.8 years (median 3, IQR 1-5) with an average of 4.9 weekdays (median 5, IQR 5-5) and 1.9 weekend days (median 2, IQR 2-2). The mean CESD-10 score was 8.2 (median 7, 4-12), at the cutoff for screening positive for depressive symptoms. A longer duration of caregiving was associated with having 0.08 increase in rating of financial strain (95% CI, 0.02-0.14). Caregiver rating of the Veteran's health status as "fair" or better was a strong predictor of better caregiver outcomes, ie, self-reported caregiver health. However, higher levels of education were associated with worse caregiver outcomes, ie, lower global satisfaction with VHA care, higher CESD-10 score, and higher rating of financial strain.; Conclusions: Higher depressive symptoms among longer duration caregivers, coupled with high rates of reductions in hours worked, suggest interventions are needed to address the long-term emotional and financial needs of these caregivers of post-9/11 Veterans and identify subpopulations at risk for worse outcomes.

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Dyadic yoga program for patients undergoing thoracic radiotherapy and their family caregivers: Results of a pilot randomized controlled trial

Objective: Thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) may result in toxicities that are associated with performance declines and poor quality of life (QOL) for patients and their family caregivers. The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to establish feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a dyadic yoga (DY) intervention as a supportive care strategy. Methods: Patients with stage I to III non-small cell lung or esophageal cancer undergoing TRT and their caregivers (N = 26 dyads) were randomized to a 15-session DY or a waitlist control (WLC) group. Prior to TRT and randomization, both groups completed measures of QOL (SF-36) and depressive symptoms (CES-D). Patients also completed the 6-minute walk test (6MWT). Dyads were reassessed on the last day of TRT and 3 months later. Results: A priori feasibility criteria were met regarding consent (68%), adherence (80%), and retention (81%) rates. Controlling for relevant covariates, multilevel modeling analyses revealed significant clinical improvements for patients in the DY group compared with the WLC group for the 6MWT (means: DY = 473 m vs WLC = 397 m, d = 1.19) and SF-36 physical function (means: DY = 38.77 vs WLC = 30.88; d = .66) and social function (means: DY = 45.24 vs WLC = 39.09; d = .44) across the follow-up period. Caregivers in the DY group reported marginally clinically significant improvements in SF-36 vitality (means: DY = 53.05 vs WLC = 48.84; d = .39) and role performance (means: DY = 52.78 vs WLC = 48.59; d = .51) relative to those in the WLC group. Conclusions: This novel supportive care program appears to be feasible and beneficial for patients undergoing TRT and their caregivers. A larger efficacy trial with a more stringent control group is warranted. 

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Acceptance and treatment effects of an internet‐delivered cognitive‐behavioral intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia: A randomized‐controlled trial

Objectives: The study evaluated the efficacy of an internet‐delivered cognitive‐behavioral intervention for caregivers of people with dementia and examined acceptance of program characteristics. Method: Thirty‐nine caregivers (Mage = 62.11 ± 9.67, 78.4% female) were enrolled in a 2 × 3 randomized‐controlled trial (RCT) that compared an intervention and wait‐list control group. A cognitive‐behavioral intervention program was adapted for delivery via an internet platform. Participants exchanged eight weekly messages with a therapist. Results: Treatment satisfaction and acceptance of the program were high. Well‐being increased over the intervention duration and intervention group participants were better able to cope with the anticipated death of the care recipient and utilized more psychosocial resources after the intervention ended. Effects were not maintained until follow‐up and there were no treatment effects for depression and burden of care. Conclusions: Internet‐delivered cognitive‐behavioral interventions are suitable for caregivers. A larger RCT needs to investigate possible combinations of classic and internet‐delivered programs and confirm efficacy.

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Effects of Online Yoga and Tai Chi on Physical Health Outcome Measures of Adult Informal Caregivers

Aims: This study aimed to investigate the effects of online Vinyasa Yoga (VY) and Taijifit™ (12 weeks) in informal caregivers (≥18 years of age).; Methods: Twenty-nine participants were randomized to two groups: VY (n = 16, 55.87 ± 12.31 years) or Taijifit™ (n = 13, 55.07 ± 12.65 years).; Main Outcome Measures: Prior to and following the study, assessments were made for muscle strength (1-RM leg press, chest press, and handgrip), muscle endurance (leg press and chest press; maximal number of repetitions performed to fatigue at 80% and 70% baseline 1-RM, respectively), abdominal endurance (maximum number of consecutive curl-ups to fatigue), tasks of functionality (dynamic balance and walking speed), and flexibility (sit and reach).; Results: There was a significant increase over time for muscle strength, muscle endurance, tasks of functionality, and flexibility (P = 0.001). The VY group experienced a greater improvement in chest press endurance (VY: pre 19.25 ± 5.90, post 28.06 ± 7.60 reps; Taijifit™ pre 15.69 ± 4.49, post 21.07 ± 5.85 reps; P = 0.019) and abdominal endurance (VY: pre 37.12 ± 31.26, post 68.43 ± 55.07 reps; Taijifit™ pre 19.23 ± 19.00, post 32.07 ± 20.87 reps; P = 0.034) compared to the Taijifit™ group.; Conclusions: VY and Taijifit™ are effective for improving muscle strength and endurance, tasks of functionality, and flexibility in informal caregivers. VY led to greater gains in chest press endurance and abdominal curl-ups.

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Interventions to address burden among family caregivers of persons aging with TBI: A scoping review

Purpose: To capture the scope of literature exploring interventions for caregivers of aging persons with TBI. Methods: A scoping review of peer reviewed literature was conducted in two phases. Phase I: Searching seven databases, two independent raters screened articles using a set of predetermined criteria. Included articles were reviewed, and categorized according to common themes. Phase II: Five stakeholders were engaged in a consultation. A content analysis was performed by extracting statements from each interview using an inductive strategy, and organizing each into themes. Findings: A total of 11 articles were included in the final analysis. Inter-rater reliability was assessed at both the title and abstract search [98.8% agreement; k = 0.3425 (95% CI,.246 to.439), p < .05]; and the full-text review [83% agreement; k = 0.542 (95% CI, 0.340 to 0.745), p < .05] phases. Seven articles identified potential interventions, and four identified and evaluated an intervention. Interventions targeted subjective burden (n = 4) and objective burden (n = 4), with caregiver knowledge and skill development (n = 3) classified as a sub-category of objective burden. Stakeholders overwhelmingly emphasized the need for interventions to reduce objective burden. Implications: Included articles were primarily composed of levels six and seven evidence, suggesting that this literature is in an early stage of development. Future research should emphasize the development and evaluation of interventions to reduce objective burden.

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Transitioning into the caregiver role following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia: A scoping review

Objectives: To identify experiences, needs, interventions and outcomes for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia as they transition into this new role following diagnosis.; Design: Scoping review of published literature.; Data Sources: A search for published articles was conducted in PsycINFO, Scopus, Ovid and Web of Science databases.; Review Methods: The Arksey and O'Malley methodological framework guided the review. Studies were screened independently for inclusion by two persons. A total of 955 studies, after duplicates removed, were found by the database search. From these, 127 full-text articles were retained through the screening of titles and abstracts by two reviewers. The two reviewers assessed 46 full-text articles for eligibility. The final 29 studies identified caregiver experiences, needs, and interventions during the period following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia in the scoping review.; Results: Twenty-nine studies were organized around three major categories: i) family caregiver experiences on receiving the diagnosis (n = 23), ii) needs during this time of transition (n = 18), and iii) interventions and outcomes to support their transition into the caregiver role (n = 5). While studies may have addressed more than one topic, 16 studies intersected categories of both caregiver experience and needs, and one study intersected categories of needs and interventions. There were several studies that focused more specifically on the caregiver's initial reactions to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia (n = 9), the emotional responses to the diagnosis (n = 14), changes in personal relationships and responsibilities with a new role (n = 16). Caregiver needs following the diagnosis included knowledge and information (n = 14), emotional and psychological support (n = 11), and assistance with care planning (n = 7). Five papers examined interventions specifically tailored to caregiver needs at this juncture, which support the transition into the caregiver role.; Conclusions: The time of receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia is a critical period in the process of transitioning into caregiver role. This period marks a new phase in the process of caring by family caregivers. Thus, it is important to fully understand the experiences and needs of caregivers and effective interventions in order to better support their transition into this new role.

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Challenges to and Strategies for Formal Service Utilization among Caregivers in an Underserved Community

Family caregivers face enormous challenges when attempting to oversee the medical, legal, financial, and daily affairs of loved ones with chronic or life-limiting illness. While formal services and agencies exist to assist caregivers with some of these tasks, caregivers in underserved communities do not utilize these services, or utilize them with unsatisfactory results. This study used focus groups (N = 5 groups) with underserved, minority caregivers (N = 22) to explore their experiences related to care provision, including barriers to support service use and challenges navigating systems related to the broad spectrum of caregiving demands. Thematic content analysis revealed three main themes: (1) prior difficulties with formal service use, (2) difficulties navigating financial, legal, and medical systems, and (3) caregivers' personal strategies to address challenges associated with formal service use and systems navigation. Findings from this study identify underserved caregivers' challenges in utilizing formal services, as well as caregiver-identified strategies for supporting their caregiving activities.

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Supporting you to take a break

Finding time to have a break from your caring role is vital – welcome to our video series

  • Facing guilt and anxiety: It’s all too easy to lose yourself in your caring role, but you owe it to yourself to look after yourself too
  • Where do I start? Carers share their experiences and tips, explaining why it’s vital to get advice and support
  • Sources of support: Help is available in many forms. Whether you need peer support or professional guidance, you’re not alone
  • Importance of a break - Wales spotlight: Carers in Wales share their views on how taking a break is possible and important
  • Carer stories: It often helps to hear from people in the same situation. Here, carers share their personal experiences and tips
  • Need nore information? This is where we provide all the detail about the variety and range of breaks available to support carers
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Recognising and managing the psychosocial needs of family carers: It's time for change

This editorial discusses the availability of resources to support carers and recommends a better focus on family-centred care.

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Caring for the elderly at work and home: Can a randomized organizational intervention improve psychological health?

Although job stress models suggest that changing the work social environment to increase job resources improves psychological health, many intervention studies have weak designs and overlook influences of family caregiving demands. We tested the effects of an organizational intervention designed to increase supervisor social support for work and nonwork roles, and job control in a results-oriented work environment on the stress and psychological distress of health care employees who care for the elderly, while simultaneously considering their own family caregiving responsibilities. Using a group-randomized organizational field trial with an intent-to-treat design, 420 caregivers in 15 intervention extended-care nursing facilities were compared with 511 caregivers in 15 control facilities at 4 measurement times: preintervention and 6, 12, and 18 months. There were no main intervention effects showing improvements in stress and psychological distress when comparing intervention with control sites. Moderation analyses indicate that the intervention was more effective in reducing stress and psychological distress for caregivers who were also caring for other family members off the job (those with elders and those "sandwiched" with both child and elder caregiving responsibilities) compared with employees without caregiving demands. These findings extend previous studies by showing that the effect of organizational interventions designed to increase job resources to improve psychological health varies according to differences in nonwork caregiving demands. This research suggests that caregivers, especially those with "double-duty" elder caregiving at home and work and "triple-duty" responsibilities, including child care, may benefit from interventions designed to increase work-nonwork social support and job control.

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A Tablet App- and Sensor-Based Assistive Technology Intervention for Informal Caregivers to Manage the Challenging Behavior of People With Dementia (the insideDEM Study): Protocol for a Feasibility Study

Background: Despite the enormous number of assistive technologies (ATs) in dementia care, the management of challenging behavior (CB) of persons with dementia (PwD) by informal caregivers in home care is widely disregarded. The first-line strategy to manage CB is to support the understanding of the underlying causes of CB to formulate individualized nonpharmacological interventions. App- and sensor-based approaches combining multimodal sensors (actimetry and other modalities) and caregiver information are innovative ways to support the understanding of CB for family caregivers.; Objective: The main aim of this study is to describe the design of a feasibility study consisting of an outcome and a process evaluation of a newly developed app- and sensor-based intervention to manage CB of PwD for family caregivers at home.; Methods: In this feasibility study, we perform an outcome and a process evaluation with a pre-post descriptive design over an 8-week intervention period. The Medical Research Council framework guides the design of this feasibility study. The data on 20 dyads (primary caregiver and PwD) are gathered through standardized questionnaires, protocols, and log files as well as semistructured qualitative interviews. The outcome measures (neuropsychiatric inventory and Cohen-Mansfield agitation inventory) are analyzed by using descriptive statistics and statistical tests relevant to the individual assessments (eg, chi-square test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test). For the analysis of the process data, the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology is used. Log files are analyzed by using descriptive statistics, protocols are analyzed by using documentary analysis, and semistructured interviews are analyzed deductively using content analysis.; Results: The newly developed app- and sensor-based AT has been developed and was evaluated until July in 2018. The recruitment of dyads started in September 2017 and was concluded in March 2018. The data collection was completed at the end of July 2018.; Conclusions: This study presents the protocol of the first feasibility study to encompass an outcome and process evaluation to assess a complex app- and sensor-based AT combining multimodal actimetry sensors for informal caregivers to manage CB. The feasibility study will provide in-depth information about the study procedure and on how to optimize the design of the intervention and its delivery.; International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11630.

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Caring for the person with cancer and the role of digital technology in supporting carers

Purpose: Informal carers may experience a range of unmet needs during the caring period and, at times, lack support to adequately manage care of the person with cancer and balance personal family and work commitments. The aim of this study was to understand the needs of informal carers of people with cancer and how digital technology may be used to address carers' needs.; Methods: Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 45 carers. Carers discussed supports and services they used to address their needs, barriers to accessing support, and how digital technology could assist in meeting their needs.; Results: Carers used informal support such as friends and family and formal support including respite and community groups during the caring period. Barriers to accessing support included reluctance to seek external help, sensitivities associated with prioritising carers' needs over patients' needs, and the adequacy of information received. Technology was reported to have the potential to allow carers' privacy to seek support; however, carers' attitudes towards technology differed.; Conclusions: Carers require support during the caring period to help balance their own needs with the needs of the person receiving cancer treatment. Digital technology may provide an opportunity to deliver support to carers; however, further research is needed to assess the appropriateness of these interventions to inform improved health outcomes for this vulnerable group.

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A Randomized Controlled Trial of Group Psychoeducation for Carers of Persons With Borderline Personality Disorder

Carers of persons with borderline personality disorder (BPD) experience high burden. Treatment guidelines advocate involving carers in comprehensive therapy approaches. This study is a randomized controlled trial of group psychoeducation, compared to waitlist. Group psychoeducation involved 6–8 carers per group and focused on improving relationship patterns between carers and relatives with BPD, psychoeducation about the disorder, peer support and self-care, and skills to reduce burden. Carers were randomized into intervention (N = 33) or waitlist (N = 35). After 10 weeks, those in the intervention reported improvements in dyadic adjustment with their relative, greater family empowerment, and reduced expressed emotion, sustained after 12 months. There were also improvements in carers' perceptions of being able to play a more active role, such as interacting with service providers. This study demonstrates that providing structured group programs for carers can be an effective way of extending interventions to a group experiencing high burden. 

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Hospice Bereavement Service Delivery to Family Members and Friends With Bereavement-Related Mental Health Symptoms

Objectives: A sizable minority of those who lose a loved one in hospice will experience symptoms of bereavement-related mental health disorders. Though hospices offer services to bereaved informal caregivers (family members or friends) of patients, little is known about services offered or interest in them. Therefore, we sought to assess services offered by hospice staff and interest expressed by bereaved informal caregivers with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or complicated grief (CG).; Methods: De-identified electronic bereavement care charts of 3561 informal caregivers who lost someone in a large urban metropolitan hospice from October 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, were reviewed.; Results: Of bereaved informal caregivers in the sample, 9.4% (n = 333) were positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety, or CG. The symptom-positive family members/friends were more likely than other family members/friends to be offered mailings, one-to-one counseling, telephone calls, and reference material. However, interest in most services by symptom-positive caregivers was low, with only 6% interested in one-to-one counseling and 7% interested in outside referral.; Discussion: The findings suggest that hospices offer a range of services to family members or friends with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and CG, but that there can be a gap between what is offered and in the interest levels of the bereaved. Engagement with symptomatic family members and friends could be enhanced in future work.

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Problem-solving therapy reduces subjective burden levels in caregivers of family members with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage dementia: Secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial

Objectives: Interventions addressing burden have limited impact among long-term family caregivers. We examined whether problem-solving therapy (PST) would reduce burden levels of caregivers of individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early-stage dementia (AD).; Methods: Caregivers (N = 73) randomly received PST or nutritional training (NT). Burden measures were assessed over 1-year post-intervention.; Results: Relative to NT, caregivers receiving PST endorsed improved perceived burden levels over time, regardless of the type of caregiver. Distress over the care recipient's dementia-related behaviors remained low over time among MCI caregivers receiving PST, while these burden levels among MCI caregivers receiving NT rose over time. AD caregivers receiving PST endorsed reductions in these burden levels over time, while AD caregivers in the NT group endorsed higher burden levels over time.; Conclusion: PST, taught early in the caregiving trajectory, improves subjective burden levels among caregivers of family members with relatively mild cognitive deficits.

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Telephone interventions, delivered by healthcare professionals, for providing education and psychosocial support for informal caregivers of adults with diagnosed illnesses

Plain language summary

Background Caregivers providing care to a family member, friend, or neighbour experience the role in differing ways. Some caregivers may find themselves in a caring role for which they are ill prepared and professional support is essential. This review examined whether telephone support interventions delivered by healthcare professionals had positive benefits on a range of outcomes including quality of life, burden (the experience of strain or load), skill acquisition (e.g. problem‐solving), psychological health (e.g. depression), knowledge, physical health, family functioning, satisfaction, or cost, for unpaid caregivers in the community. A telephone support intervention is one that is delivered via the telephone and designed to provide knowledge, advice, or help to caregivers to enable them to manage their own well‐being or that of the person they care for. It is an easily accessible method of providing support irrespective of geographical location. Studies that compared telephone support to usual care or to non‐telephone‐based professional support interventions were included.

Study characteristics We included 21 studies involving 1,690 caregivers caring for persons with a range of diagnosed conditions. Caregiver ages ranged from 19 years to 87 years. Most were female and caring for a family member. The majority were spouses, in particular wives, except for one study that mainly focused on adult children. Most caregivers had greater than secondary school education. Eighteen studies reported funding from reputable sources.

Key results Nineteen studies (18 studies contributing data) compared telephone support interventions and usual care. Telephone support interventions probably have little or no effect on caregiver quality of life (4 studies, 364 caregivers) and may have little effect on burden (9 studies, 788 caregivers) compared to usual care on completion of the intervention. Although anxiety may be slightly reduced and preparedness to care slightly improved following the intervention, we are uncertain about the effects on depression and overall, telephone interventions may have little or no effect on the outcomes assessed by this review. High satisfaction with the intervention was reported in six studies that measured this outcome, but no comparative data from usual care groups was reported. Two studies compared telephone and non‐telephone‐based support interventions. There may be little or no evidence of an effect of telephone support when compared non‐telephone‐based support interventions for any reported outcome. No adverse events were measured or reported in any of the included studies.

Quality of evidence The quality of the evidence was assessed as very low to moderate across outcomes, thus reducing confidence in the findings. Many of the results were based on data from single studies with few participants. Larger well‐designed studies are required to determine the effects of telephone support interventions.

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Caregiver Burden and Work Productivity Among Japanese Working Family Caregivers of People with Dementia

Background: We examined the association between caregiver burden and work productivity (i.e., absenteeism, presenteeism, and overall work impairment) among working family caregivers of people with dementia and whether job characteristics (i.e., job demands, job control, supervisor and coworker support) moderate this association.; Methods: A cross-sectional correlational study design using a web-based questionnaire survey was conducted among 379 Japanese working family caregivers of people with dementia (105 female, age range 20-77) in May 2016, which measured caregiver burden, work productivity, care situation, job characteristics, and demographics. Caregiver burden was designated as an independent variable and each aspect of work productivity as a dependent variable in a hierarchical multiple regression analysis, adjusting for demographics. Interaction terms between caregiver burden and each job characteristic were also included in the model.; Results: Caregiver burden was significantly and positively associated with presenteeism (β = 0.219, p < 0.001) and overall work impairment (β = 0.181, p < 0.001), while the association of caregiver burden with absenteeism was not significant (β = - 0.003, p = 0.953). Interaction effects of caregiver burden × coworker support on presenteeism (β = - 0.189, p = 0.023) and overall work impairment (β = - 0.172, p = 0.034) were significant. According to simple slope analyses, caregiver burden was greater at lower levels of coworker support compared to higher levels of coworker support for both presenteeism and overall work impairment.; Conclusions: Our study suggests that higher caregiver burden is associated with a decrease in work productivity. Additionally, coworker support appears to buffer the association of caregiver burden with presenteeism and overall work impairment among working family caregivers of people with dementia.

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Paid Family Leave: An Emerging Benefit for Employed Family Caregivers of Older Adults

As our population ages, the ability to take time off to care for an ill family member or close friend without losing income or a job is a growing social, health, and economic issue for American families. Therefore, the need for paid family leave policies for workers with caregiving responsibilities is an important topic for employers and policymakers, in the clinical care of older adults, and at kitchen tables across the United States. Despite this growing need, paid family leave is not available to most workers, and there is no national paid family leave policy. Health care and social service providers have a role in ensuring that family members of their patients with a serious health condition or disability are aware of the potential availability of paid family leave benefits in the states and businesses that provide them. Building a better system of care for older adults means changes not only in health care settings and in long-term services and supports, but in workplaces too. This article describes the challenges faced by workers with family caregiving responsibilities, explains why paid family leave matters, indicates which states have adopted these protections, and reviews research on existing paid family leave policies. Finally, actions by clinicians and other stakeholders are offered to advance awareness about paid family leave benefits, including coverage for workers with care responsibilities for older people.

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Outcomes of a Problem-Solving Medication Management Intervention for Informal Caregivers

Older adults with memory loss often require assistance from caregivers to manage their medications. This study examined the efficacy of a problem-solving-based intervention focused on caregiver medication management, problem solving, self-efficacy, and daily hassles. Caregiver health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and patient health care utilization were secondary outcomes. Totally, 83 patients (age 79.9±8.8 years) and their informal caregivers (age 66.9±12 years, female 69.9%, White 85.5%) were randomized; data collection occurred at baseline, 8, 16, and 24 weeks. Linear mixed modeling showed significant decreases in medication deficiencies which were sustained over time. No significant changes in caregiver problem solving, daily hassles, or patient health care utilization occurred between groups or over time. In addition, caregiver self-efficacy and mental HRQoL decreased in both groups. Physical HRQoL decreased in the intervention group, yet increased in the usual care group. Future research should investigate these outcomes in larger and more diverse samples.

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Effect of family intervention on family caregivers' burden, depression, anxiety and stress among relatives of depressed patients

Background: Depression is a major psychiatric disorder worldwide. It is a leading cause of individual disability and family burden worldwide. The aim of the study: the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of family intervention on caregivers' burden, depression, anxiety and stress among relatives of depressed patients. Subjects and method: A quasi-experimental design was conducted at the inpatient and outpatient Psychiatric Department Mansoura University Hospital, Egypt. Ninety five families participated in this study (n = 95). Pre-tests and post-tests (n = 95), and test 3 months after intervention were conducted on eighty six (n = 86). The caregivers were divided into ten groups, which ranged from 8 to 10 caregivers in each group; each group attended 12 sessions. A structured interview questionnaire for personal data for patients and their caregiver, Caregiver Burden scale, quality of life scale (QOL) and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 items (DASS-21) were used to collect data. Results: The findings of the study indicate that caregivers' burden, depression, anxiety and Stress level significantly reduced, and quality of life significantly improved after implementation of family intervention. There is a negative correlation between QOL and Caregivers' burden, and their feeling of depression, anxiety and stress, while there was a positive correlation between caregivers' burden and their feeling of depression, anxiety and stress. Conclusions: Based on the current results, it can be concluded that caregivers' burden, |depression, anxiety and stress are highly prevalent among caregivers of patients with depression and significantly improved after implementation of family intervention one month after, moreover it slightly decreased three months after intervention. This conclusion leads to accept the hypothesis of the study that family interventions improve the caregivers' burden, QOL, and feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Further research is needed to follow the intervention 6 and 12 months after family intervention.

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Effectiveness of an Educational Nursing Intervention on Caring Ability and Burden in Family Caregivers of Patients with Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases. A Preventive Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

Objective. To evaluate the effect of the "Caring for Caregivers" program in the caring ability and burden in family caregivers of patients with chronic diseases at health care institutions. Methods. A randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted in 34 relatives of patients with chronic diseases that had cared for them for more than 3 months. Zarit scale was used to measure caregiver burden and the CAI (Caring Ability Inventory) was also used to measure caring ability. An educational intervention was applied based on the "Caring for Caregivers" strategy of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Results. Although both groups improved their percentage of unburdened caregivers from the first to the second assessment, the difference between the two assessments was 41.2% in the intervention group whereas it was 11.8% in the control group, being only statistically significant the difference for the intervention group. Regarding the caring ability, no significant changes were identified in both groups. Conclusion. On family caregivers, it was observed that the "Caring for Caregivers" intervention had a positive impact on decreasing burden, but not on improving the caring ability.

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A Problem-Solving Intervention for Hospice Family Caregivers: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Objectives: Family caregivers of hospice patients have multiple needs as they try to cope during a stressful time. Translatable interventions effective in improving caregiver outcomes are greatly needed. Our objective was to assess the impact of a problem-solving intervention (called Problem-Solving Intervention to Support Caregivers in End-of-Life Care Settings [PISCES]) to support hospice caregivers on caregiver quality of life and anxiety, and compare its effectiveness delivered face to face and via videoconferencing.; Design: In this 4-year randomized clinical trial, caregivers were randomly assigned to a group receiving standard care with added "friendly calls" (attention control [AC] group), a group receiving standard care and PISCES delivered face to face (F2F), or a group receiving standard care and PISCES delivered via videoconferencing (VC).; Setting: Home hospice.; Participants: A total of 514 caregivers participated (172 in AC, 171 in F2F, and 171 in VC). Caregivers were predominantly female (75%); mean age was 60.3 years.; Intervention: PISCES includes a structured curriculum delivered in three sessions and motivates caregivers to adopt a positive attitude, define problems by obtaining facts, set goals, and generate and evaluate solutions.; Measurements: Quality of life was measured by the Caregiver Quality of Life Index-Revised; anxiety was measured by the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item. Other measures included the Caregiver Reaction Assessment scale, demographic data, and an exit interview.; Results: Compared with AC, caregivers in the F2F condition had postintervention reduced anxiety (-1.31 [95% confidence interval [CI] = -2.11 to .50]; p = .004) and improved social (.57 [95% CI = .19-.95]; p = .01), financial (.57 [95% CI = .21-.93]; p = .004), and physical quality of life (.53 [95% CI = .19-.87]; p = .01). There were no differences in caregivers in the VC condition compared with the AC condition.; Conclusion: The PISCES intervention improves caregiver outcomes and is effective when delivered in person. How to integrate technology to reduce the intervention delivery cost warrants further investigation.

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Evaluation of Technology-Based Interventions for Informal Caregivers of Patients With Dementia-A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the efficacy of technology-based interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia (PWD). Methods: PubMed, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library databases were searched in August 2018, with no restrictions in language or publication date. Two independent reviewers identified 33 eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducting a technology-based intervention for informal carers of PWD. Meta-analyses for the outcome measures caregiver depression and caregiver burden were conducted with subgroup analyses according to mode of delivery (telephone, computer/web-based, combined interventions). To assess methodologic quality, the Cochrane risk-of-bias assessment was rated. Results: Meta-analyses revealed a small but significant postintervention effect of technology-based interventions for caregiver depression and caregiver burden. Combined interventions showed the strongest effects. Conclusion: Technology-based interventions have the potential to support informal caregivers of PWD. Because of advantages such as high flexibility and availability, technology-based interventions provide a promising alternative compared with "traditional services," e.g., those for people living in rural areas. More high-quality RCTs for specific caregiver groups are needed.

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The Effectiveness of Psychoeducational Support Groups for Women With Breast Cancer and Their Caregivers: A Mixed Methods Study

Background: Previous studies on the effectiveness of psychological interventions in oncology mainly used quantitative measures and no study was conducted with regard to both caregivers and patients. Aim: This study evaluates the effectiveness of psychoeducational support groups, both for women with breast cancer, and for their informal caregivers through the use of quantitative and qualitative measures. Methods: A longitudinal design was used comparing two psychoeducational support groups with other two groups in a standard care control condition. Participants were 28 women with a diagnosis of breast cancer in the care of a hospital in Northern Italy, and 21 family caregivers. The quantitative data were collected by Cognitive Behavioral Assessment for Outcome Evaluation (CBA-OE) and the qualitative data through the use of semi-structured interviews. Results: The statistical analysis showed a significant change attributable to the psychological intervention that proves the effectiveness of such an intervention in the patients' and caregivers' group. The qualitative analysis allowed us to interpret the behavioral and psychological profile emerging from CBA-OE, by considering the subjective experience of the treatment groups. The group experience offered affective, relational and informative support, and allowed participants to create a network and to feel understood and reassured. Conclusion: The results suggest the usefulness of psychoeducational support groups for women with breast cancer and for their caregivers. The value of this kind of intervention is not only at an individual level but also at a systems level, and family involvement ensures the best positive outcomes.

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Supporting family carers in home-based end-of-life care: using participatory action research to develop a training programme for support workers and volunteers

Background: Family carers are crucial in enabling dying people to stay at home, but are often not prepared for their caring role, receiving little support from formal health and social care services. It is increasingly likely that any help or support family carers receive will be provided by a third sector organisation on either a voluntary basis or by untrained carer support workers.; Objectives: To produce a training programme designed to equip carer support workers and volunteers with the basic skills and knowledge needed to support family carers.; Process Of Development: Participatory action research, a collaborative form of working in which those who are affected by an issue take a lead role in the research, was used. Bereaved carers acting as research partners, support workers and representatives of third sector organisations took an active part in designing, developing, piloting and refining the programme in a number of interlinked stages. During development, the programme was piloted on four occasions and evaluated by 36 trainees and 3 trainers.; Final Training Programme: The outcome of the project is an innovative, 1-day training programme, offering an introduction to supporting family carers who are looking after someone approaching the end of life. The use of participatory action research methods enabled the development of a programme that addresses support needs identified by bereaved carers and training needs identified by carer support workers.The finished programme includes all the materials necessary to run a training day for support workers and volunteers: facilitator's notes, trainee workbook, slides, promotional poster and pre-course reading for trainees. Knowledge of issues involved in end-of-life and palliative care is not required, although some experience in delivering training is advisable.; Conclusion: The programme evaluated well during development, but further research is required to examine the transfer of learning into the workplace.

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We Are Caregivers: Social Identity Is Associated with Lower Perceived Stress among Rural Informal Caregivers

Informal caregivers often experience high stress levels with little support, especially in rural settings. With a mixed-methods approach, this research explored experiences of rural informal caregivers, including how social identification as a caregiver, social interactions, and formal and informal coping support related to perceived stress. Major focus group themes (n = 8) included lacking available services, balancing challenges, unmet practical needs, and strong community identity. Survey data (n = 22) revealed that perceived coping support (e.g., having someone to turn to), social interactions, and caregiver identity (e.g., perceiving the role as important to one's self-concept) were associated with lower life upset stress, but only caregiver identity was associated with managing the personal distress and negative feelings associated with caregiving stress. Results suggest that, although available rural services may fall short, other options might alleviate caregiver stress, including facilitating access to coping support, encouraging social interactions, and enhancing caregiver social identity.

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Telephone-based aftercare groups for family carers of people with dementia: study protocol of the Talking Time - REHAB project

Background: More than one million people in Germany live with dementia. Most of these people are cared for at home in the family setting. Supporting and caring for people with dementia is time-consuming, and family carers often have high stress levels and are at an increased risk of becoming physically and mentally ill. Medical rehabilitation (rehab) helps to relieve family carers and provide them with strategies to cope with stress. The aim of this study is to improve the sustainability of a multimodal rehab program for family carers of people with dementia.; Research Question: can the effects of this rehab be maintained through telephone-based aftercare groups following the rehab program?; Methods: A prospective randomized controlled longitudinal trial is performed. The intervention group (IG) participates in telephone-based aftercare groups; the control group (CG) receives treatment as usual. For evaluation, a mixed-methods approach is used. The effects of the intervention are quantitatively evaluated by written questionnaires at four measuring points (pre- and post-rehab, as well as 6 and 12 months after the end of rehab).; Primary Outcome: participation (IMET).; Secondary Outcomes: Depressive Mood State CES-D, General Complaints SCL-90-R, Subjective Quality of Life WHOQUOL-BREF, Social Support F-SozU, performance in different areas of life, single scales, and support offers (single items). The intervention process is evaluated through qualitative interviews and focus groups with regard to the acceptance of and satisfaction with the aftercare offered; in addition, a health economic evaluation is performed using the EQ-5D questionnaire. Rehabilitants are included in the study (N = 103 each in the IG and CG) who, accompanied by their family members with dementia, participate in the rehab measure in Ratzeburg. The IG participates monthly in 6 telephone aftercare groups over a period of 6 months. Typical stress situations are discussed and worked on.; Discussion: Upon successful evaluation, the offer to participate in telephone-based aftercare groups can be firmly established in the participating rehab clinic. Through minor adjustments, the offer would also be suitable for carers of physically ill people and for non-nursing-specific rehabilitation indications.; Trial Registration: German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00013736 , May 14, 2018.

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Brief telephone counselling is effective for caregivers who do not experience any major life events - caregiver-related outcomes of the German day-care study

Background: To date, there has been a dearth of scientifically tested, established intervention concepts focussed on supporting informal caregivers and embedded in routine health care structures. The aim of this study was to assess effects of a brief telephone intervention for caregivers of persons with cognitive impairment (PCIs) on caregivers' depressiveness and subjective burden.; Methods: A two-arm cluster-randomised controlled intervention study was carried out at 32 German day-care centres. During the six-month intervention period, informal caregivers in the intervention group (n = 205) received counselling in three phone calls focussed on stress reduction, development of self-management strategies, and how to deal with challenging behaviours. Both the control group (n = 154) and the intervention group were free to take part in any support programmes offered by the German Health Care System (TAU). Caregivers' subjective burden and depressiveness were measured with the Burden Scale for Family Caregivers - short version (BSFC-s) and the WHO-5 Well-Being Index (WHO-5). Outcomes were assessed by means of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATIs) at baseline and at the end of the six-month intervention phase. Multiple regression analyses were used to show the influence of group allocation.; Results: After the intervention phase, group allocation was not found to significantly predict caregivers' subjective burden or depressiveness. The baseline scores (p < 0.001) were the only significant predictors of change in both outcomes. However, sensitivity analyses for caregivers who did not experience any events that they felt were major (in a negative or positive sense) during the six months (n = 271) showed that group allocation (p < 0.05) was a significant predictor of positive change in both outcomes (BSFC-s: Δ-1.3, [- 2.4, - 0.3], Cohen's d = 0.27; WHO-5: Δ1.5, [0.4, 2.7], Cohen's d = 0.26). Effect sizes were highest in the subgroup of caregivers of people with mild dementia (BSFC-s: Cohen's d = 0.43; WHO-5: Cohen's d = 0.42).; Conclusions: A "low-dose" psychoeducative telephone intervention designed to empower caregivers is effective, especially in an early stage, if the overlap between the effect of the intervention and the effect of events that are experienced as major events in the caregiver's life is considered.; Trial Registration: Identifier: ISRCTN16412551 (Registration date: 30 July 2014, registered retrospectively).

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A systematic review of cancer caregiver interventions: Appraising the potential for implementation of evidence into practice

Objective Informal caregivers provide substantial support for people living with cancer. Previous systematic reviews report on the efficacy of cancer caregiver interventions but not their potential to be implemented. The aim of this systematic review was to explore the potential for cancer caregiver interventions to be implemented into practice. Methods We searched three electronic databases to identify cancer caregiver interventions on 5 January 2018. We operationalised six implementation outcomes (acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, and costs) into a tool to guide data extraction. Results The search yielded 33 papers (27 papers from electronic databases and six papers from other sources) reporting on 26 studies that met review criteria. Fewer than half the studies (46%) contained evidence about the acceptability of interventions from caregivers' perspectives; only two studies (8%) included interventions developed with input from caregivers. Two studies (8%) addressed potential adoption of interventions, and no studies discussed intentions, agreement, or action to implement interventions into practice. All studies reported on intervention appropriateness by providing a rationale for the interventions. For feasibility, on average less than one‐third of caregivers who were eligible to be involved consented to participate. On fidelity, whether interventions were conducted as intended was reported in 62% of studies. Cost data were reported in terms of intervention delivery, requiring a median time commitment of staff of 180 minutes to be delivered. Conclusions Caregiver intervention studies lack components of study design and reporting that could bridge the gap between research and practice. There is enormous potential for improvements in cancer caregiver intervention study design to plan for future implementation.

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An economic evaluation of a telephone outcall intervention for informal carers of cancer patients in Australia: An assessment of costs and quality-adjusted-life-years

Objective: Carers of people with cancer provide uncompensated care that is often physically, emotionally, and financially demanding, which results in neglect of their own health. This study's objective was to conduct an economic evaluation following a randomised control trial (RCT) involving a proactive telephone outcall intervention aimed at improving health outcomes among carers of cancer patients. Methods: The trial was a single-blind, multicentre, RCT conducted across four Australian health services, comprising three outcalls from trained Cancer Council 131120 (Cancer Council telephone and information support services) nurses compared with three phone call reminders of the availability of 131120 services (control group). Outcalls consisted of telephone contacts to the caregivers initiated by the Cancer Council nurses. The primary trial outcome was reduced carer burden. Health care resource use was measured using a resource use questionnaire (RUQ), and costs were presented in 2013 $(AUS). Quality-adjusted-life-years (QALYs) were also used as health outcomes. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated, with bootstrapping used to quantify sampling variability. A $50 000 per QALY-gained willingness-to-pay threshold was used. Sensitivity analyses were conducted. Results: Results showed that the total mean QALYs-gained were higher (0.02 QALYs, P = 0.01) in the control group, and total mean costs were lower in the control group ($477, P < 0.001) over the trial duration. The intervention group was dominated by the control group. Results were robust to sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: Results suggest policy makers should not adopt this intervention into routine health care in its current form. Further research into the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of telephone-based interventions for carers is required. 

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Development of an mHealth application for family carers of people with dementia: A study protocol

Background: The progressive and complex nature of dementia demands carers have specific knowledge and training. However, often carers do not have adequate knowledge and skills, particularly for functional disability care. Aim: This study aims to develop and test the feasibility of an educational and supportive mHealth/smartphone application that addresses the needs of family carers of people with dementia related to functional disability of care recipients. Methods: This mixed method study consists of three phases. In phase one, an online survey and individual interviews with carers will be conducted to assess their needs related to management of functional disability and the development of an mHealth application. Additionally, experts will be consulted to identify their opinions on application development. In phase two, using information from phase one, an mHealth application will be designed and developed. In phase three, a feasibility study will be conducted with carers to identify usability, user adherence, acceptance and experiences with the application. Discussion: This study will generate new knowledge about the needs of carers related to the management of functional disability of people with dementia and the use of smartphones for health-seeking behaviours, and will develop an mHealth application for carers to address the needs related to functional disability care. Conclusion: A mixed method study was designed to develop a user-centred educational and supportive mHealth app for family carers to address needs related to the functional disability of people with dementia consisting of three phases: needs assessment, the designing of the app and a feasibility study.

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I-CoPE: A pilot study of structured supportive care delivery to people with newly diagnosed high-grade glioma and their carers

Background There is limited evidence to guide best approaches to supportive care delivery to patients with high-grade glioma. I-CoPE (Information, Coordination, Preparation and Emotional) is a structured supportive care approach for people with newly diagnosed high-grade glioma and their family carers. Delivered by a cancer care coordinator, I-CoPE consists of (1) staged information, (2) regular screening for needs, (3) communication and coordination, and (4) family carer engagement. This pilot study tested acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of I-CoPE, delivered over 3 transitions in the illness course, for people newly diagnosed with high-grade glioma and their carers. Methods I-CoPE was delivered at the identified transition times (at diagnosis, following the diagnostic hospitalization, following radiotherapy), with associated data collection (enrollment, 2 weeks, 12 weeks). Outcomes of interest included: Acceptability/feasibility (primary); quality of life; needs for support; disease-related information needs; and carer preparedness to care (secondary). Descriptive statistics were used to assess acceptability outcomes, while patient and carer outcomes were assessed using repeated measures ANOVA. Results Thirty-Two patients (53% male, mean age 60) and 31 carers (42% male) participated. I-CoPE was highly acceptable: 86% of eligible patients enrolled, and of these 88% completed the study. Following I-CoPE patients and carers reported fewer information needs (P <.001), while carers reported fewer unmet supportive care needs (P <.01) and increased preparedness to care (P =.04). Quality of life did not significantly change. Conclusion A model of supportive care delivered based upon illness transitions is feasible, acceptable, and suggests preliminary efficacy in some areas. Formal randomized studies are now required. 

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Chronic Grief Management: A Live-Streaming Video, Group-Based Intervention for Family Caregivers of Individuals With Dementia in Long-Term Care

Family caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) experience long-term mental health effects. Although caregivers who place relatives in long-term care (LTC) experience increased depression, anxiety, and chronic grief post-placement, interventions to improve caregivers' mental health have focused mainly on in-home care. Current researchers previously tested a group-based Chronic Grief Management Intervention (CGMI) with ADRD caregivers of individuals in LTC, with significant effects on caregiver mental health outcomes. In the current study, researchers adapted the CGMI for synchronous online video using Adobe® ConnectTM and iPads® (Chronic Grief Management—A Live-Streaming, Online Intervention [CGMI-V]). Specific aims were to test feasibility of digital delivery of the CGMI-V and explore caregivers' online group experience. Researchers assessed participants at baseline for sociodemographic information and at the end of the program with a four-item satisfaction survey and focus group. Digital delivery of the CGMI-V was feasible and caregiver satisfaction was high.

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Improving patient safety by easing caregiver burden

The physical and emotional toll of caring for someone who requires assistance moving, bathing, eating, grooming, and using the restroom increases if he or she is exhibiting signs of confusion or aggression. The literature is abundant with evidence that family caregivers are prone to anxiety and depression related to their duties. Additionally, burdened caregivers can put their patients at risk, as anxiety and depression can impact judgment. Caught in temporary situations that can seem endless, many caregivers experience mental health issues related to social isolation, financial concerns, and physical exhaustion. Here, Mathias explores the psychological impact of providing end-of-life care for a loved one and offers tools to assess and alleviate caregiver burden.

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Family Caregivers and the Decisions They Make

Kennedy talks about the importance of family caregivers. Among other things, making sure that family caregivers are prepared prior to discharge in understanding the family members diagnosis and what it means for ongoing care, how to provide care, and what changes signal the need for professional intervention.

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What do patients and family-caregivers value from hospice care? A systematic mixed studies review

Background: It is not known which attributes of care are valued the most by those who experience hospice services. Such knowledge is integral to service development as it facilitates opportunities for continuous improvement of hospice care provision. The objectives of this mixed-studies systematic review were to explore patients' and their family carer views and experiences, to determine what they valued about adult hospice care in the UK. Methods: ASSIA, PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO were searched from inception, up until March 2017 to identify qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods studies. Four additional searching techniques supplemented the main search and grey literature was included. A three-stage mixed-method systematic review was conducted with a sequential exploratory design. Thematic synthesis was used with qualitative data, followed by a narrative summary of the quantitative data. The qualitative and quantitative syntheses were then juxtaposed within a matrix to produce an overarching synthesis. Results: Thirty-four studies highlighted that what patients and carers valued was generally context specific and stemmed from an amalgamation of hospice service components, which both individually and collectively contributed to improvements in quality of life. When the syntheses of qualitative and quantitative studies were viewed in isolation, the value placed on services remained relatively consistent, with some discrepancies evident in service availability. These were commonly associated with geographical variations, as well as differences in service models and timeframes. Through an overarching synthesis of the qualitative and quantitative evidence, however, notable variations and a more nuanced account of what people valued and why were more prominent, specifically in relation to a lack of social support for carers, disparate access to essential services, the underrepresentation of patients with a non-cancer diagnosis, and the dissatisfaction with the range of services provided. Conclusion: Review findings strengthen the existing evidence base and illuminates the underpinning elements of hospice care most valued by patients and their families. With large disparities in the availability of services, however, the underrepresentation of patients with non-malignant diseases and the limited evidence base demonstrating the adequate addressment of the social needs of carers, there continues to be considerable gaps that warrants further research. 

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Good end-of-life care in nursing home according to the family carers’ perspective: A systematic review of qualitative findings

Background: Nursing homes are becoming a common site where delivering end-of-life care for older adults. They often represent the junction between the curative and the palliative phase. Aim: To identify the elements that nursing home residents’ family carers perceive as good end-of-life care and develop a conceptual model of good end-of-life care according to the family perspective. Design: Systematic review (PROSPERO no. 95581) with meta-aggregation method. Data Sources: Five electronic databases were searched from inception between April and May 2018. Published qualitative studies (and mixed-method designs) of end-of-life care experience of nursing home family carers whose relative was dead or at the end-of-life were included. No language or temporal limits were applied. Results: In all, 18 studies met inclusion criteria. A ‘life crisis’ often resulted in a changed need of care, and the transition towards palliative care was sustained by a ‘patient-centered environment’. Family carers described good end-of-life care as providing resident basic care and spiritual support; recognizing and treating symptoms; assuring continuity in care; respecting resident’s end-of-life wishes; offering environmental, emotional and psychosocial support; keeping family informed; promoting family understanding; and establishing a partnership with family carers by involving and guiding them in a shared decision-making. These elements improved the quality of end-of-life of both residents and their family, thus suggesting a common ground between good end-of-life care and palliative care. Conclusion: The findings provide a family-driven framework to guide a sensitive and compassionate transition towards palliative care in nursing home. 

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Influences on uptake of a community occupational therapy intervention for people with dementia and their family carers

Introduction: Health policy promotes living well with dementia. Occupational therapists deliver interventions to support people with dementia and family carers to live well. This study aimed at identifying influences on uptake of a community occupational therapy intervention by people with dementia and carers, as little evidence about this topic exists. Method: Seventeen semi-structured, paired interviews with people with dementia and carers were conducted as part of the ‘Valuing Active Life in Dementia’ research programme. A secondary, qualitative analysis of these interviews explored influences on uptake of the intervention. Findings: Four main themes were identified: ‘Grabbing at straws and keen to take part’; ‘We’re trying to put a routine in’; ‘We didn’t know what to expect’, and ‘Give it a go’. Factors identified as potentially influencing uptake included whether the intervention was perceived as potentially meeting needs for support and activity, and whether participants were struggling to adjust or cope. Conclusion: Despite limited expectations or apprehension, uptake of this intervention was demonstrated. Understanding why people with dementia and carers accept intervention offers can inform what occupational therapists provide and how it is offered. Further research is required to determine the occupational therapy interventions people with dementia and carers might find supportive at different stages of the disease trajectory.

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Community-led and/or focused initiatives to support family carers within a palliative care context: An integrative review

Background: Public health approaches to palliative care prioritise community-focused initiatives to support people with palliative care needs and their families. The nature and extent of these initiatives have not previously been reported. Aim: To identify community-led and/or focused initiatives that have been developed to support family carers of people with palliative care needs and for which evaluation information is reported in the empirical literature. Design: An integrative study design was undertaken using systematic methods. Data sources: CINAHL, Medline, PsycINFO, Embase, Cochrane, Sociological Abstracts, Proquest Social Science Database, and grey literature were searched using standardised search terms. Results: Two quantitative, two qualitative and two mixed method studies were identified (n = 6). All community initiatives identified were professionally led, although three had consumer input. Most aimed to improve carer psychosocial well-being and all were reported to have been beneficial. Conclusions: This integrative review identified only six community-focused and evaluated initiatives supporting family carers in the international palliative care research literature. Further evaluation is needed. However, appropriate evaluation methods and reporting require further discussion and debate between all stakeholders. Service users and communities themselves must be central to this process.

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Acceptability of a Dyadic Tai Chi intervention for older people living with dementia and their informal carers

Exercise is effective in preventing falls among older adults. However, few studies have included people living with dementia and their carers and explored their experiences. The aim of this study is to explore what affects the acceptability of exercise interventions to better meet the needs of people with dementia and their carers as a dyad. Observations, field notes containing participant's and instructor's feedback, and focus groups with 10 dyads involved in Tai Chi classes for 3 or 4 weeks in two sites in the South of England were thematically analyzed to understand their experiences. Findings suggest that dyads' determination to achieve the benefits of Tai Chi facilitated their adherence, whereas a member of the dyad's low sense of efficacy performing the movements during classes was a barrier. Simplifying class content and enhancing the clarity of instructions for home-based practice will be key to support the design of future exercise interventions. 

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Refining a model of collaborative care for people with a diagnosis of bipolar, schizophrenia or other psychoses in England: A qualitative formative evaluation 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1117 Public Health and Health Services

Background: Many people diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar or other psychoses in England receive the majority of their healthcare from primary care. Primary care practitioners may not be well equipped to meet their needs and there is often poor communication with secondary care. Collaborative care is a promising alternative model but has not been trialled specifically with this service user group in England. Collaborative care for other mental health conditions has not been widely implemented despite evidence of its effectiveness. We carried out a formative evaluation of the PARTNERS model of collaborative care, with the aim of establishing barriers and facilitators to delivery, identifying implementation support requirements and testing the initial programme theory. Methods: The PARTNERS intervention was delivered on a small scale in three sites. Qualitative data was collected from primary and secondary care practitioners, service users and family carers, using semi-structured interviews, session recordings and tape-assisted recall. Deductive and inductive thematic analysis was carried out; themes were compared to the programme theory and used to inform an implementation support strategy. Results: Key components of the intervention that were not consistently delivered as intended were: interaction with primary care teams, the use of coaching, and supervision. Barriers and facilitators identified were related to service commitment, care partner skills, supervisor understanding and service user motivation. An implementation support strategy was developed, with researcher facilitation of communication and supervision and additional training for practitioners. Some components of the intervention were not experienced as intended; this appeared to reflect difficulties with operationalising the intervention. Analysis of data relating to the intended outcomes of the intervention indicated that the mechanisms proposed in the programme theory had operated as expected. Conclusions: Additional implementation support is likely to be required for the PARTNERS model to be delivered; the effectiveness of such support may be affected by practitioner and service user readiness to change. There is also a need to test the programme theory more fully. These issues will be addressed in the process evaluation of our full trial. Trial registration: ISRCTN95702682, 26 October 2017. 

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Lifeworld in co-designing with informal carers

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to reflect on carers’ experiences of being involved in the development of a web-based support programme for carers of people with heart failure (CPwHF), and discuss the challenges related to their involvement in the development process. The focus was on the different phases in the project as well as the methodological challenges and opportunities that occurred in the user group sessions conducted. Design/methodology/approach: This research adopt an explorative design studying a co-design process to develop an information and communication technology based support programme for and with CPwHF. Habermas’ concepts of lifeworld and system are used as a theoretical framework to analyse the co-design process employed in the study. Findings: Reflecting on the co-design approach adopted, the findings highlight the methodological challenges that arise with carer involvement and the possible tensions that occur between researchers’ ambitions to include users in the design process, and the goal of developing a product or service, in the different phases of the design process. Originality/value: Findings highlight that there is a tension between the system and lifeworld in the co-design process which are not totally compatible. The paper highlights that there is a need to develop flexible and reflexive human-centred design methodologies, able to meet carers’ needs and ideas, and at the same time balance this with proposed research outcomes. 

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ABC model: A tiered, integrated pathway approach to peri- and post-diagnostic support for families living with dementia (Innovative Practice)

Services for people with dementia and their families in England are commissioned with a lack of integration and an inconsistent approach creating gaps in service provision. Therefore, families affected by dementia are not receiving the appropriate care in a timely manner and often access support at crisis point. This reactive and crisis driven approach to care is costly financially and can have a negative impact and quality of life of those affected. The ABC model offers an adaptable framework that can inform service provision and improve opportunities to create seamless peri- and post-diagnosis dementia services for families affected by dementia. 

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Formal Care of the Elderly and Health Outcomes Among Adult Daughters

Health-care expenditures and the demand for caregiving are increasing concerns for policy makers. Although informal care to a certain extent may substitute for costly formal care, providing informal care may come at a cost to caregivers in terms of their own health. However, evidence of causal effects of care responsibilities on health is limited, especially for long-term outcomes. In this paper, we estimate long-term effects of a formal care expansion for the elderly on the health of their middle-aged daughters. We exploit a reform in the federal funding of formal care for Norwegian municipalities that caused a greater expansion of home care provision in municipalities that initially had lower coverage rates. We find that expanding formal care reduced sickness absence in the short run, primarily due to reduced absences related to musculoskeletal and psychological disorders. In general, we find no effects on long-term health outcomes.

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Delivering problem‐solving therapy to family caregivers of people with cancer: A feasibility study in outpatient palliative care

Objective In response to the well‐documented need for evidence‐based cancer caregiver support, we examined the feasibility of problem‐solving therapy for family caregivers of cancer patients receiving outpatient palliative care and investigated the impact of problem‐solving therapy on family caregivers' anxiety, depression, and quality of life. Methods We conducted a feasibility study of a structured problem‐solving therapy intervention delivered to family caregivers of cancer patients receiving outpatient palliative care from an academic health center in the Midwestern United States. Participants (N = 83) were randomly assigned to receive usual care or usual care plus a problem‐solving therapy intervention, which was delivered over three sessions via web‐based videoconferencing or telephone. Descriptive statistics were used to determine feasibility relative to recruitment, retention, and fidelity to core intervention components. Outcome data were analyzed using ordinary least squares multiple regression. Results Problem‐solving therapy for family caregivers of patients with cancer was found to be highly feasible in the outpatient palliative care setting. Caregivers who received problem‐solving therapy reported less anxiety than those who received only usual care (P = 0.03). No statistically significant differences were observed for caregiver depression (P = 0.07) or quality of life (P = 0.06). Conclusions Problem‐solving therapy is a feasible and promising approach to reducing cancer family caregivers' anxiety in the outpatient palliative care setting. Further testing in multiple sites is recommended.

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Caregiving benefits: Expanding the conversation beyond paid leave

More companies offer paid leave to caregivers Research from Genworth, the National Business Group on Health and MetLife all confirm that caregivers in the workplace are facing challenges ranging from absenteeism, presenteeism and emotional distress to physical health issues and financial burdens. From caring for loved ones with serious health conditions and sick children to maternity and paternity leave and even mental health days, a paid leave program is the mark of many forward-thinking organizations. [...]Bristol Myers Squibb recently demonstrated the flexibility of paid time off by extending the definition of family for their parental leave policy.

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Collaborative story production with bereaved family carers of people who died in advanced age

Purpose Is collaborative story production (CSP) a useful method to collaborate with bereaved families to record their reflections on the end of life circumstances and care of people of advanced age? The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach Drawing from Te Pākeketanga, a bicultural study involving 58 bereaved Māori and non-Māori families on behalf of 52 older relatives, the authors describe the CSP method. Researchers and participants co-created personalised written stories about the older person and their end of life experiences, supported with photographs of family, friends and memorabilia. The authors aimed to uplift the status of the older person and their family by tangibly reflecting the significance and magnitude of what had been shared and to strengthen the research analysis.Findings CSP supported member checking, promoted a robust understanding of participants’ narratives and increased the trustworthiness of data and strengthened the Kaupapa Māori and social constructivist analysis. However, some participants experienced difficulty revisiting painful memories when reading their story. CSP took longer than anticipated, was labour intensive and required a highly skilled and resourced team to ensure participants benefitted. Originality/value Using the CSP method with a bicultural cohort of bereaved families who had provided care to someone over the age of 80 was very helpful in assisting the researchers to gather narrative information and present it back to participants in a story format for their comment and feedback. The method contributed a useful way to partner with bereaved family caregivers following the death of an older family member. The authors needed a way to record the participants’ narratives of the older person’s end of life circumstances and end of life care experiences. This was very important, particularly for grieving families and indigenous families who may have felt vulnerable engaging with research, and with the research processes. The approach provided a helpful and non-intrusive member-checking process. The unique bicultural study approach deliberately utilised the CSP method to assist the researchers to work safely with bereaved families as the participants reflected upon and explored not only the end of life circumstances of the older person, but they also focused on the “death” and their own bereavement experiences. CSP also provided a helpful member-checking method; the authors were working with highly sensitive information and wanted to ensure that the authors as researchers understood and interpreted the families’ narrative data correctly, according to their perspectives.

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Evaluation of an integrated service delivering post diagnostic care and support for people living with dementia and their families

Greater integration of health and social care services is considered vital to ensure sustainable long‐term quality provision for the growing numbers of people living with dementia and their families. Integration of services is at the heart of government policy in England. We evaluated a new integrated service for post diagnostic dementia care, funded as a pilot and delivered through a partnership of statutory and voluntary sector health and social care organisations. The service used an adapted Admiral Nursing service model with a workforce of Admiral Nurses (ANs) and Dementia Advisers (DAs). A mixed method approach was used to assess implementation and outcomes. It involved collection of service activity data, carer reported experience survey data, focus group discussions and interviews with the service delivery team, and the management group. Qualitative data was analysed using a framework approach. About 37.8% of the eligible population registered with the service over the 14‐month pilot period. The self‐referral route accounted for the majority of referrals, and had enabled those not currently receiving specialist dementia care to engage with the service. Carer satisfaction surveys indicated high levels of satisfaction with the service. The caseload management system offered specific benefits. Individual caseloads ensured continuity of care while the integrated structure facilitated seamless transfer between or shared working across AN and DA caseloads. The skill mix facilitated development of the DA role increasing their potential contribution to dementia care. Challenges included managing large workloads and agreeing responsibilities across the skill mix of staff. This model of fully integrated service offers a novel approach to address the problems of fragmented provision by enabling joined‐up working across health and social care.

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Supporting family carers of people with dementia

According to Alzheimers New Zealand, the number of New Zealanders with dementia is expected to exceed 170,000 by 2050.1 Dementia refers to a collection of progressive neurodegenerative illnesses, including Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and Lewy body type. Local NASC services assess people with dementia and their families' abilities to provide care, and help them access appropriate services such as day care or respite care.14 Other services that people with dementia and their families are referred to include Alzheimers New Zealand, Carer Support, Age Concern, regional health services for older people and mental health services for older people. [...]in the Nelson Marlborough DHB, older persons mental health service and Age Concern are some of the tertiary services that can provide reactive support when crises occur.15 About 40 per cent of people over the age of 65 in general hospitals have delirium, dementia or both.16 When nurses care for people with dementia and their carers on a general hospital ward, they have the opportunity to assess carers' stress and needs, and provide interventions.16,17 A qualitative study of carers' perspectives of acute hospitalisation of their family member with dementia found six themes that contributed to a positive hospitalisation experience.13 These included good communication, being empathetic and advocating for the carer. [...]early recognition of carer burden through nursing assessments helps prevent carer hospitalisation.

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Rob Lowe: Who Cares for the Carer? | Opinion

In January 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, a law that directs Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to develop and maintain a strategy to support caregivers in the next 18 months. According to the initiative, nearly a quarter of the 3,516 unpaid caregivers they surveyed in 2017 said their careers had suffered because of caring for a family member. When you get on an airplane, the crew says, "Secure your own mask first before helping others." Because without you taking care of yourself, you can't take care of anybody else.

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Actions helping expressed or anticipated needs: Patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers’ experiences of specialist palliative home care teams

Patients with advanced cancer and family caregivers in palliative care face physical, psychological, social and existential challenges, much of the time home alone. Specialist palliative home care team services can be instrumental for sense of security in an uncertain situation. The aim of this study was to describe patients’ and family caregivers’ experiences of specialist palliative home care team actions that are identified by the participants as helping or hindering interventions. Six patients and seven family caregivers were interviewed using the enhanced critical incident technique. Ninety‐five critical incidents and wish list items were identified. Providing adequate resources, keeping promises and being reliable, and creating partnerships are actions by specialist palliative care teams that patients and family caregivers experienced as helping in meeting expressed or anticipated needs in patients and family caregivers. Being reliable and including patients and family caregivers in partnerships help to continue with daily life, even though death may be close. Unmet needs resulted in experiences of disrespect or violation of personal space/integrity.

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The relation between social cohesion and the care burden of family healthcare providers

This study aimed to clarify the relationship between social cohesion and family care burden. The social capital indicators of Kondo et al. and the short version of the Zarit Care Burden Interview Scale in Japanese (J-ZBI_8) were used. Data were analyzed by multiple regression models. Seventy-one caregivers responded. Factors showing statistical significance in the multiple regression analysis included "receipt of emotional support" (p = 0.009) and "instrumental support provided" (p = 0.010). Social support was suggested to have a possible effect on the care burden of the main caregivers to relate to less burden. The gap between the original ideal loss and the social role caused by providing nursing care is likely to increase the degree of care burden.

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266User-Centered Design of a Mindfulness Application to Support Older Informal Carers

Background: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have grown in popularity in recent years and have been shown to reduce stress and increase quality of life among older informal carers. A digital application delivering MBIs has been iteratively designed based on user-centered designed principles and aims to support older informal carers to manage stress and sleep. We describe a qualitative study with older informal carers and the resulting digital application. Methods: A qualitative study with 20 older adults took place over a 2-year period. Requirements gathering consisted of focus groups, interviews, and usability testing with older adults and informal carers. A high-fidelity mock-up of an application was designed and user-testing sessions held with five participants to gauge usability and effectiveness. Results: Focus group participants felt stress reduction is a significant issue which affects overall wellbeing, with a consensus that stress can have an adverse effect on sleep. An overarching theme throughout the informal carer interviews was carer burden and the sense of being overwhelmed. The sense of constant worry was a theme that also emerged, which could be addressed by the present moment focus of mindfulness (Helmes & Ward 2015 https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1111862, Visser et al. 2015 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0311-5). Usability testing sessions revealed previously overlooked user experience and interface issues, including icons and data visualizations. Analyses of these user interactions and qualitative feedback allowed for further iterations in the design cycle, meeting guidelines for best practice in a user-centred design approach. Conclusion: Insights from the requirements gathering and testing sessions provided an understanding of parameters of health important to older adults, feelings towards selfmonitoring, preferences for data visualizations, and attitudes to MBIs. The resulting application has been designed for older informal carers to manage stress through MBIs as well as monitor activity and sleep through tracking, data visualizations and educational advice.

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Interventions for reducing levels of burden amongst informal carers of persons with dementia in the community. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Objectives: Caregiver burden can lead to increased stress, depression and health difficulties for caregivers and care-recipients. This systematic review aimed to examine the published evidence, for interventions designed to reduce levels of carer burden, in those caring for a person with dementia.; Methods: Three databases were searched (Medline, PsycINFO and CINAHL) for studies reporting on randomised controlled trials of non-pharmacological interventions for dementia-related caregiver burden. Data quality checks were completed for included papers and meta-analysis was performed to estimate the efficacy of individual interventions and different categories of non-pharmacological intervention.; Results: Thirty studies were included in the analysis. Seven studies found a significant reduction in carer burden and a pooled effect found that intervening was more effective than treatment as usual (SMD = -0.18, CI = -0.30, -0.05). This result was small, but significant (p = 0.005). Multi-component interventions are more effective than other categories. High heterogeneity means that results should be interpreted with caution.; Conclusions: Interventions that significantly reduced levels of burden should be replicated on a larger scale. The relative effectiveness of interventions targeting cognitive appraisals and coping styles suggests that future interventions might be informed by models theorising the role of these processes in carer burden.

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Being a Former Carer: Impacts on Health and Well-Being

In the United Kingdom, policy has formalized the role of carers through the introduction of new rights and entitlements to support. However, this support is directed only at current carers with the needs of former carers being unacknowledged. Yet, when caregiving comes to an end, the transition to a life as a “former” carer can be challenging. This article reports findings from a small-scale qualitative study about the experiences of former carers conducted in the United Kingdom. Findings highlight the impact of caregiving on the health and well-being of former carers with feelings of loss and distress associated with the end of caregiving. The need for support in the post-caregiving phase emerges as a significant issue with former carers feeling abandoned, lacking purpose and motivation to move forward in their lives. Findings suggest that the needs of former carers are not being met. 

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Testing a pain self-management intervention by exploring reduction of analgesics' side effects in cancer outpatients and the involvement of family caregivers: a study protocol (PEINCA-FAM)

Background: Pain is one of cancer patients' most frequent and distressing symptoms; however, analgesics' side effects often increase symptom burden. Further, with the home rapidly becoming the primary cancer care setting, family caregivers (FCs) commonly play central roles in patients' pain self-management, but with little or no preparation. One US-tested intervention, the PRO-SELF© Plus Pain Control Program (PCP), designed to support cancer outpatients and their FCs in pain self-management, is currently being tested in the Swiss multi-centre PEINCA study. The current PEINCA-FAM study is a sub-study of PEINCA. The aims of PEINCA-FAM are: a) to test the efficacy of the adapted German PRO-SELF © Plus PCP to reduce side effects of analgesics; b) to enhance patients'/FCs' knowledge regarding cancer pain; and c) to explore FCs' involvement in patients' pain self-management. Methods: This mixed methods project combines a multi-centre randomized controlled clinical trial with qualitative data collection techniques and includes 210 patients recruited from three oncology outpatient clinics. FCs involved in patients' pain self-management are also invited to participate. After baseline evaluation, eligible participants are randomized to a 6-week intervention group and a control group. Both groups complete a daily pain and symptom diary. Intervention group patients/FCs receive the weekly psychoeducational PRO-SELF© Plus PCP interventions; control group patients receive usual care. After completing the six-week study procedures, a subsample of 7–10 patients/FCs per group and hospital (N = 42–60) will be interviewed regarding their pain management experiences. Data collection will take place from April 2016 until December 2018. An intent-to-treat analysis and generalized linear mixed models will be applied. Qualitative data will be analysed by using interpretive description. Quantitative and qualitative results will be combined within a mixed method matrix. Discussion: In clinical practice, specially trained oncology nurses in outpatient clinics could apply the intervention to reduce side effects and to enhance patients'/FCs' self-efficacy and pain management knowledge. Trial registration: The PEINCA study is registered in the Clinical Trials.gov site (code: NCT02713919, 08 March 2016).

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Palliative Care — Online Resources for Patients, Families, and Caregivers

The article focuses on preventing or alleviating suffering in patients with serious illness using palliative care program. It mentions about providing effective palliative care treatment for improving quality of life for the patient and to provide support for family and caregivers; and offering hospice care to the patients related to issues such as nutrition and hydration.

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Helping families and carers to support a person with a stoma and dementia

The articles discusses nurses of Great Britain's National Health Service's (NHS's) assistance to caregivers and families supporting dementia patients who had stoma surgery, including in regard to the use of distraction for people unwilling to engage in stoma care. An overview of hospitals' identification of dementia patients is provided.

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Why the caregivers of bipolar patients need to be in constant touch with a physician: A qualitative study of text messages from patient caregivers to a physician

Background: The variety of caregiver's needs of bipolar patients signifies the importance of performing dedicated interventions to help this group of caregivers based on the cultural conditions of the country in which they live; the present study therefore seeks to address this issue through a different method. Methods: The families of 28 patients with bipolar disorder type 1 who were treated for at least two months by a single psychiatrist gradually entered the study over a six-month period. They received the phone number of the psychiatrist in attendance as soon as the patient was in remission according to the same psychiatrist's interview. A total of 1908 texts were sent and received and each family sent an average of 68.14 text messages during the three years, with the minimum being 40 and the maximum 83. All the text messages were transcribed verbatim and were evaluated by three faculty members through the qualitative content analysis method. Results: In this study we found three themes and there were some codes in each theme. 1. The first theme was "Training" which the caregivers requested advice about symptoms and tests, the course of the disease, assurance, medication side-effects and their management, how to stop smoking, how to control high-risk behaviors and double checking appointments with the physician, making for a total of 1079 text messages received. 2. The second theme was "Reporting" which contained a description of emergency symptoms and requesting advice, reporting response or no response to the medications, reporting medication adherence and dosage taken. 3. The third theme: "The expression of feelings" including the expression of gratitude, saying congratulations on national and other celebrations and expressing anger and hatred. Conclusion: Overall, the caregivers of patients with bipolar disorder have many needs; meeting these needs affects the patients' outcome and the caregivers, but requires a greater attention by the healthcare team and it is necessary for these needs to be evaluated in the context of each distinct country.

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Investment in Australian mental health carer services: how much and does it reflect evidence of effectiveness?

Objective The aims of this study were to quantify Australian federal and state government expenditure on mental health carer services for 2014-15, map the types of services being provided and explore how funded service types compare with the evidence base for the outcomes of these carer services. Methods Web searches were conducted to identify in-scope mental health carer services in Australia funded by federal and state and territory governments. Funding estimates were confirmed where possible with available government and carer organisation contacts. A literature search was conducted for reviews of studies investigating mental health carer service outcomes. Results In 2014-15, the estimated Australian national, state and territory government expenditure on mental health carer services was approximately A$90.6 million. This comprised A$65.6 million in federal expenditure and A$25.0 million in state and territory expenditure. Most funding streams provided respite and psychoeducation. The literature showed positive carer outcomes for psychoeducation and intensive family interventions. Evidence was lacking for the effectiveness of respite services. Conclusions These findings suggest a mismatch between what is known about the extent to which different service types deliver positive carer outcomes and the current allocation of funds across Australia's mental health system. This study also highlights the fragmentation of the mental health carer services system, supporting the need to streamline access.

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Moving family interventions into the real world: What matters to oncology stakeholders?

Background: Family interventions targeting patients and/or informal caregivers are beneficial, but few have been integrated in oncology clinical care. Understanding diverse stakeholder perspectives may inform implementation and dissemination efforts.; Methods: We are currently conducting a randomized controlled trial of CareSTEPS, a telephone-based intervention for caregivers of advanced lung cancer patients. CareSTEPS seeks to improve caregiver and patient self-care behaviors, quality of life, and satisfaction with care. With an eye toward integrating CareSTEPS into clinical care, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 experts in integrated care [practice thought leaders] and 26 individuals representing different oncology stakeholder groups (i.e., potential end users of CareSTEPS including counselors, social workers, nurse specialists, and psychologists) [N = 13], decision-makers, including physicians and administrators [N = 6], and key dissemination partners, including representatives from cancer and caregiving advocacy groups [N = 7]). Questions focused on existing caregiver support services, barriers to integrating care for caregivers in routine patient care, and possible models for clinical uptake and dissemination. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using directed content analysis.; Results: Stakeholders noted a mismatch between caregiver needs and services offered, and expressed interest in broader service offerings. Barriers for integrating caregiver support into clinical care included inadequate funding, lack of interdisciplinary training among providers, and concern that research-based interventions are often not flexible enough to roll out into clinical practice. To secure buy-in, stakeholders noted the importance of evaluating intervention cost, cost savings, and revenue generation. Possible avenues for dissemination, through bottom-up and top-down (e.g., policy change) approaches, were also discussed.; Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of evaluating outcomes important to diverse oncology stakeholder groups to speed translation of research into practice. They also suggest that pragmatic trials are needed that allow for flexibility in the delivery of family interventions and that consider the resource limitations of clinical care.

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Information sharing across generations and environments (InfoSAGE): study design and methodology protocol

Background: Longevity creates increasing care needs for healthcare providers and family caregivers. Increasingly, the burden of care falls to one primary caregiver, increasing stress and reducing health outcomes. Additionally, little has been published on adults', over the age of 75, preferences in the development of health information sharing with family members using online platforms. This study aims to assess a novel, Internet based, family-centric communication and collaboration platform created to address the information needs of elders and their informal caregivers in a community setting.; Methods: This study is an internet-based, open prospective cohort study, enrolling dyad pairs of one adult over the age of 75 with one informal caregiver. Dyads will be offered to use the InfoSAGE online platform without prospective assignment. Participants will consent using an online process that enables participation from any location and shares important study and privacy details. The platform will enable the capture of search queries and tracking of functions such as tasks and discussions. Surveys every six months assess health status, health and social needs, and caregiver burden using validated instruments over a two-year period. We will use a mixed methods approach, utilizing qualitative survey data along with website usage analytic data.; Discussion: Analysis of the longitudinal usage and survey data will help to examine the patterns of family communication and health information seeking as the central older adult ages. We will use the study data to inform design recommendations relevant to a complex mixture of users, with special consideration to the needs of older adult users and potential physical limitations.

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146Feasibility of a Resilience-Enhancing Resource for Family Carers of People with Dementia

Background: The WHO recommends involving carers in designing support programmes for people with dementia and their family carers. Moreover, researchers need to develop empowering and inclusive models of research in dementia care. Working with a network of current and former family carers of people with dementia, we co-designed an information and support resource to enhance the resilience of family carers of people with dementia. Branded Take Care of Yourself, the support resource comprises a website containing short video testimonials of family carers of people with dementia, supplemented with written materials. Methods: We conducted a study to establish the feasibility of the resource, in terms of its acceptability and usability among family carers of people with dementia. To test the feasibility of the resource, we developed a logic model in which we established short- medium- and long-term indicators of success, to identify which aspects of the resource were most effective in enhancing family carers’ resilience. To capture these indicators, we conducted a series of workshops among a purposive sample of current and former family carers of people with dementia and other stakeholders, including carers’ advocates and healthcare and support staff. Results: We report the findings of the feasibility study, with reference to the carers’ and other users’ experiences of and responses to the resource, including their perspectives on its content, quality, relevance and capacity to enhance resilience. We present our findings using thematic headings, supplemented with data extracts that exemplify the emergent themes. Conclusion: Consistent with the principles of empowerment and inclusion in research, support resources for family carers of people with dementia need to be developed in partnership with family carers themselves. Moreover, to be effective in meeting the needs of those for whom a resource is designed, the resource content must have fidelity and resonate with users’ real-world experiences.

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Digital Technology for Caregivers of People With Psychosis: Systematic Review

Background: Psychotic disorders are severe mental health conditions that adversely affect the quality of life and life expectancy. Schizophrenia, the most common and severe form of psychosis affects 21 million people globally. Informal caregivers (families) are known to play an important role in facilitating patient recovery outcomes, although their own health and well-being could be adversely affected by the illness. The application of novel digital interventions in mental health care for patient groups is rapidly expanding; interestingly, however, far less is known about their role with family caregivers.; Objective: This study aimed to systematically identify the application of digital interventions that focus on informal caregivers of people with psychosis and describe their outcomes.; Methods: We completed a search for relevant papers in four electronic databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Web of Science). The search also included the Cochrane database and manual search of reference lists of relevant papers. The search was undertaken in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses reporting guidelines.; Results: The search identified 9 studies derived from 8 unique datasets. Most studies were assessments of feasibility and were undertaken in the United States. Interventions were predominately Web-based, with a focus on improving the caregivers' knowledge and understanding about psychosis.; Conclusions: This study offers preliminary support for the feasibility and acceptability of digital interventions for psychosis in informal caregiver populations. However, the findings underpin a clear need for greater development in the range of caregiver-focused digital approaches on offer and robust evaluation of their outcomes. The use of digital approaches with caregiver populations seemingly lags someway behind the significant developments observed in patient groups.

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The effects of a community mental health intervention project upon family caregivers of persons with suspected mental illness in the Chinese cultural context

Family members play an important role in caregiving with more emphasis on early intervention for people suffering from mental illness. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, this study examines the effects of a community mental health intervention project (CoMHIP) on burdens of caregivers who have family members with suspected mental illness. Results showed that family caregivers’ burden and psychological stress level had been reduced (p < .001). The caregivers subjectively experienced a significant reduction in stress regarding the caregiving subscales, supervision, tension, worrying and urging after seeking CoMHIP service. Findings for the study have implications on social work interventions regarding family caregiving of people with suspected mental health problems.

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A cluster randomized controlled trial to test the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a family dementia caregiver intervention in Vietnam: The REACH VN study protocol

Background: Resources for Enhancing All Caregivers Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs (REACH VA) is an evidence-based intervention supporting family dementia caregivers that has been shown to improve caregiver outcomes for culturally diverse populations in the United States. However, this model has not been tested in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) including Vietnam, where community-based psychosocial interventions are urgently needed. The objectives of this study are to assess the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a culturally adapted version of the Resources for Enhancing All Caregivers Health in Vietnam (REACH VN).; Methods: A cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) will be conducted over a 6-month period in Soc Son district located in Hanoi. An expected sample of 10 to 12 communes, representing approximately 50 dementia primary caregivers, will be randomized to either the REACH VN intervention or an enhanced control condition. Inclusion criteria for the caregiver include age ≥18, family member who provides the most day-to-day care for person with dementia, and a total score for the brief (4 item) Zarit Burden Scale of ≥6. Over the course of 2 to 3 months, each participant in the intervention group will receive the REACH VN intervention comprised of 4 core sessions on problem solving, mood management/cognitive restructuring, stress management, and communication, and up to 2 additional sessions based on caregiver's needs. The enhanced control group will receive a single session that provides verbal and written information on dementia. Caregiver outcomes will be assessed at baseline (i.e., time of enrolment) and 3 months. The feasibility will be assessed with regard to recruitment, retention, treatment adherence, treatment fidelity, and assessment processes. For preliminary effectiveness, we will examine caregiver burden as the primary outcome and changes in caregiver depressive symptoms and in Alzheimer disease knowledge as secondary outcomes.; Discussion: This is the first study to test community-based family dementia caregiver intervention in Vietnam. Results from this study will provide the foundation for a larger effectiveness trial and broader dissemination in Vietnam and may help inform efforts to develop similar community-based family dementia caregiver support programs in other LMICs.; Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03587974. 

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Comparative Effectiveness of 2 Interventions for Hispanic Caregivers of Persons with Dementia

Objectives: To compare the effectiveness of 2 caregiver interventions with known efficacy: the Resources for Enhancing Caregiver Health‐Offering Useful Treatment (REACH‐OUT) and the New York University Caregiver Intervention (NYUCI). Design: 1:1 randomized pragmatic trial. Setting: New York City. Participants: Informal Hispanic caregivers of persons with dementia (N=221; mean age 58.2, 82.8% female, 63.3% adult children, 31.7% spouses). Intervention: Participants were randomized to 6 months of NYUCI (n=110) or REACH‐OUT (n=111), balanced on characteristics at baseline. All participants were referred for social supportive services. Measurements: The primary outcomes were changes between baseline and 6 months in depressive symptoms, measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and caregiver burden, measured using the Zarit Caregiver Burden Scale (ZCBS). Results: There were no differences in outcomes between NYUCI and REACH‐OUT. Both interventions showed a reduction in burden (REACH‐OUT: 5.2 points, 95% confidence interval (CI)=2.2–8.1, p<.001; NYUCI: 4.6‐points, 95% CI=1.7–7.5, p=.002). There were no significant changes on the GDS. Effects for the ZCBS were significant only for spouses and older caregivers. Conclusion: Although there were no significant intervention group differences, both interventions resulted in significantly reduced burden for Hispanic caregivers at 6 months, particularly for spouses and older caregivers.

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The effects of information and communication technologies on informal caregivers of persons living with dementia: A systematic review

Introduction: Information and communication technology (ICT) has emerged as promising to support health care consumers, including informal caregivers. This systematic review seeks to evaluate the state of the science of ICT interventions on the health of informal dementia caregivers.; Methods: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PsycINFO using concepts associated with ICT, dementia, and caregiver. Studies were assessed using the Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies.; Results: We identified 657 full-text publications. After removal of duplicates and title, abstract, and full-text screening, the quality of 12 studies was assessed. Studies varied in technology, implementation, results, and intervention evaluation.; Discussion: The methodological quality of the ICT intervention studies among dementia family caregivers was moderate to strong, yet outcome measurement was not uniform. The evidence is strongest for various forms of telephone-based interventions. However, there is a need for research that includes heterogeneous participants based on gender, race, and ethnicity.;

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The Effects of the Perception of Being Recognized by Patients With Alzheimer Disease on a Caregiver's Burden and Psychophysical Health

Caring for a patient with Alzheimer disease (AD) represents a real challenge that can have considerable long-term psychological and physical consequences. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the perception of being recognized on both the psychophysical health and the level of burden reported in caregivers of patients with AD. The secondary aim was to evaluate the association between the use of a home care assistance service and the burden and psychophysical health in caregivers. The Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI), the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), and a visual analog scale (VAS) to evaluate the level of perception of being recognized were administered to 31 caregivers of patients with AD. Data were also collected from patients with AD using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). The level of perception of being recognized was significantly and negatively correlated with total burden ( r = -0.36; P = .045) and objective burden ( r = -0.53; P = .002). It was also significantly and positively correlated with the MMSE score ( r = 41; P = .02). Regression models showed that only the perception of being recognized, and not MMSE, significantly predicted lower caregiver objective burden scores. Furthermore, the use of a home care assistance service significantly predicted higher caregiver physical functioning. The perception of being recognized by an AD relative significantly predicted the caregiver's objective burden associated with a shortage of time. The use of a home care assistance service also resulted in a promotion in the caregiver's social functioning. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.

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Systematic Review of Caregiver and Dyad Interventions After Adult Traumatic Brain Injury

Objective To describe and synthesize the literature on adult traumatic brain injury (TBI) family caregiver and dyad intervention. TBI is a common injury that has a significant long-term impact, and is sometimes even characterized as a chronic condition. Informal (ie, unpaid) family caregivers of adults with TBI experience high rates of burnout, depression, fatigue, anxiety, lower subjective well-being, and poorer levels of physical health compared to noncaregivers. This study addresses the critical gap in the understanding of interventions designed to address the impact of TBI on adult patients and their family caregivers. Data Sources PubMed and MEDLINE. Study Selection Studies selected for review had to be written in English and be quasi-experimental or experimental in design, report on TBI caregivers, survivors with heavy involvement of caregivers, or caregiver dyads, involve moderate and severe TBI, and describe an intervention implemented during some portion of the TBI care continuum. Data Extraction The search identified 2171 articles, of which 14 met our criteria for inclusion. Of the identified studies, 10 were randomized clinical trials and 4 were nonrandomized quasi-experimental studies. A secondary search to describe studies that included individuals with other forms of acquired brain injury in addition to TBI resulted in 852 additional titles, of which 5 met our inclusion criteria. Data Synthesis Interventions that targeted the caregiver primarily were more likely to provide benefit than those that targeted caregiver/survivor dyad or the survivor only. Many of the studies were limited by poor fidelity, low sample sizes, and high risk for bias based on randomization techniques. Conclusions Future studies of TBI caregivers should enroll a more generalizable number of participants and ensure adequate fidelity to properly compare interventions.

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The development of a positive behaviour support programme for families following acquired brain injury

Background/Aims: Families require more specialised support to manage behaviours of concern following acquired brain injury within community settings. Evidence supports the involvement of family caregivers in behaviour interventions, however there are no validated behaviour support approaches for individuals with acquired brain injury emphasising family involvement. This research aims to (1) gain insight from rehabilitation professionals and family caregivers on best practice in behaviour support following acquired brain injury in community settings, and (2) obtain feedback on the proposed Family-directed Positive Behaviour Support Programme, which aims to enhance the capability of family caregivers in supporting behavioural changes in an individual following acquired brain injury. Methods: Rehabilitation professionals (n=8) and family caregivers (n=3) completed a three-round Delphi study with the aim of reaching consensus (75% agreement) regarding research objectives. Findings: All items presented regarding best practice in supporting family caregivers with behaviour support reached consensus. Results were used to refine the content and format of delivery of the Family-directed Positive Behaviour Support programme. Conclusions: Findings suggest an agreement regarding what support is needed, yet this is still not being provided. The Delphi process has made significant contribution to the Family-directed Positive Behaviour Support programme, which aims to inform a family-directed approach to behaviour support following acquired brain injury in community settings. 

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Effects of family-centered empowerment intervention on stress, anxiety, and depression among family caregivers of patients with epilepsy

Objectives Family caregivers face numerous challenges in taking care of their family members with epilepsy. The empowerment of this group of people, who can be described as forgotten patients, should always be considered through supportive interventions; therefore, this study investigated the effect of a family-centered intervention program on stress, anxiety, and depression among family caregivers of patients with epilepsy. Methods In 2017, a trial was conducted in Iran among subjects selected by the convenience sampling method and randomly assigned to two groups: intervention and control. After five sessions per week over a four-week period, the intervention- and control-group data were collected using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) in three stages: before, immediately after, and two months after the intervention. Data were analyzed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software using descriptive and analytical statistics, an independent t -test, and repeated measures Analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results In this study, the family caregivers included 61.3% women and 38.7% men, with a mean age of 37.5 years. The findings showed no significant differences in the mean scores of stress (p = 0.93), anxiety (p = 0.91), and depression (p = 0.56) before the interventional program between the intervention and control groups, but these differences were statistically significant in the mean score of stress (p = 0.003) in the immediately after the interventional program, whereas the mean scores of depression were not decreased significantly (p = 0.3). Two months after the interventional program the mean scores of stress (p = 0.001) and anxiety (p = 0.001) were significantly decreased in the intervention group, but the mean score of depression was not decreased significantly (p = 0.09). Conclusion The results suggested that a family-centered intervention program reduced the stress, anxiety, and depression of caregivers because of feasibility, simplicity, and utility of intervention. This program was focused on psychological issues of caregivers, and an emphasis on their empowerment helped them in managing their problems in the caregiving situation and achieved greater psychological potency in the caring process. 

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'Being with' or 'doing for'? How the role of an end-of-life volunteer befriender can impact patient wellbeing: interviews from a multiple qualitative case study (ELSA)

Purpose: To explore the perspectives of people anticipated to be in their last year of life, family carers, volunteers and staff on the impacts of receiving a volunteer-provided befriending service. Patient participants received up to 12 weeks of a volunteer-provided befriending intervention. Typically, this involved one visit per week from a trained volunteer. Such services complement usual care and are hoped to enhance quality of life. Methods: Multiple case study design (n = 8). Cases were end-of-life befriending services in home and community settings including UK-based hospices (n = 6), an acute hospital (n = 1) and a charity providing support to those with substance abuse issues (n = 1). Data collection incorporated qualitative thematic interviews, observation and documentary analysis. Framework analysis facilitated within and across case pattern matching. Results: Eighty-four people participated across eight sites (cases), including patients (n = 23), carers (n = 3), volunteers (n = 24) and staff (n = 34). Interview data are reported here. Two main forms of input were described-'being there' and 'doing for'. 'Being there' encapsulated the importance of companionship and the relational dynamic between volunteer and patient. 'Doing for' described the process of meeting social needs such as being able to leave the house with the volunteer. These had impacts on wellbeing with people describing feeling less lonely, isolated, depressed and/or anxious. Conclusion: Impacts from volunteer befriending or neighbour services may be achieved through volunteers taking a more practical/goal-based orientation to their role and/or taking a more relational and emotional orientation. Training of volunteers must equip them to be aware of these differing elements of the role and sensitive to when they may create most impact.Trial Registration: ISRCTN12929812.

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Quality of life in HIV-infected Chinese women and their family caregivers: an intervention study

China is experiencing a rapid increase in the number of HIV-infected women. In this study, we describe the development and preliminary evaluation of an intervention tailored for Chinese HIV-infected women and caregivers to improve their self- and family management, with goals of enhancing their physical quality of life (QOL) and decreasing their depressive symptomatology. Forty-one HIV-infected women and their caregivers were recruited from two premier Chinese hospitals from July 2014 through March 2016. Participants were randomized to either the control or intervention arm for the Self- and Family Management Intervention (SAFMI). Each study dyad in the intervention arm received three counseling sessions with a nurse interventionist. At baseline, immediate post-intervention (month 1) and follow-up (month 3), the participants were assessed by a self-reported survey. Generalized Hierarchical Linear Modeling was used to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention. Chinese HIV-infected women in the intervention arm had significantly higher probability of higher physical QOL at month 1 and lower probability of clinically meaningful depressive symptomatology at month 3 compared with women in the control arm. In contrast, the effects of the intervention were less salient for caregivers. This study represents one of the first in China to include family caregivers in HIV management. Feasibility and acceptability were high, in that family members were willing to join the study, learn about HIV, and practice new skills to support the HIV-infected women in their lives. A larger trial is needed to fully evaluate this intervention which shows promising preliminary effects in promoting physical QOL and decreasing depressive symptomatology among Chinese HIV-infected women.

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Measuring caregiver activation to identify coaching and support needs: Extending MYLOH to advanced chronic illness

Introduction: Family and friends of seriously ill patients are key partners in providing support and health care at home, managing relationships with clinicians, and navigating complex health care systems. Becoming a knowledgeable, confident, and effective caregiver is a developmental process we term 'caregiver activation' and could be facilitated by clinicians equipped with suitable tools. Managing Your Loved One’s Health (MYLOH) is a new tool to identify gaps in caregivers' knowledge, skills, and access to clinical and personal support. Created in partnership with caregivers and clinicians, MYLOH items reflect the essential dimensions of caregiving and can be used to tailor caregiver coaching to domains of greatest need. In this study, we extend MYLOH's initial focus on dementia care to caregivers of patients with other chronic life-limiting illnesses. Methods: MYLOH was completed by primary caregivers (n = 190) of people with a range of advanced chronic illnesses enrolled in the LifeCourse study, an innovative, whole-person approach to health management. Item relevance and responses were compared by group across MYLOH items and domains using z-tests for equality of proportions. Results: All MYLOH items were relevant to caregiving for all types of chronic illness; only 13% of caregivers answered “not my responsibility” to any question. MYLOH identified caregiving struggles across patient diagnosis groups with a few, disease-specific ‘hotspots’. Overall, 64% of caregivers scored low in activation on at least one healthcare management task, especially getting enough help with caregiving, managing everyday caregiving tasks, understanding/managing medications, and knowing how to respond to rapid changes in care recipients' health status. No difficulty was unique to a specific type of care recipient illness. Conclusions: MYLOH has potential as a tool for identifying caregiver coaching and support needs in managing a range of serious chronic illnesses. Caregiving difficulties endorsed by over 20% of caregivers should be core components of chronic illness management programs regardless of disease focus, with disease-specific tailoring as required. MYLOH may be useful in evaluating caregiver interventions and health systems’ performance in integrating caregivers into the care management of patients with complex life-limiting illness. 

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Enabling Social Change with Immigrant and Refugee Caregivers: Beyond Dualistic Difference to Intersectionality

A personal narrative is presented which explores the author's experience of participating in a case study of his work for an immigrant and refugee women's health organization in Australia, to deliver multilingual health education and peer support to informal family caregivers in Melbourne, Victoria.

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A prompt and practical on-site support programme for family caregivers of persons with dementia: a preliminary uncontrolled interventional study

Despite the abundance of randomized clinical trial interventions for family caregivers (FCs) who look after persons with dementia, the extent to which these findings can be effectively implemented in a real‐world clinical setting is questionable.1 Indeed, a prompt and practical support programme for real clinical settings would benefit FCs, especially given the long hours that they spend caregiving,2 but few studies have investigated easily implemented support programmes for FCs.

Therefore, the objectives of this study were two‐fold: (i) to explore the possibility of nurses providing prompt and practical support to ‘high‐risk’ FCs who require some assistance on days when they visit a memory clinic; and (ii) to investigate whether such prompt albeit brief support would reduce the extent of subjective burden among FCs.

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Implications of the use of migrant care work and web-based services on family caregivers' health

This article illustrates the implications of two recent trends on family carers' health: the employment of home-based migrant care workers; and the provision of web-based supports. The main factors traditionally associated with carers' health are used to analyse the results of a six-country study via a multilevel linear regression. Attention will be dedicated to the role of migrant care workers, who are often hired by private households to provide eldercare. Finally, web-based services for carers will be investigated by considering InformCare, a recently implemented European platform tested on a sample of carers from three countries (Germany, Italy and Sweden).

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Better Support for Carer-Employees in Canada: The Development of Standardised Guidelines for The Workplace

In 2012, it was estimated that more than 5.6 million Canadian employees (35% of the workforce) had adult/elder care responsibilities (Fast et al, 2014). Lack of workplace support leads to consequences such as: carer-employees leaving the workforce/missing work; premature retirement; reduced productivity; health problems; and increased costs to employers (Peters and Wilson, 2017). In 2016, a partnership of committed stakeholders set out to develop a bilingual Canadian Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Standard and Implementation Guide. It is a gender-sensitive, accessible guide for employers and human resource professionals and is suitable for use in a wide range of workplaces.

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'Special Mothers' in Ireland: Gender, Identity and The Social Construction of Caring for a Relative With an Intellectual Disability

Gender balance in caring is heavily skewed towards women providing the majority of care. This is particularly evident in literature relating to intellectual disability. Using the platforms of mothering and disability to examine the literature, this article sheds light on the cultural norms and societal discourses that influence 'who cares' for children and adults with disabilities. It highlights that 'who cares' is often a socially constructed ideology that results in a reconstructed identity for women. The impact on identity is discussed and suggestions are made regarding how discourse, policy and advocacy can support this cohort of carers.

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Making a world of difference for carers: the Pathways for Carers project

Local government, service providers and community members are working together to make a difference in the lives of carers and those they care for in a community in Australia. Maroondah City Council is located 25 km east of Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, at the foot of Mount Dandenong. Maroondah covers an area of 61 km2 and has a population of about 112,300 people. The council has been working with carers in their community on a 'Pathways for Carers' project, with one of the outcomes being the installation of a seat in recognition of the role that carers play in the community.

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Supporting carers in a remote region of Quebec, Canada: how much space for social innovation?

This research moves from the general hypothesis that assistance provided to a person needing support, and the effort needed to articulate work and care may, under certain conditions, become a factor in carers' inequality and vulnerability. The article presents the results of qualitative research conducted in Quebec, Canada, with carers of older people who also have full-time paid employment in the labour market, and on professionals providing these carers with services. It considers how the services offered to carers have been implemented and how they can affect carers' daily lives.

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Global conversations about care (conference review of the Global Carework Summit, 1-3 June 2017, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)

The Global Carework Summit, organised by the Carework Network and hosted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Center on Women and Work, brought together more than 150 attendees from 25 countries at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) in the USA during 1–3 June 2017. The Carework Network, formed almost 20 years ago by a small group of sociologists studying care, is an all-volunteer, international organisation of researchers, policymakers and advocates involved in various domains of care work. Although it is primarily based in the social sciences, it welcomes members from all academic disciplines and advocacy organisations with an interest in the study of care and care work. 

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Take care: How to be a great employer for working carers by David Grayson

It is well understood in Grayson’s book that the programmatic advice promised by its title stands or falls on another question being satisfactorily answered: why be a great employer for working carers? This is duly addressed right at the beginning. The book is divided into three sections: ‘Why care for carers?’, which discusses current economic and demographic trends, and makes the business case for supporting working carers; ‘Seven steps to being a good employer for working carers’, which is the central, and most concrete, programmatic section, and the one most directly addressed to employers; and ‘Building a movement’, which presents further strategies for building networks that adequately support carers in employment, and suggests that creating a society that recognises, values and facilitates the work of caring alongside (and outside) paid employment is the best and most sustainable way of ensuring that carers are supported.

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Weathering the perfect storm: facing the challenge of maintaining gains for carers against a background of shrinking resources in one area of England

These are not easy times for carers in England. While English legislation and government policy are more carer-friendly than ever before, resources are under increasing pressure from both the exploding ‘demographic time-bomb’ and ‘austerity’. This has followed the global financial crash of 2008, subjecting the whole of the public sector to significant cuts. [...] If access to formal care has proportionately reduced, we must drive additional value from a more integrated voluntary and statutory sector ‘system’. Networking, via HertsHelp, Carers in Hertfordshire and Community Navigators, can prevent confusion and duplication (for carers and professionals). 

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Practitioners' understanding of barriers to accessing specialist support by family carers of people with dementia in distress

Distressing symptoms in dementia are hard to manage for many family carers. This article explores practitioners' perceptions of the barriers to accessing skilled behaviour management support encountered by carers. A survey of cases referred to the English National Health Service (<i>n</i> = 5,360) was followed by in-depth group discussions and practitioner interviews. Data revealed that practitioners focused on care home residents or older people with mental health problems other than dementia, rather than community-dwelling people with dementia and families. Barriers to access included misperceptions about the nature of distressing behaviour affecting carers and structural limitations in the capacity of specialist services to respond to carers.

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The business case for employers supporting carers: reflecting on a UK model

Recruiting, retaining and returning carers to the workplace have already been identified as major economic and social issues in the UK. They are likely to become even more important as a consequence of demographic and economic pressures on families and employers (HM Government et al, 2013). This article sets out the current and future context regarding working carers, as well as the business response in terms of policy and practice, highlighting what has been achieved and what has yet to be addressed. It focuses specifically on the work of Employers for Carers (EfC), a membership forum of UK employers committed to supporting carers.

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InformCare: the European information hub on family care

An increasing amount of research in Europe – and beyond – has focused on the development of innovative solutions for providing support services to family carers of frail older people. This is especially the case in terms of web-based programmes. [...] There is clearly a role for well-designed and robustly supported web-based support platforms like InformCare in helping to sustain carers, deliver policy aims and ensure carer access to information, advice and support.

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'Enabling carers to care': making the case for a European Union action plan on carers

Research has identified that approximately 80% of care across the European Union (EU) is provided by families (spouses, parents and children), neighbours and friends (Hoffmann and Rodrigues, 2010). Even in countries with a well-developed supply of formal long-term care, the number of ‘informal’ carers is estimated to be at least twice as large as the formal care workforce. ‘Informal’ care provision is under pressure ... [...] The proposed EU ‘action plan on carers’ could help to inform national agendas to better address challenges relating to carers and families, facilitate and share good practice, raise the profile of carers, and support carers and promote their health and well-being across Europe.

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The Dementia Friends initiative - supporting people with dementia and their carers: reflections from Japan

Globally, an estimated 46.8 million people are living with dementia (ADI, 2015). The figure for Japan is 5 million; this represents 15% of all those aged 65 years and over (MHLW, 2015). With no cure and few effective treatments, policy developments increasingly emphasise ‘living well’ with the condition within supportive families and friendly communities (DH, 2009, 2012a, 2012b; WHO and ADI, 2012). [...] Although evidence to support the positive impact of involving people with dementia in the Dementia Friends initiative is limited, the need to extend its ambitions to do so underpins the principle ‘Nothing about us, without us’, campaigned for by the JDWG and other dementia groups and activists nationally and internationally (Dementia Alliance International, 2015; Swaffer, 2015). 

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Collateral damage: Australian carers' services caught between aged care and disability care reforms

In Australia, 2.7 million family and friend carers care for people with disabling conditions (including mental health conditions), who are terminally ill and/or who are elderly and frail. It is no surprise that those carers who provide the most care often experience multiple disadvantages, including constraints on their ability to work and accompanying financial stress, social isolation, and high levels of disability, ill health and stress [...] The question remains, however: in the context of increasing fiscal constraint and the diversion of funds into the NDIS, exactly how much will be left to support the proposed integrated carer support system? Additionally, if this development does not materialise, what future is there for dedicated support for Australia’s carers?

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The Taiwanese Association of Family Caregivers: transformation in the long-term care debate for carers

Accepting political appointment from the government is a double-edged sword for an advocacy group, which could mean a chance to influence policies or conflicts with other advocacy groups. The Taiwanese Association of Family Caregivers (TAFC) went through such a process of transformation when it was appointed as a member of a formal committee set up by the Taiwanese government in 2009 in order to develop and implement a long term care insurance scheme. We named this process TAFC's awakening because this opportunity served as a catalyst for TAFC to confirm its identity as a representative of carers, speaking solely from the carer's perspective.

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Mastering the Art of Collaboration: Supporting Family Caregivers of Mental Health Patients by Service Providers in Iran

Responsive support systems, designed and promoted by policy makers, are critical in supporting family caregivers. The purpose of this study was to explore viewpoints of service providers in supporting family caregivers of mental health patients in Iran. In this qualitative study, a purposive sample of 29 service providers and policy makers consented to participate in semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed through qualitative content analysis and three main categories and seven sub-categories were identified. The main categories were: interpersonal collaboration, intra-organization collaboration and inter-sectorial collaboration. A common theme in this study was that service providers play a key role in coordinating responsive support services for Iranian family caregivers of mental health patients across all levels. The increasing complexity of the health care system and resource limitations have created complex problems, which require the use of participatory approaches by the various specialties, disciplines and departments to provide complementary services and mutual support. This approach is the best way of ensuring that service users receive the most relevant services from the right service providers in the right place as and when needed. 

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Improving Coping Styles in Family Caregivers of Psychiatric Inpatients Using Planned Behavior Problem-Solving Training

Background: The consequences and high costs of psychiatric disorders impact family caregivers greatly. Health services should identify and provide accessible support programs to facilitate effective caregiver coping.; Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a theory-of-planned-behavior-based problem-solving training program on the coping styles of family caregivers of psychiatric inpatients.; Methods: In this two-group, randomized control trial, 72 family caregivers were randomly assigned to either a control group receiving standard care or an intervention group receiving a training program (eight sessions over 4 weeks). Demographic information was recorded at baseline, and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations was administered to both groups at baseline, immediately postintervention, and 1-month follow-up.; Results: Immediately after the intervention, the intervention group earned significantly higher task-oriented coping style scores (mean difference = 5.03, p = .015) than the control group, but no significant difference was detected between the two groups for either emotion- or avoidance-oriented coping style scores. At 1-month follow-up, the intervention group earned significantly higher scores than the control group for task-oriented (mean difference = 8.56, p < .001) and emotion-oriented (mean difference = 7.14, p = .002) coping styles. No improvement in avoidance-oriented coping style at the postintervention or follow-up time points was detected.; Conclusions: Implementation by nurses and other health professionals of problem-solving training programs that are based on the theory of planned behavior is recommended to strengthen the use of task- and emotion-oriented approaches that help family caregivers of psychiatric patients better cope with stress.

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Effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in reducing grief experienced by family carers of people with dementia: A systematic review

Background Family carers of people living and dying with dementia experience grief. The prevalence, predictors and associated factors of grief in this population have been identified, and psychosocial interventions to decrease grief symptoms have been implemented. However, the effect of psychosocial interventions on family carers’ grief, loss or bereavement has not been examined. Objective To synthesize the existing evidence regarding the impact of psychosocial interventions to assist adjustment to grief, pre- and post-bereavement, for family carers of people with dementia. Inclusion criteria Types of participants Family carers of older persons with dementia (>65 years). Types of interventions Psychosocial interventions in health and social care facilities, and community settings designed to assist family carers adjust to grief during the dementia trajectory and/or following death. Comparisons No treatment, standard care or treatment as usual, or an alternative intervention. Types of studies Experimental and epidemiological study designs. Outcomes Grief in family carers including anticipatory, complicated and prolonged grief disorder measured with validated instruments. Search strategy A three-step strategy sought to identify both published and unpublished studies from 1995. Methodological quality Assessed by two independent reviewers using standardized critical appraisal tools from the Joanna Briggs Institute Meta Analysis of Statistics Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-MAStARI). Data extraction The standardized data extraction tool from JBI-MAStARI was used by two reviewers independently. Data synthesis Statistical pooling of results was not possible due to the heterogeneity of the interventions and the outcome measures. Results Data were extracted from three studies. Study designs were a randomized controlled trial; a pre-test, multiple posttest quasi-experimental; and a single group, repeated measures. The interventions were multi-component, had durations of nine to 26 weeks and were delivered while care recipients were alive. All studies were undertaken in the United States. There were 327 family carers, of which 197 received a psychosocial intervention. Family carers were predominantly female (84.7%), Caucasian (73.4%) and caring for their spouse (44.3%). All care recipients had dementia; 68.5% had Alzheimer’s disease. Two studies measured anticipatory grief, and the third study reported normal and complicated grief. Moderate benefits to anticipatory grief were evident upon completion of the “Easing the Way” intervention (effect size -0.43, P = 0.03). After controlling for research design and control variables, for every hour increase in the interventions focusing on family carers’ cognitive skills, there were associated decreases in carers’ normal grief (parameter estimate [PE]= -0.81, P = 0.02) and complicated grief (PE=-0.87, P = 0.03). For every hour increase in the interventions focusing on carer behavior, there was an associated decrease in carers’ complicated grief (PE = -1.32, P = 0.04). For every hour increase in the interventions focusing on care recipient behavior, there was an associated decrease in carers’ complicated grief (PE = -2.91, P = 0.04). Conclusion There is little evidence upon which to base practice with regard to interventions to reduce any aspects of grief. Findings suggest that different pre-death interventions might be warranted depending upon a family carer’s unique clinical presentation and combination of risk factors. Cognitive skills training provided while the care recipient is alive may positively impact normal and complicated grief following the death of the care recipient. When the cognitive skills training is provided in conjunction with behaviorally oriented interventions that improve the wellbeing of the carer and care recipient, carers’ complicated grief symptoms may be reduced. 

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Fulfilling the psychological and information need of the family members of critically ill patients using interactive mobile technology: A randomised controlled trial

Background Intensive care nurses may have an important role in empowering families by providing psychological support and fulfilling the family's pivotal need for information. Aim To determine whether ‘education of families by tab’ about the patient’s condition was more associated with improved anxiety, stress, and depression levels than the ‘education of families by routine’. Research design A randomized control trial of 74 main family caregivers (intervention: 39; control: 35). Setting An adult intensive care unit. Main outcome measures Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and Communication and Physical Comfort Scale. Results Although information need satisfaction was not significantly different between intervention and control groups, the former reported significantly better depression score on Depression Anxiety Stress Scale comparing to the control group (p<0.01;η2=0.09) with a medium effect size. Reduction of anxiety in the intervention group were clinically significant. Conclusion The results suggest that use of ‘education of family by tab’ is promising for intensive care nurses to provide psychological support for family members. More studies are needed to investigate this aspect of family care for better psychological support and information need satisfaction that contributes to the evidence-based practice of intensive care nursing.

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Updated meta-review of evidence on support for carers

BACKGROUND: Policy and research interest in carers continues to grow. A previous meta-review, published in 2010, by Parker et al. (Parker G, Arksey H, Harden M. 'Meta-review of international evidence on interventions to support carers.' York: Social Policy Research Unit, University of York; 2010) found little compelling evidence of effectiveness about specific interventions and costs. OBJECTIVE: To update what is known about effective interventions to support carers of ill, disabled or older adults. DESIGN: Rapid meta-review. SETTING: Any relevant to the UK health and social care system. PARTICIPANTS: Carers (who provide support on an unpaid basis) of adults who are ill, disabled or older. INTERVENTIONS: Any intervention primarily aimed at carers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Any direct outcome for carers. DATA SOURCES: Database searches (including Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, MEDLINE, Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts and Social Care Online) for systematic reviews published from January 2009 to 2016. REVIEW METHODS: We used EndNote X7.4 (Thomson Reuters, CA, USA) to screen titles and abstracts. Final decisions on the inclusion of papers were made by two reviewers independently, using a Microsoft Excel 2013 spreadsheet (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA, USA). We carried out a narrative synthesis structured by patient condition and by seven outcomes of interest. We assessed the quality of the included systematic reviews using established criteria. We invited a user group of carers to give their views on the overall findings of our review. RESULTS: Sixty-one systematic reviews were included (27 of high quality, 25 of medium quality and nine of low quality). Patterns in the literature were similar to those in earlier work. The quality of reviews had improved, but primary studies remained limited in quality and quantity. Of the high-quality reviews, 14 focused on carers of people with dementia, four focused on carers of those with cancer, four focused on carers of people with stroke, three focused on carers of those at the end of life with various conditions and two focused on carers of people with mental health problems. Multicomponent interventions featured prominently, emphasising psychosocial or psychoeducational content, education and training. Multiple outcomes were explored, primarily in mental health, burden and stress, and well-being or quality of life. Negative effects following respite care were unsupported by our user group. As with earlier work, we found little evidence on intervention cost-effectiveness. No differences in review topics were found across high-, medium- and low-quality reviews. LIMITATIONS: The nature of meta-reviews precludes definitive conclusions about intervention effectiveness, for whom and why. Many of the included reviews were small in size and authors generally relied on small numbers of studies to underpin their conclusions. The meta-review was restricted to English-language publications. Short timescales prevented any investigation of the overlap of primary studies, and growth in the evidence base since the original meta-review meant that post-protocol decisions were necessary. CONCLUSIONS: There is no 'one size fits all' intervention to support carers. Potential exists for effective support in specific groups of carers. This includes shared learning, cognitive reframing, meditation and computer-delivered psychosocial support for carers of people with dementia, and psychosocial interventions, art therapy and counselling for carers of people with cancer. Counselling may also help carers of people with stroke. The effectiveness of respite care remains a paradox, given the apparent conflict between the empirical evidence and the views of carers. FUTURE WORK:  More good-quality, theory-based, primary research is warranted. Evidence is needed on the differential impact of interventions for various types of carers (including young carers and carers from minority groups), and on the effectiveness of constituent parts in multicomponent programmes. Further research triangulating qualitative and quantitative evidence on respite care is urgently required. The overlap of primary studies was not formally investigated in our review, and this warrants future evaluation. STUDY REGISTRATION: This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42016033367. FUNDING: The National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research programme.

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Extra care: viable for couples living with dementia?

PURPOSE: The perspectives of people with dementia and their care partners regarding "extra care" housing are currently unknown. The purpose of this paper is to report findings of a consultation study exploring the perceived barriers and facilitators of a relocation to extra care housing, from the perspective of people living with dementia, and their care partners. DESIGN/METHOOLOGY/APPROACH: Fieldwork consisted of paired or 1-1 interviews and small focus groups with potential users of an alternative model of extra care support for people living with dementia in the South of England. The consultation took place between June and August 2013. The interviews and focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were analysed thematically. FINDINGS: Benefits of extra care were identified as the opportunity for couples to remain living together for longer, creating a supportive, dementia-friendly community, and a reduction in the strain experienced by the care partners. Barriers centred on a sense of loss, stress and uncertainty. Living and caring at home was perceived as preferable to shared care. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS: The findings presented here have limited generalisability for two reasons. First, the shared care approach consulted on was very specific. Second, the participants form a purposive sample and as such are not representative of a wider population. Despite best intentions, the voice of people with dementia, are underreported in this consultation. Only one person with early on-set dementia was interviewed and the remaining two people with dementia were interviewed alongside their care partner. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The findings cast doubt on the viability of extra care facilities, designed for couples living with dementia, if extra care continues to be conceptualised and marketed as a preventative lifestyle choice. The findings indicate the value of consulting with people with dementia, and their care partners, when designing new forms of housing with care specifically for people living with dementia. SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS: The findings of this consultation exemplify the wish of couples living with dementia to remain together, in what they perceive to be "home", for as long as possible. Couples living with dementia are therefore unlikely to wish to move into an extra care facility as a lifestyle choice option, early into their journey with dementia. This raises questions about the suitability of extra care, as a form of housing with care, for couples living with dementia. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This paper contributes to the body of literature, exploring the feasibility of new and innovative alternative care and housing options, for people with dementia. This paper is one of the first to explore extra care as a housing and social care option for couples with dementia. 

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Communication Empowerment Framework: An integrative framework to support effective communication and interaction between carers and people living with dementia

Objectives: To demonstrate the power of integrating three theoretical perspectives (Mentalization Theory, Perceptual Control Theory and the Communicative Impact model), which jointly illuminate the communication challenges and opportunities faced by family carers of people with dementia. To point the way to how this framework informs the design and delivery of carer communication and interaction training. Method: Conceptual synthesis based on a narrative review of relevant literature, supported by examples of family carers. Results: We use the conceptual models to show how the capacity to mentalize (“holding mind in mind”) offers a greater sense of control over internal and external conflicts, with the result that they can be deescalated in pursuit of mutual goals. Conclusions: The integrative conceptual framework presented here highlights specific psychological and relational mechanisms that can be targeted through carer training to enhance communication with a person living with dementia. 

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Disseminating START: training clinical psychologists and admiral nurses as trainers in a psychosocial intervention for carers of people with dementia’s depressive and anxiety symptoms

OBJECTIVES: To put into practice and to evaluate an initial dissemination programme for the Strategies for Relatives (START), a clinically and cost-effective manualised intervention for family carers of people with dementia. SETTING: We offered three-hour 'train-the-trainer' sessions through the British Psychological Society and Dementia UK. PARTICIPANTS: Clinical psychologists and admiral nurses across the UK. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: After the training session, attendees completed an evaluation. Attendees were asked how they had implemented START six and twelve months later, and to participate in telephone interviews about their experiences of what helps or hinders implementation oneyear after training. RESULTS: We trained 134 clinical psychologists and 39 admiral nurses through 14 training sessions between October 2014 and September 2015 in nine UK locations and made materials available online. The 40 survey respondents had trained 75 other staff. By this time, 136 carers had received START across eleven service areas. Findings from 13 qualitative interviews indicated that some clinical psychologists had begun to implement START, facilitated by buy-in from colleagues, existing skills in delivering this type of intervention, availability of other staff to deliver the intervention and support from the research team. Admiral nurses did not supervise other staff and were unable to cascade the intervention. Where START has not been used, common barriers included lack of staff to deliver the intervention and family carer support not being a service priority. Participants wanted the training to be longer. CONCLUSIONS: We trained clinical psychologists and admiral nurses to deliver and implement START locally. Results from survey respondents show that it was cascaded further and used in practice in some areas, but we do not know whether START was implemented by non-respondents. Future dissemination requires management buy-in, availability of practitioners and supervisors and consideration of other ways of delivery. 

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Digital support platform: a qualitative research study investigating the feasibility of an internet-based, postdiagnostic support platform for families living with dementia

OBJECTIVES: To establish the feasibility of the Digital Support Platform (DSP), an internet-based, postdiagnostic tool designed for families living with a diagnosis of dementia. DESIGN: Qualitative methods using normalisation process theory as an analysis framework for semistructured interview transcriptions. SETTING: A community care setting in the South-East Scotland. PARTICIPANTS: We interviewed ten dyads of people with Alzheimer's, vascular or mixed dementia (PWD), and their family carers, who had been given and had used the DSP for at least twomonths. RESULTS: Our analysis revealed that the DSP was predominantly understood and used by the carers rather than PWD, and was used alongside tools and methods they already used to care for their relative. The DSP was interpreted as a tool that may be of benefit to those experiencing later stages of dementia or with physical care needs. Carers stated that the DSP may be of benefit in the future, reflecting a disinclination to prepare for or anticipate for future needs, rather than focus on those needs present at the time of distribution. PWD spoke positively about an interest in learning to use technology more effectively and enjoyed having their own tablet devices. CONCLUSIONS: The DSP was not wholly appropriate for families living with dementia in its early stages. The views of carers confirmed that postdiagnostic support was valued, but emphasised the importance of tailoring this support to the exact needs and current arrangements of families. There may be a benefit to introducing, encouraging, providing and teaching internet-enabled technology to those PWD who do not currently have access. Training should be provided when introducing new technology to PWD. 

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Characteristics of the Family Caregivers Who Did Not Benefit From a Successful Psychoeducational Group Intervention During Palliative Cancer Care: A Prospective Correlational Study

Background: Although there has been a steady increase in intervention studies aimed toward supporting family caregivers in palliative cancer care, they often report modest effect sizes and there is a lack of knowledge about possible barriers to intervention effectiveness. Objective: The aim of this study is to explore the characteristics of family caregivers who did not benefit from a successful psychoeducational group intervention compared with the characteristics of those who did. Intervention/Methods: A psychoeducational intervention for family caregivers was delivered at 10 palliative settings in Sweden. Questionnaires were used to collect data at baseline and following the intervention. The Preparedness for Caregiving Scale was the main outcome for the study and was used to decide whether or not the family caregiver had benefited from the intervention (Preparedness for Caregiving Scale difference score = 0 vs = 1). Results: A total of 82 family caregivers completed the intervention and follow-up. Caregivers who did not benefit from the intervention had significantly higher ratings of their preparedness and competence for caregiving and their health at baseline compared with the group who benefited. They also experienced lower levels of environmental burden and a trend toward fewer symptoms of depression. Conclusions: Family caregivers who did not benefit from the intervention tended to be less vulnerable at baseline. Hence, the potential to improve their ratings was smaller than for the group who did benefit. Implications for Practice: Determining family caregivers in cancer and palliative care who are more likely to benefit from an intervention needs to be explored further in research.

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Families’ experiences of involvement in care planning in mental health services: an integrative literature review

Introduction Mental health service policy stipulates that family carers be involved in care planning. Aim To identify families’ experiences of care planning involvement in adult mental health services. Method An integrative review where electronic databases and grey literature were searched for papers published between 01 January 2005 and 10 February 2016. Results Fifteen papers met the inclusion criteria. Thematic analysis generated three themes: (1) families’ experience of collaboration, (2) families’ perceptions of professionals and (3) families’ impressions of the care planning process. Collaborative decision-making is not regularly experienced by families with an ‘us’ and ‘them’ divide, perpetuated by a lack of communication, confidentiality constraints and a claim of ‘insider knowledge’ of service users. When involved, families perceive care planning to be uncoordinated and that their lived experiences are not always appreciated. Discussion Families need to be valued, empowered and engaged in care planning and the partnership distance be addressed. Accommodating the views of family, service user and professionals is preferable but not always possible. Our findings suggest that the key element for professionals is to value all ‘insider knowledge’ where possible. Implications for Practice Services should develop written information on confidentiality for families and facilitate open communication concerning their involvement in care planning. 

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A retrospective study of a multicomponent rehabilitation programme for community-dwelling persons with dementia and their caregivers

INTRODUCTION: This study determined whether the multicomponent rehabilitation programme of a memory clinic had positive outcomes on ameliorating everyday functioning, quality of life, mood and behavioural disturbances of persons with dementia and reducing distress and burden of caregivers. METHOD: A retrospective pre-test-post-test study without control group was conducted on the first cohort of persons with dementia (n=30) and their caregivers (n=30), who participated in a programme lasting for a maximum of 1 year with 25 1-hour counselling sessions. The assessment contained an evaluation of everyday functioning in basic, instrumental and advanced activities of daily living, cognition, mood, emotional and behavioural disturbances, quality of life and caregiver burden. RESULTS: Eight participants dropped out prematurely. For persons with dementia (n=22), participating in the programme did not improve everyday functioning and cognition but ameliorated quality of life significantly (Z=-2.7, p=0.006, 95 per cent CI (.003-.005)) and stabilized mood, emotional and behavioural disturbances for 60 per cent or more of them. For caregivers (n=22), the mild to moderate burden of care remained stable or got better for 63.6 per cent of the caregivers. CONCLUSION: This programme appears to be promising and valuable, and might reduce institutionalization rates. Future explorations are recommended to research how participants evolve and to investigate which participants responded in a positive way. 

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The Roles of Telehealth Tools in Supporting Family Caregivers: Current Evidence, Opportunities, and Limitations

Family caregivers need more information and training on caregiving as well as supportive tools to facilitate stress management and enhance their coping skills. In addition, family caregivers need social support and practical assistance. Telehealth tools, broadly defined as technology-based tools that bridge geographic distance, can be a promising method to deliver interventions designed for family caregivers and enhance access to resources and support. Telehealth technologies are especially important for caregivers living in rural areas or providing remote caregiving.

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CareACT - internet-based intervention for enhancing the psychological well-being of elderly caregivers – a study protocol of a controlled trial

Background: The rapid increase in the number of elderly family caregivers underlines the need for new support systems. Internet-delivered psychological interventions are a potential approach, as they are easy to access for family caregivers who are often homebound with their care recipient. This study examines the relative effectiveness of an internet-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) intervention or a standardized institutional rehabilitation program, first, in reducing depressive symptoms, and second, in improving the well-being and quality of life of elderly family caregivers compared to a control group receiving support from voluntary family caregiver associations. Methods: 156 family caregivers aged 60 or more are studied in a quasi-experimental study design that compares three groups of family caregivers (Group 1; n = 65: a guided 12-week web-based intervention; Group 2, n = 52: a standardized institutional rehabilitation program in a rehabilitation center; Group 3, n = 39: support provided by voluntary caregiver associations). Data collection is performed at three time-points: pre-measurement and at 4 months and 10 months thereafter. Caregivers’ depressive symptoms as a primary outcome, and perceived burden, anxiety, quality of life, sense of coherence, psychological flexibility, thought suppression, and personality as secondary outcomes are measured using validated self-report questionnaires. Physical performance and user experiences are also investigated. Between-group differences in the effects of the interventions are examined using multiple-group modeling techniques, and effect-size calculations. Discussion: The study will compare the effectiveness of a novel web-based program in reducing depressive symptoms and improving the psychological well-being of elderly family caregivers, or a standardized institutional rehabilitation program representing usual care and a control group receiving support offered by voluntary caregiver associations. The results will expand the knowledge base of clinicians and provide evidence on effective strategies to improve the mental health and overall quality of life of elderly family caregivers. Trial registration: The study was retrospectively registered in www.clinicaltrials.gov (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03391596 on January 4, 2018.

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Effectiveness and usability of a web-based mindfulness intervention for caregivers of people with mental or somatic illness. A randomized controlled trial

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Approximately 42.1 million family caregivers provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any given point in time in the US in 2009 (Feinberg et al., 2011).  ... Tailored online interventions that incorporate behavior change techniques such as stress management can have positive effects on caregivers' psychological well-being (Guay et al., 2017). Web-based mindfulness interventions (MBI)2 show promising results with beneficial health effects for healthy and clinical samples (de Vibe et al., 2012). A feasibility study and randomized controlled trial of the current online MBI showed positive significant results for families living with MI with enhanced levels of mindfulness and self-compassion, and decreased levels of caregiver burden and perceived stress (Stjernswärd and Hansson, 2016a; Stjernswärd and Hansson, 2017), combined with good usability and subjective value when using the program (Stjernswärd and Hansson, 2016b). Usability refers to the extent to which a specific user can use a specific product to reach specific goals, with purposefulness, effectiveness, and satisfaction, in a given context (ISO, 1998). Ease of access and flexibility of use were strong motivators for use (Stjernswärd and Hansson, 2016b). More studies are called for to verify the intervention's effectiveness for extended groups of caregivers. ...The current effectiveness study was designed as a randomized controlled trial with an experimental group and a wait-list control group (WLC), with measurements at baseline (T1), post intervention (T2) and at a 3-month follow-up (T3) on primary and secondary outcomes, and usability, in order to explore the effectiveness of the web-based mindfulness program in supporting caregivers to cope with their situation. 

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Caregivers’ experiences of a home support program after the hospital discharge of an older family member: a qualitative analysis

The ageing global population has seen increasing numbers of older people living with chronic health problems, declining function, and frailty. As older people seek to live out their years at home, family members, friends and neighbours (informal caregivers) are increasingly relied upon for support. Moreover, pressured health systems and shorter hospital length of stay mean that informal caregivers can find themselves supporting the older person who is still unwell after discharge. The Further Enabling Care at Home (FECH) program was developed as a nursing outreach intervention designed to systematically address support needs of family caregivers of older people after hospital discharge to sustain their home-based caregiving. The objective of this study was to explore the experiences of informal caregivers who participated in the FECH program after an older family member’s discharge from hospital.

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Specialist nursing support for unpaid carers of people with dementia: a mixed-methods feasibility study

Background: Unpaid carers are the mainstay of support for people with dementia. Admiral Nursing (AN) is the only specialist nursing service that specifically focuses on supporting such carers, but evidence of its effectiveness, costs and relationships with other health and social care services is limited. This project aimed to address this gap and explore the feasibility of a full-scale formal evaluation. Objectives: To explore the relationships between characteristics of carers and people with dementia, service type and input and outcomes; to develop and test data collection methods for subsequent economic evaluation; to explore the effect of AN on outcomes and costs, compared with usual care; to explore the perceived system-wide impact of specialist support for carers of people with dementia, compared with usual care; and to implement new data collection methods in AN, which could also be used by other services, to facilitate evaluation. Design: A mixed-methods study, using secondary analysis of an administrative data set, and primary (cross-sectional) quantitative and qualitative data collection. Setting: Qualitative research with carers in four areas of England; a survey of carers in 32 local authority areas (16 with and 16 without AN); and qualitative interviews with professionals in four areas. Participants: Thirty-five carers of people with dementia and 20 professionals were interviewed qualitatively; 346 carers completed in-scope questionnaires (46% through AN services and 54% from matched non-AN areas). Interventions: Specialist nursing support for carers of people with dementia (with AN as an exemplar) compared with usual care. Main outcome measures: The Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit for Carers; the EuroQol-5 Dimensions, five-level version; and the Caregiver Self-Efficacy for Managing Dementia Scale. Data sources: Dementia UK’s AN administrative data set. Results: Admiral Nurses are successfully targeting the most complex cases. They work predominantly with older carers who have the main responsibility for the person with dementia, who are heavily involved in caring activity and who may be at risk. Three outcome areas that are important to carers of people with dementia and are potentially affected by receiving support are (1) carer self-efficacy, (2) carer quality of life (3) and carer mental and physical health. The carers in the survey receiving support from AN were older, were more heavily involved in caring and had poorer outcomes than carers not in receipt of such support. When these differences were controlled for, carers supported by AN had better outcomes, although the differences did not reach statistical significance. Health and social care costs were similar in both groups. The perceived system-wide impact of services, such as AN, is not well understood by professional stakeholders. Limitations: Challenges were experienced in identifying similar carers in areas with or without an AN service and in the cross-sectional nature of the work. Conclusions: Specialist nursing support to carers of people with dementia may enable them to continue providing care to the end or very close to the end of the dementia journey. The outcomes for such carers may be no different from, or even slightly better than, those of similar carers without this support, although the costs to health and social care services are the same in each case. Future work: Future research could investigate the impact of specialist support for carers on admission to long-term care. There is also a need for more work to encourage routine use of the selected outcome measures in dementia service delivery. Funding: The National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research programme.

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A virtual reality intervention to improve the understanding and empathy for people with dementia in informal caregivers: results of a pilot study

Objective: Informal caregivers often experience psychological distress due to the changing functioning of the person with dementia they care for. Improved understanding of the person with dementia reduces psychological distress. To enhance understanding and empathy in caregivers, an innovative technology virtual reality intervention Through the D'mentia Lens (TDL) was developed to experience dementia, consisting of a virtual reality simulation movie and e-course. A pilot study of TDL was conducted. Methods: A pre-test–post-test design was used. Informal caregivers filled out questionnaires assessing person-centeredness, empathy, perceived pressure from informal care, perceived competence and quality of the relationship. At post-test, additional questions about TDL's feasibility were asked. Results: Thirty-five caregivers completed the pre-test and post-test. Most participants were satisfied with TDL and stated that TDL gave more insight in the perception of the person with dementia. The simulation movie was graded 8.03 out of 10 and the e-course 7.66. Participants significantly improved in empathy, confidence in caring for the person with dementia, and positive interactions with the person with dementia. Conclusion: TDL is feasible for informal caregivers and seems to lead to understanding of and insight in the experience of people with dementia. Therefore, TDL could support informal caregivers in their caregiving role.

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Family caregiver use and value of support services in the VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers

Context: The US Congress in 2010 established the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) healthcare system, expanding services for family caregivers of eligible veterans with injuries sustained or aggravated in the line of duty on or after 11 September 2001. The program includes a Caregiver Support Coordinator, stipends for caregivers, education/training, and additional services. Objective: The primary goal of this study was to examine the types of services that family caregivers of veterans use and value, how services are used and any limitations family caregivers’ experienced. Given that few interventions assess caregiver satisfaction with services, there is a gap in the existing literature addressing these outcomes. Methods: We assessed how caregivers use and value services with a national, web-based survey (N=1,407 caregivers) and semi-structured phone interviews (N=50 caregivers). Findings: Caregivers rated all services as helpful and especially valued financial support to be with the veteran, training in skills for symptom management, and assistance with navigating the healthcare system. A majority reported more confidence in caregiving, knowing about resources for caregiving and feeling better prepared to support the veteran’s progress and healthcare engagement. However, only a minority reported awareness of the full range of PCAFC services. Limitations: There was a low response rate to the survey, which may have implications for generalisability to the whole population of caregivers accessing PCAFC. Additionally, we rely on self-report rather than objective measures of service use and outcomes. Implications: This is the first in-depth examination of experiences of caregivers of using the innovative PCAFC model of support. It acknowledges the important role of caregivers in health and long-term (social) care delivery and can be used to inform development of strategies outside the VA healthcare system to recognise caregivers. Findings suggest that a system-wide program to effectively include caregivers as part of the care team should include mechanisms to help connect caregivers with an array of resources, options from which to find those which best fit their personal needs and preferences.

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Caregiver Appraisal Model: understanding and treating behaviours that challenge

Practice example of a model developed to support carers in understanding and dealing with challenging behaviours. The Caregiver appraisal model is a prospective model of caregiver stress which has been developed by Northumberland County Behaviour Support Service. The model was developed from work with seven family caregivers over 12 months and provides a framework for managing their distress based on their appraisals of the situations confronting them. It is a cognitive behavioural model. The article describes how the model was developed, how it works and points of practice. Interventions directed at the person with dementia need to address unmet need. Interventions focusing on the caregiver cover three areas: psychoeducation, behavioural interventions and cognitive interventions. The authors conclude that the approach has been positively received by carers, although the sample size of cases is currently small and wider testing is required to validate its efficacy.

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Indicators to estimate the appropriateness of activating interventions for people living with dementia and for their informal caregivers

Objectives: Dyadic activating interventions support both people with dementia and their informal caregivers to maintain activities. For a person-cantered approach referrers need insight in how specific interventions might meet individual needs, characteristics, and preferences of a dyad. This study aimed to develop a set of indicators for three psychosocial dyadic, activating interventions. Method: This study used the ‘RAND Appropriateness Method’ directed at agreement on indicators within a panel of experts. Qualitative research had identified 31 relevant conceptual indicators. A panel of 12 experts in dementia care rated the extent to which these indicators are recognizable in their clinical practice. Indicators with median ratings in the top third segment of the nine-point-scale were considered recognizable. Results: 18/31 conceptual indicators (58%) were found recognizable in 75%–90% of the panelists’ clients. Although consensus on the recognisability of some indicators about the need or preference for physical and social activities was lacking, the respondents nevertheless recommended including these in regular assessments. Other indicators were judged too difficult to recognize in clinical practice. Conclusion: The selected indicators offer guidance to referrers on what intervention(s) to choose, and discuss the appropriateness in a shared decision-making process, thus contributing to a person-cantered approach.

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Dementia caregivers’ coping with pre-death grief: effects of a CBT-based intervention

Objectives: Pre-death grief plays a significant role in dementia caregiving, and has adverse impacts on caregivers. It was the purpose of the present study to examine whether a cognitive-behavioural intervention including a grief intervention module could increase caregivers’ coping with pre-death grief and whether these effects could be maintained as of a six-month follow-up assessment. Method: In a randomized-controlled trial examining the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioural intervention, 273 caregivers were allocated to either an intervention or control group. Intervention group participants received 12 therapy sessions over six months; all participants completed a measure of pre-death grief. The analysis was conducted using latent change models. In the first model, study group was included as a predictor of change in pre-death grief; subsequent models also included care situation and sociodemographic variables. Results: The burden due to pre-death grief was reduced for intervention but not control group participants at the time of the six-month follow-up assessment (Cohen's d = −0.361). When controlling for changes in the care situation and sociodemographic variables, the treatment effect was also found in the assessment completed post intervention (Cohen's d = −0.248). Conclusion: Results indicate that a cognitive-behavioural intervention including grief-specific strategies can successfully foster caregivers’ coping with loss and reduce burden of pre-death grief.

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Dealing with daily challenges in dementia (deal-id study): process evaluation of the experience sampling method intervention ‘Partner in Sight’ for spousal caregivers of people with dementia

Objectives: This study describes the process evaluation of the experience sampling method (ESM) intervention ‘Partner in Sight’ for spousal caregivers of people with dementia. The aim was to determine internal and external validity of the intervention and provide information for future implementation in clinical practice. Method: Qualitative and quantitative data on sampling quality (recruitment and randomization, reach) and intervention quality (relevance and feasibility, adherence to protocol) were evaluated using descriptive statistics and conventional content analysis. Results: The participation rate included 31.4%. Due to recruitment difficulties and time constraints the original goal to include 90 caregivers was not met. The intervention was largely performed according to protocol and well received by the participants. Overall, the ESM-derived feedback was considered supportive and increased participants’ awareness of their feelings and behaviour. A large variance was found in the extent to which caregivers applied the feedback into their daily lives. The importance of the personal coach to provide face-to-face feedback and stimulate caregivers to implement new insights into their daily lives was emphasized. Suggestions for improvement were to reduce the time intensity of the programme, to better tailor the programme content to one's personal situation, and to improve the ESM device. Conclusion: Although recruitment barriers were encountered, results indicate that future implementation of the ESM intervention ‘Partner in Sight’ is likely to be feasible in regular health care. If the intervention turns out to be (cost-) effective, a fine-tuned version of the programme could be a valuable addition to the current health care system.

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Which interventions work for dementia family carers?: An updated systematic review of randomized controlled trials of carer interventions

Objective: The aim of this study was to update the literature on interventions for carers of people with dementia published between 2006 and 2016 and evaluate the efficacy of psychoeducational programs and psychotherapeutic interventions on key mental health outcomes (depression, anxiety, burden, and quality of life). Methods: A meta-analysis was carried out of randomized controlled trials of carer interventions using MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Results: The majority of studies were conducted in Western and Southern Europe or the United States and recruited carers of people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia grouped as a whole. The most commonly used outcome measures were depression and burden across studies. The updated evidence suggested that psychoeducation-skill building interventions delivered face-to-face can better impact on burden. Psychotherapeutic interventions underpinned by Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) models demonstrated strong empirical support for treating anxiety and depression and these effects were not affected by the mode of delivery (i.e. face-to-face vs. technology). A modern CBT approach, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), seemed to be particularly beneficial for carers experiencing high levels of anxiety. Conclusions: Future research needs to explore the efficacy of interventions on multiple clinical outcomes and which combination of interventions (components) would have the most significant effects when using CBT. The generalization of treatment effects in different countries and carers of different types of dementia also need to be addressed. More research is needed to test the efficacy of modern forms of CBT, such as ACT.

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Internet-based interventions aimed at supporting family caregivers of people with dementia: systematic review

Background: Caring for someone with dementia is one of the most challenging caring roles. The need for support for family caregivers has been recognized for some time but is often still lacking. With an aging population, demand on health and social care services is growing, and the population is increasingly looking to the internet for information and support. Objective: In this review, we aimed to (1) identify the key components of existing internet-based interventions designed to support family caregivers of people with dementia, (2) develop an understanding of which components are most valued by caregivers, and (3) consider the evidence of effectiveness of internet-based interventions designed to support family caregivers of people with dementia. Methods: We conducted a systematic search of online databases in April 2018. We searched reference lists and tracked citations. All study designs were included. We adopted a narrative synthesis approach with thematic analysis and tabulation as tools. Results: We identified 2325 studies, of which we included 40. The interventions varied in the number and types of components, duration and dose, and outcomes used to measure effectiveness. The interventions focused on (1) contact with health or social care providers, (2) peer interaction, (3) provision of information, (4) decision support, and (5) psychological support. The overall quality of the studies was low, making interpretation and generalizability of the effectiveness findings difficult. However, most studies suggested that interventions may be beneficial to family caregiver well-being, including positive impacts on depression, anxiety, and burden. Particular benefit came from psychological support provided online, where several small randomized controlled trials suggested improvements in caregiver mental health. Provision of information online was most beneficial when tailored specifically for the individual and used as part of a multicomponent intervention. Peer support provided in online groups was appreciated by most participants and showed positive effects on stress. Finally, online contact with a professional was appreciated by caregivers, who valued easy access to personalized practical advice and emotional support, leading to a reduction in burden and strain. Conclusions: Although mixed, the results indicate a positive response for the use of internet-based interventions by caregivers. More high-quality studies are required to identify the effectiveness of internet interventions aimed at supporting family caregivers, with particular focus on meeting the needs of caregivers during the different stages of dementia.

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The carers' covenant

Based on the findings from research, this report makes recommendations provide better support for carers. The 12 policy recommendations cover five key themes of financial assistance, employment, identification and support, support networks and technology. Together, the policies together form a covenant for carers. The research looked at who informal carers are and the amount of care they provide, explored the experience of informal carers through two focus groups, and looked at the support available for carers internationally. The research found that the number of informal carers and the amount of care they provide has increased in recent years; that carers are often extremely stretched and overworked as a result of their responsibilities; and that the UK lags behind eight other countries examined for their support for carers - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Japan. It makes recommendations which aim to deliver greater financial security for informal carers, give them a better work/life balance, help ensure that carers are better identified, improve carers' access to peer support, and ensure that better use is made of the potential of technology to support carers. The recommendations include the introduction of a new Universal Carer’s Income for all carers providing more than 35 hours a week.

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Intergenerational flows of support between parents and adult children in Britain

Understanding patterns of intergenerational support is critical within the context of demographic change, such as changing family structures and population ageing. Existing research has focused on intergenerational support at a given time in the individuals' lifecourse, e.g. from adult children towards older parents and vice versa; however, few studies have focused on the dynamic nature of such support. Analysing data from the 1958 National Child Development Study, this paper investigates the extent to which the receipt of parental help earlier in the lifecourse affects the chances of adult children reciprocating with support towards their parents later in life. The findings show that three-quarters of mid-life adults had received some support from their parents earlier in life, and at age 50 more than half were providing care to their parents. Patterns of support received and provided across the lifecourse differ markedly by gender, with sons being more likely to have received help with finances earlier in the lifecourse, and daughters with child care. The results highlight that care provision towards parents was associated with support receipt earlier in life. However, the degree of reciprocity varies according to the type of care provided by children. Such findings have implications for informal care provision by adult children towards future cohorts of older people, and by extension, the organisation of social care.

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Updated meta-review of evidence on support for carers

Objective: To update a 2010 meta-review of systematic reviews of effective interventions to support carers of ill, disabled, or older adults. This article reports on the most promising interventions based on the best available evidence. Methods: Rapid meta-review of systematic reviews published from January 2009 to 2016. Results: Sixty-one systematic reviews were included (27 high quality, 25 medium quality, and nine low quality). The quality of reviews has improved since the original review, but primary studies remain limited in quality and quantity. Fourteen high quality reviews focused on carers of people with dementia, four on carers of those with cancer, four on carers of people with stroke, three on carers of those at the end of life with various conditions, and two on carers of people with mental health problems. Multicomponent interventions featured prominently, emphasizing psychosocial or psychoeducational content, education and training. Improved outcomes for carers were reported for mental health, burden and stress, and wellbeing or quality of life. Negative effects were reported in reviews of respite care. As with earlier work, there was little robust evidence on the cost-effectiveness of reviewed interventions. Conclusions: There is no ‘one size fits all’ intervention to support carers. There is potential for effective support in specific groups of carers, such as shared learning, cognitive reframing, meditation, and computer-delivered psychosocial support for carers of people with dementia. For carers of people with cancer, effective support may include psychosocial interventions, art therapy, and counselling. Carers of people with stroke may also benefit from counselling. More good quality, theory-based, primary research is needed.

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Barriers to receipt of social care services for working carers and the people they care for in times of austerity

Reconciliation of unpaid care and employment is an increasingly important societal, economic and policy issue, both in the UK and internationally. Previous research shows the effectiveness of formal social care services in enabling carers to remain in employment. Using quantitative and qualitative data collected from carers and the person they care for in 2013 and 2015, during a period of cuts to adult social care in England, we explore barriers experienced to receipt of social care services. The main barriers to receipt of services identified in our study were availability, characteristics of services such as quality, and attitudes of carer and care-recipient to receiving services. These barriers have particular implications for carers' ability to reconcile care and employment.

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Spouse carers: the importance of motivation

Family carers are a crucial resource in the care and support of people with dementia, but their motivations for caring can make the difference between success and failure. The author discusses his study of support workers' views on the way motivations can change and undermine carers' health.

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Cognitive behavioral therapies for informal caregivers of patients with cancer and cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Objective: Informal caregivers (ICs) of patients with cancer and cancer survivors report a number of psychological and physical complaints because of the burden associated with providing care. Given the documented effect of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) on ICs' common psychological complaints, such as anxiety and depression, the objective was to conduct a meta-analysis on the effect of CBTs for adult ICs. Methods: A literature search was conducted in order to identify all intervention studies on adult ICs that employed at least one therapeutic component defined as a CBT component. Results: Literature searches revealed 36 unique records with sufficient data. These studies were subjected to meta-analyses using random effects models. A small, statistically significant effect of CBTs (Hedge's g?=?0.08, p?=?0.014) was revealed, which disappeared when randomized controlled trials were evaluated alone (g?=?0.04, p?=?0.200). A number of variables were explored as moderators. Only the percentage of female participants was positively associated with the effect size. Conclusions: Based on the negligible effect of CBTs across outcomes, future studies should consider moving beyond traditional CBT methods as these do not appear efficacious. It is suggested that future interventions orient towards advances in the basic affective sciences and derived therapies in order to better understand and treat the emotional struggles experienced by ICs. References

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Carers of people affected by cancer and other long-term conditions at end of life: A qualitative study of providing a bespoke package of support in a rural setting

Background: A UK charity, Macmillan Cancer Support has funded a local intervention, whereby carers of people affected by cancer and other long-term conditions at end of life are offered a bespoke package of support. Aim: This short report describes the qualitative experiences of carers in receipt of the intervention. Design: Qualitative research utilising in-depth interviews. Discussions were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Setting/participants: Participants were carers (n = 10) in receipt of the intervention. Interviews were conducted between August and September 2014 in Lincolnshire (England). Results: Five themes from the interviews were identified: (1) Awareness and advertising, (2) focus of support on the carer, (3) modes of communication, (4) personal attributes and skills of the support worker (5) streamlining and signposting. Conclusion: The intervention was successful within a social care setting. The participants had no overtly negative opinions on the service in its current format and all held it in high regard. Carers felt a sense of reassurance from having background support and maintained that their situation would have been worse had this support not been there.

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Correlates of caregiver participation in a brief, community-based dementia care management program

Purpose of the Study: The evidence base for dementia care management interventions for informal caregivers (CGs) is strong, yet enrolment and sustained engagement in academic and community-based research trials is low. This study sought to examine rates and correlates of participation in a community-based, telephone-delivered dementia care management programme designed to address logistic and practical barriers to participation in CG trials and services. Design and Methods: Participants included 290 CGs of older, community-dwelling, low-income care recipients (CRs) who met criteria for enrolment in a collaborative dementia care management programme that provides assessment, psychosocial support and education, and connection to community resources via telephone. Cross-sectional analyses examined the association between CG-related (e.g., financial status, relationship to CR, caregiving burden) and CR-related (e.g., functional limitations, symptom severity) factors and CG enrolment and engagement. Results: The majority of CGs were non-Hispanic White, female, financially stable, and adult children of the CRs. Over half of CGs lived with the CR and provided 20 or more hours of care per week. Roughly half of CGs refused care management services. Adjusted logistic regression models revealed that perceived caregiving burden and financial status were related to initial enrolment and engagement in services once enrolled, respectively. Implications: A significant proportion of CGs refuse free, convenient, evidence-based dementia care management services, underscoring the need for further examination of correlates of programme acceptance. Nonetheless, community-based programmes that address barriers may improve enrolment and engagement rates among CGs, including those who are especially vulnerable to negative CG and CR outcomes.

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Acceptance of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology among dementia clients and family caregivers

The purpose of this study was to examine the acceptance of Global Positioning System (GPS) used to help people with dementia, who are at risk for wandering in their communities. The authors used a mixed methods research approach that included use logs, pre and post paper-based questionnaires, and focus groups. Forty-five client-caregiver pairs (dyads) were included to use one of the GPS devices for an average of 5.8 months over a 1-year period. GPS acceptance was high; dyads were likely to continue using the GPS. According to the participants, the GPS provided caregivers peace of mind and reduced anxiety in dyads when clients got lost.

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Is it time to create a new nurse role dedicated to helping carers?

Informal carers play a vital role in enabling people with ongoing support needs to be cared for at home, but this has a negative impact on carers' own health and wellbeing. Although community nurses are well placed to identify and support carers, falling numbers of district nurses and the increasing needs of an ageing population mean they have limited time and so focus on patients. This article proposes the creation of a 'carer support nurse' role entirely dedicated to supporting carers.

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Carers, along with patients, should be at the heart of care

Croft appreciates that while caring is a rewarding experience, the responsibility of supporting others can take its toll: indeed, people who provide substantial care are at 50% greater risk of experiencing mental health problems themselves. The burden of caring can be objective and subjective. For carers to fulfil their roles and feel supported doing so, it is essential for nurses to be empathetic and compassionate, and provide information, as well as offering a carer's assessment. Designing services in partnership with patients and carers is at the heart of her aspirations for a service that meets people's needs.

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Peer support for carers of people with dementia

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of Compass workers: a commissioned peer support model to support those caring for someone with dementia. Design/methodology/approach: The paper offers a descriptive summary of how Compass workers came to be and is informed by consultations with key stakeholders and a service evaluation encompassing both quantitative and qualitative aspects. Findings: The findings suggest that it is possible to make use of a peer support model to support those caring for someone with dementia in the context of support being provided to the cared for by statutory services. Both quantitative and qualitative data supported improvements in the quality of life for carers. Originality/value: Both health and social care are facing increasing pressures. This paper offers a positive approach to addressing these pressures utilising a peer support model to support carers that may be of value to others facing similar challenges.

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Information and communication technology-mediated support for working carers of older family members: an integrative literature review

How best to support working carers is being paid increased attention across Europe and internationally. This article examines a largely unexplored area within the empirical literature, namely, information and communication technology-mediated support for working carers of older people. Using an integrative review methodology to draw on both quantitative and qualitative data, 14 studies were identified. Themes included making work–life balance easier, reducing the burden of caregiving and promoting well-being. Factors to consider in the design, implementation and evaluation of innovative support solutions for working carers are put forward. However, a lack of longitudinal studies and biased samples warrants further investigation.

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When looking after a loved-one is too much: caring for carers

For community nurses, the first step in ensuring a carer's wellbeing is to be mindful of not adding to the person's burden themselves. To create and maintain safe and effective care for patients relies on collaboration between nurses and the families and carers, which may involve nurses delegating caring duties to a carer. But, in line with the professional code, this should only happen if the carer is competent, supervised, supported, and understands the task, its complexity and expected outcomes (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2015). Community nurse should also identify carer support services and resources locally, and signpost the carer to them. It might help to prepare a 'local resource pack', containing information carers might need to know and highlighting the support they are entitled to, including statutory and non-statutory sources. 

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Dementia cafes: recommendations from interviews with informal carers

Purpose: Dementia cafes (also known as Alzheimer’s or memory cafes) have been running in the UK since 2000. The purpose of this paper is to report on the recommendations from recent research that interviewed family carers on their experiences of using the cafes. Design/methodology/approach: The research was carried out in cafes in and around London, and focussed on informal, unpaid carers’ experiences of using them. In total, 11 carers from five different dementia cafes were interviewed, using semi-structured questionnaires. The results were thematically analysed. Findings: The findings showed that carers had an overwhelming appreciation of the cafes and what they offered, but several of the findings led to the recommendations about the recruitment and training of cafe co-ordinators; how cafes present themselves and their services and how they can offer dedicated support to informal carers. Originality/value: These recommendations will be of use to cafe organisers and commissioners, especially considering the dearth of information currently available in this area.

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Innovative employers enhance caregiver benefits

[...]by 2040 the percentage of people aged 65 and older will have nearly doubled to nearly 22%, up from 13% in 2010. According to the Families and Work Institute’s 2016 National Study of Employers, 42% of employers offer elder care resource and referral services and 78% provide some amount of either paid or unpaid time off for employees who need to care for aging relatives. [...]25% of all family caregivers are younger millennials and 50% are under the age of 50. [...]recently, however, employees with elder care responsibilities had to use their paid time-off days or take an unpaid FMLA leave.

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Caregivers had neighbourhood support but perceived it unsatisfactory and worsened: England Community Life Survey, 2012–2014

There has been limited research studying neighbourhood support for caregivers. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the support from neighbourhoods between both caregivers and non-caregivers in a country-wide and population-based setting. Data were retrieved from England Community Life Survey, 2012–2014, a new annual household survey conducted by face-to-face interview since 2012, with a representative sample size of 5–6000 adult (aged 16 years and over) resident per year in England. Chi-square test and logistic regression modelling were performed to examine the variance in support from and perception toward neighbourhoods between caregivers and non-caregivers. Of 15,320 study participants, 2315 (16.0%) had a caring responsibility. There was not much variance in feeling belonging, comfortably asking neighbours to keep keys, comfortably asking neighbours to mind children, believing neighbours pulling together and trusting people in the neighbourhood between caregivers and non-caregivers. However, caregivers seemed to be more likely to chat to neighbours (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.69–0.87, P < 0.001) and comfortably ask neighbours to help collect grocery (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.81–0.98, P = 0.023). In addition, caregivers tended to perceive their neighbourhoods unsatisfactory (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.05–1.32, P = 0.007) and worsened in the last 2 years (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.22–1.51, P < 0.001). For future research, a longitudinal neighbourhood monitoring surveillance for all people would be suggested. For practice and policy, environmental health and nursing programs might need to extend education trainings and interventions to cover all neighbourhoods at different time points that can lessen both disease and caregiving burden and therefore optimize health and quality of life.

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Development of an optimised key worker framework for people with dementia, their family and caring unit living in the community

Background In Australia, dementia is a national health priority. With the rising number of people living with dementia and shortage of formal and informal carers predicted in the near future, developing approaches to coordinating services in quality-focused ways is considered an urgent priority. Key worker support models are one approach that have been used to assist people living with dementia and their caring unit coordinate services and navigate service systems; however, there is limited literature outlining comprehensive frameworks for the implementation of community dementia key worker roles in practice. In this paper an optimised key worker framework for people with dementia, their family and caring unit living in the community is developed and presented. Methods A number of processes were undertaken to inform the development of a co-designed optimised key worker framework: an expert working and reference group; a systematic review of the literature; and a qualitative evaluation of 14 dementia key worker models operating in Australia involving 14 interviews with organisation managers, 19 with key workers and 15 with people living with dementia and/or their caring unit. Data from the systematic review and evaluation of dementia key worker models were analysed by the researchers and the expert working and reference group using a constant comparative approach to define the essential components of the optimised framework. Results The developed framework consisted of four main components: overarching philosophies; organisational context; role definition; and key worker competencies. A number of more clearly defined sub-themes sat under each component. Reflected in the framework is the complexity of the dementia journey and the difficulty in trying to develop a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Conclusions This co-designed study led to the development of an evidence based framework which outlines a comprehensive synthesis of components viewed as being essential to the implementation of a dementia key worker model of care in the community. The framework was informed and endorsed by people living with dementia and their caring unit, key workers, managers, Australian industry experts, policy makers and researchers. An evaluation of its effectiveness and relevance for practice within the dementia care space is required.

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DSHS rolls out two new caregiver support services

Ultimately, programs aim to help seniors stay in homes. The Washington state Department of Social and Health Services has rolled out new services for unpaid caregivers. Bea Rector, Olympia-based director of the home and community services division within the Aging and Long Term Support Administration of DSHS, says the services are designed to help at-home clients and care recipients and may also have financial savings. Like the Family Caregiver Support Program, Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington subcontracts MAC and TSOA assessments and resources through Elder Services of Spokane, a division of Frontier Behavioral Health.

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Microsoft introduces family caregiver leave benefit

Microsoft has upped the ante on its already-enviable employee benefits package by adding paid leave for employees who need to take care of an ailing family member. According to recent research from the Northeast Business Group on Health and AARP, caregiving is among the top 10 employee health and wellness benefits priorities for employers, and most employers agree that in the next five years, caregiving is going to become an increasingly important issue among employees.

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Suddenly, You're a Caregiver

[...]parties, including health-care providers, government agencies, care facilities, and financial institutions, may expect or require that your legal authority to make decisions or provide consent be based on more than being a concerned and loving caregiver. The Social Security Administration can give limited decision authority over Social Security benefits through the title of representative payee. [...]there are frequently many misunderstandings about the basics of this arrangement: * You can't get a power of attorney over someone; it has to be given to you. * The person giving the power of attorney (the principal) must have the legal capacity to understand the authority being delegated. * Agents have the authority to do only those things that are given to them. * Agents must make decisions the way the principal wants, not the way they would do for themselves. A power of attorney could include the authority, for instance, to manage investments, pay bills, collect debts, file lawsuits, sell real estate, negotiate with insurance companies, sell a home or a car, access bank accounts, sign income tax returns, apply for public benefits, or make gifts to charities. To sort out Part A (hospital), Part ? (medical insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage plans) and Part D (prescription drugs, also called Extra Help), go to www.medicare.gov. Social Security--Your elderly parent may qualify for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs or Supplemental Security income through Social Security. Some states have a program that allows family members to be paid as family caregivers to help...

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Stakeholder Meeting: Integrated Knowledge Translation Approach to Address the Caregiver Support Gap

Family caregivers are an integral and increasingly overburdened part of the health care system. There is a gap between what research evidence shows is beneficial to caregivers and what is actually provided. Using an integrated knowledge translation approach, a stakeholder meeting was held among researchers, family caregivers, caregiver associations, clinicians, health care administrators, and policy makers. The objectives of the meeting were to review current research evidence and conduct multi-stakeholder dialogue on the potential gaps, facilitators, and barriers to the provision of caregiver supports. A two-day meeting was attended by 123 individuals. Three target populations of family caregivers were identified for discussion: caregivers of seniors with dementia, caregivers in end-of-life care, and caregivers of frail seniors with complex health needs. The results of this meeting can and are being used to inform the development of implementation research endeavours and policies targeted at providing evidence-informed caregiver supports.

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Business Should Embrace Paid Caregiver Leave

Professional services firm Deloitte made headlines last year when it unveiled its plan, offering employees up to 16 weeks of paid time off per year to look after a parent or family member as well as for the birth or adoption of a child. AARP also introduced a program under which its full- and part-time employees may request up to two regularly scheduled workweeks of paid time off per calendar year to assist a family member who is ill or needs physical or medical assistance. LĪ] Scott Frisch is executive vice president and chief operating officer at AARP in Washington, D.C. There is great interest-particularly among working women-in having more workplace flexibility and support.

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How can employers do more to support eldercare in the workplace?

Employers are increasingly finding ways to support workers who are juggling jobs, children, and looking after elderly parents. A new era of flexible working is making life easier for carers. For employers that want to do more, concierge-style support programmes are an avenue to explore.

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Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Unveils 'Embracing Carers' Initiative

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has launched Embracing Carers, a global initiative to recognize and raise awareness of the crucial role of unpaid caregivers.

  • New findings address the emotional, financial and health implications of being an unpaid caregiver
  • 42% of unpaid caregivers surveyed report putting the health of the person they are caring for above their own; more than half report their physical health has suffered
  • Leading organizations come together to raise caregiver challenges as a public health priority
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Carers' beliefs about counselling: a community participatory study in Wales

This interpretivist community participatory study explores carers’ beliefs about the potential usefulness of counselling in relation to the caring role. Twenty semi-structured interviews with carers were transcribed and analysed thematically. All participants thought counselling could potentially be helpful to carers, but their ideas about the ways in which it would help varied according to whether or not they had personal experience of counselling. Only carers with counselling experience had an awareness of counselling as focussing on changing feelings, thoughts, attitudes and behaviours. The implications of the findings for the provision of counselling services are discussed.

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Health of caregiver-employees in Canada

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of various employment characteristics on the health of Canadian caregiver-employees (CEs), who are working full-time in the labor market while also providing informal/family care to adults. Design/methodology/approach Framed with Pearlin et al.’s (1990) stress model and using data from Statistic Canada’s General Social Survey Cycle 26 (2012), several work-related variables for caregivers were considered, including the availability of various forms of caregiver-friendly workplace policies (CFWPs), and a series of work interferences (WIs) experienced as a result of the caregiving role. Findings This study provides evidence for the value of CFWPs in all workplaces. Counter-intuitively, family and other forms of support were found to negatively relate to both physical and mental health. Originality/value This suggests that CFWPs will not only have an impact on CEs’ physical health outcomes, but will likely decrease the effect of the WIs experienced.

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Dyadic psychological intervention for patients with cancer and caregivers in home-based specialized palliative care: The Domus model

Objective: Patients with incurable cancer and their informal caregivers have numerous psychological and psychosocial needs. Many of these patients wish to receive their care and die at home. Few home-based specialized palliative care (SPC) interventions systematically integrate psychological support. We present a psychological intervention for patient–caregiver dyads developed for an ongoing randomized controlled trial (RCT) of home-based SPC, known as Domus, as well as the results of an assessment of its acceptability and feasibility. Method: The Domus model of SPC for patients with incurable cancer and their caregivers offered systematic psychological assessment and dyadic intervention as part of interdisciplinary care. Through accelerated transition to SPC, the aim of the model was to enhance patients' chances of receiving care and dying at home. Integration of psychological support sought to facilitate this goal by alleviating distress in patients and caregivers. Psychologists provided needs-based sessions based on existential-phenomenological therapy. Feasibility and acceptability were investigated by examining enrollment, nonparticipation, and completion of psychological sessions. Results: Enrollment in the RCT and uptake of the psychological intervention indicated that it was feasible and acceptable to patients and caregivers. The strengths of the intervention included its focus on dyads, psychological distress, and existential concerns, as well as interdisciplinary collaboration and psychological interventions offered according to need. Its main limitation was a lack of an intervention for other family members. Significance of Results: Our results show that psychological intervention can be systematically integrated into SPC and that it appears feasible to provide dyadic needs-based sessions with an existential therapeutic approach. The Domus RCT will provide evidence of the efficacy of a novel model of multidisciplinary SPC

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Mental health carers' experiences of an Australian Carer Peer Support program: Tailoring supports to carers' needs

Carer Peer Support Workers (CPSWs) are people who have lived experience as carers/family members of persons with a mental illness, and are employed to provide support to other carers/family members. This qualitative study aimed to explore carers' experiences within a community-based CPSW pilot program in an Australian mental health service. Semi-structured phone interviews were conducted with 20 carer participants in 2015, 5-10 months following their last contact with the service. Thematic analysis uncovered that carers were generally positive about the CPSW's emotional support, practical support, shared lived experience and mutual understanding, and the "ripple effect" the support had on service users. Some carers, on the other hand, felt that the support was unnecessary; either because they believed that it did not have a lasting effect, the focus should have been on the service user, or that they had previously received enough support. Nevertheless, the study highlighted how mental health services could best utilise and benefit from CPSWs. Moreover, to be most useful, the nature of the carer peer support work should be tailored to the specific needs of the carers; which may vary according to their culture, years of caring experience, and previous experiences with mental health services.

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Remini-Sing: A Feasibility Study of Therapeutic Group Singing to Support Relationship Quality and Wellbeing for Community-Dwelling People Living With Dementia and Their Family Caregivers

Background: Living at home following a diagnosis of dementia can be difficult for both the person living with dementia (PwD) and their family caregivers (FCG). Active group music participation may provide an avenue for emotional release, offer psychosocial support to caregivers and stimulate meaningful interaction between caregivers and loved ones with dementia. Therapeutic music interventions also have the capacity to facilitate reminiscence and social engagement and can help to manage challenging symptoms associated with dementia, such as anxiety, apathy, and agitation. Method: This feasibility study examined the acceptability of a 20-week therapeutic group singing intervention (Remini-Sing) and quantitative research assessments for PwD/FCG dyads living in the community. Quantitative measures for the following outcomes were tested for sensitivity and acceptability: relationship quality (PwD and FCG); life satisfaction, caregiver satisfaction, flourishing, and depression for FCGs; and anxiety, apathy, agitation, and quality of life for PwD. Quantitative assessments were conducted before, during (midway) and after 20 weeks of participation in a therapeutic singing group attended by the PwD and FCG together. The Remini-Sing intervention incorporated vocal warm ups, singing familiar songs, learning new songs, and opportunities for social interaction. Qualitative interviews were conducted with all dyads that completed the intervention. Results: Twelve PWD/FCG dyads were recruited and enrolled in the study. High participation and retention rates indicated that the intervention was received favorably by participants. There were no statistically significant changes on measures from pre to post intervention. However, favorable baseline scores on relationship quality and wellbeing measures were sustained over the 20-week intervention. The testing of these measures for feasibility also revealed that some were too difficult for PwD and thus yielded questionable results, some were potentially less relevant, and there were likely floor and ceiling effects on several of the measures utilized. Conclusions: This study demonstrated good feasibility for a research protocol and therapeutic group singing intervention for community-dwelling PwD and their FCGs. Participant reflections and researcher observations yielded useful information guiding the selection of quantitative outcome measures for future research in this area.

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The impact of early psychosocial intervention on self‐efficacy of care recipient/carer dyads living with early‐stage dementia—A mixed‐methods study

Aim To evaluate the effect of a targeted community‐based psychosocial intervention on self‐efficacy outcomes for care recipient/carer dyads living with early‐stage dementia. Background There is increasing interest in the role of self‐efficacy and self‐management structures in determining positive outcomes for people with dementia. The assumption is that care recipient/carer dyads who receive early support to identify and adjust to dementia‐related changes will cope better in the long term. Design An explanatory sequential mixed‐method design was employed. Primarily quantitative with qualitative data providing a supportive secondary role to expand on and illuminate the quantitative findings. Methods Eighty‐eight dyads were recruited and allocated on a regional basis to an intervention or control group. Intervention group dyads received the Early Diagnosis Dyadic Intervention. Control group dyads received two information manuals. Quantitative data were collected at three time points. Qualitative data were collected via evaluation questionnaires and semistructured interviews. Results Intervention structure, content, and delivery were acceptable to the dyads but few quantitative self‐efficacy findings reached statistical significance. Improvements in self‐efficacy were evident in the postintervention evaluation qualitative responses where dyads expressed greater confidence in identifying and accessing community support. Conclusion There is an urgent need for effective psychosocial interventions to help reduce the impact of dementia symptoms on patients, carers, and society. This study makes an important contribution to our understanding of the capacity of psychosocial interventions to improve self‐efficacy outcomes for care recipient/carer dyads with early‐stage dementia while also illustrating the challenges associated with measuring self‐efficacy in the early stages of the condition.

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Barriers and facilitators to the access to and use of formal dementia care: findings of a focus group study with people with dementia, informal carers and health and social care professionals in eight European countries

Background People with dementia and informal carers often access formal care late in the process of dementia. The barriers and facilitators to service use from the perspectives of different stakeholders involved are not well understood. Thus, we aimed to explore the barriers and facilitators of access to and utilisation of formal care from the perspectives of people with dementia, their informal carers and health and social care professionals. Method Focus groups with people with dementia, informal carers and professionals were conducted in eight European countries. Recruitment targeted people with dementia, informal carers with experience of formal care and professionals involved in providing (access to) formal care. Qualitative content analysis using open coding was used on a national level. Cross-national synthesis was based on the translated national reports. Results Overall, 55 focus groups with 261 participants were conducted, involving 51 people with dementia, 96 informal carers and 114 professionals. Sixteen categories describing barriers and facilitators were identified, referring to three global themes: Aspects related to 1) individuals involved, 2) the system or 3) overarching aspects. The attitudes and beliefs of people with dementia and their carers may have a major impact, and they often serve as barriers. Formal care was perceived as a threat to the individual independence of people with dementia and was thus avoided as long as possible. A healthcare professional serving as a constant key contact person could be an essential facilitator to overcome these barriers. Contact should be initiated proactively, as early as possible, and a trusting and consistent relationship needs to be established. Beyond that, the findings largely confirm former research and show that barriers to accessing and using formal care still exist across Europe despite a number of national and European initiatives. Conclusion Further investigations are needed to elaborate how the concept of a key contact person could be integrated with existing case management approaches and how the independence and autonomy of people with dementia can be strengthened when formal care needs to be accessed and used. These may be meaningful facilitators regarding enhanced access to formal care for people with dementia and their families. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12877-018-0816-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Impact of Internet-Based Interventions on Caregiver Mental Health: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Background: The health of informal caregivers of adults with chronic conditions is increasingly vital since caregivers comprise a large proportion of supportive care to family members living in the community. Due to efficiency and reach, internet-based interventions for informal caregivers have the potential to mitigate the negative mental health outcomes associated with caregiving. Objective: The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to examine the impact of internet-based interventions on caregiver mental health outcomes and the impact of different types of internet-based intervention programs. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane, and AgeLine databases were searched for randomized controlled trials or controlled clinical trials published from January 1995 to April 2017 that compared internet-based intervention programs with no or minimal internet-based interventions for caregivers of adults with at least 1 chronic condition. The inclusion criteria were studies that included (1) adult informal caregivers (aged 18 years or older) of adults living in the community with a chronic condition; (2) an internet-based intervention program to deliver education, support, or monitoring to informal caregivers; and (3) outcomes of mental health. Title and abstract and full-text screening were completed in duplicate. Data were extracted by a single reviewer and verified by a second reviewer, and risk of bias assessments were completed accordingly. Where possible, data for mental health outcomes were meta-analyzed. Results: The search yielded 7923 unique citations of which 290 studies were screened at full-text. Of those, 13 studies met the inclusion criteria; 11 were randomized controlled trials, 1 study was a controlled clinical trial, and 1 study comprised both study designs. Beneficial effects of any internet-based intervention program resulted in a mean decrease of 0.48 points (95% CI –0.75 to –0.22) for stress and distress and a mean decrease of 0.40 points (95% CI –0.58 to –0.22) for anxiety among caregivers. For studies that examined internet-based information and education plus professional psychosocial support, the meta-analysis results showed small to medium beneficial effect sizes of the intervention for the mental health outcomes of depression (–0.34; 95% CI –0.63 to –0.05) and anxiety (–0.36; 95% CI –0.66 to –0.07). Some suggestion of a beneficial effect on overall health for the use of information and education plus combined peer and professional support was also shown (1.25; 95% CI 0.24 to 2.25). Overall, many studies were of poor quality and were rated at high risk of bias. Conclusions: The review found evidence for the benefit of internet-based intervention programs on mental health for caregivers of adults living with a chronic condition, particularly for the outcomes of caregiver depression, stress and distress, and anxiety. The types of interventions that predominated as efficacious included information and education with or without professional psychological support, and, to a lesser extent, with combined peer and psychological support. Further high-quality research is needed to inform the effectiveness of interactive, dynamic, and multicomponent internet-based interventions. Trial Registration: PROSPERO CRD42017075436; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=75436 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/709M3tDvn)

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‘There is still so much inside’: The impact of personalised reminiscence, facilitated by a tablet device, on people living with mild to moderate dementia and their family carers

The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the impact of a home-based, personalised reminiscence programme facilitated through an iPad app on people living with dementia and their family carers. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 15 people living with dementia and 17 family carers from a region of the United Kingdom. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. Six key themes emerged related to usability (‘It’s part of my life now’); revisiting the past (‘Memories that are important to me’); home use (‘It was homely’); impact on the person living with dementia (‘It helped me find myself again’); gains and abilities (‘There is still so much inside’) and impact on relationships (‘It’s become very close’). These themes highlighted the impact of the reminiscence experience at an individual and relationship level for people living with dementia and their carers. The reminiscence experience also appeared to facilitate the development of new insights among participants that emphasised abilities and gains rather than disabilities and losses. The significance of personal memories was a core theme although this was not without its challenges, particularly if memories were distressing. The reminiscence experience was differentiated by individual roles. Carers tended to become more relationship-focused, whereas people living with dementia highlighted the significance of learning new skills. The study concluded that individual specific reminiscence supported by an iPad app can have a positive impact on people living with dementia and their carers at an individual and relationship level.

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Pilot of an acceptance and commitment therapy and schema group intervention for mental health carer's interpersonal problems

The use of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Schema group intervention with the mental health carer population has a strong justification: 1) There is a theoretical rationale for the role of experiential avoidance and negative expectations of relationships (and associated cognitive fusion) in underpinning mental health carers interpersonal problems; 2) Correlational data demonstrates that the processes targeted by ACT (i.e. experiential avoidance) and Schema therapy (i.e. negative expectations of relationships) are associated with mental health carer's experiences of interpersonal problems; 3) Existing studies demonstrate positive results for ACT based interventions with caregiver populations; 4) Multicomponent carer interventions with two conceptually different approaches have achieved more positive outcomes in prior studies. The current study aims to pilot an ACT and Schema group intervention for mental health carers’ interpersonal problems, examining acceptability and conducting preliminary assessment of effectiveness. 

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Understanding and responding to the needs of the carers of people with dementia in the UK, the US and beyond

...this paper explores:

  • Insights into the role and experience of carers in different national contexts
  • Good practice examples of services, organisations and approaches which have sought to improve support to the carers of people with dementia
  • Policy and practice recommendations for key stakeholders such as policy makers, welfare services and employers

Given the traditional focus of Walgreens Boots in the US and the UK (and given very different policy contexts and welfare mixes), the review focuses on these two countries, with additional insights from other countries prominent in the literature and representing different welfare regimes. After searching the literature and following dialogue with UK and US respondents, this includes:

  • Norway (as an example of developments in a Scandinavian system with a comprehensive welfare state, an emphasis on maximising labour market participation and a commitment to gender equality)
  • Australia (as an example of an Australasian country with strong links to the UK)
  • South Africa (as an example of an African country with a younger population but a growing recognition of future needs as the population ages, as well as challenges with HIV-associated dementia)

Throughout the paper, there is an overarching question about the extent to which different countries are ready for the implications of the demographic changes they face, and there are regular textboxes which pose questions to government, to employers, to health and social care, and to broader society to help them reflect on key themes.

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Can specially trained community care workers effectively support patients and their families in the home setting at the end of life?

Surveys indicate that many Australians would prefer to die at home, but relatively few do. Recognising that patients and their families may not have the support they need to enable end‐of‐life care at home, a consortium of care providers developed, and received funding to trial, the Palliative Care Home Support Program (PCHSP) across seven health districts in New South Wales, Australia. The programme aimed to supplement end‐of‐life care in the home provided by existing multidisciplinary community palliative care teams, with specialist supportive community care workers (CCWs). An evaluation of the service was undertaken, focussing on the self‐reported impact of the service on family carers (FCs), with triangulation of findings from community palliative care teams and CCWs. Service evaluation data were obtained through postal surveys and/or qualitative interviews with FCs, community palliative care teams and CCWs. FCs also reported the experience of their loved one based on 10 items drawn from the Quality of Death and Dying Questionnaire (QODD). Thematic analysis of surveys and interviews found that the support provided by CCWs was valued by FCs for: enabling choice (i.e. to realise end‐of‐life care in the home); providing practical assistance (“hands‐on”); and for emotional support and reassurance. This was corroborated by community palliative care teams and CCWs. Responses by FCs on the QODD items indicated that in the last week of life, effective control of symptoms was occurring and quality of life was being maintained. This study suggests that satisfactory outcomes for patients and their families who wish to have end‐of‐life care in the home can be enabled with the additional support of specially trained CCWs. A notable benefit of the PCHSP model, which provided specific palliative care vocational training to an existing community care workforce, was a relatively rapid increase in the palliative care workforce across the state.

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Early integrated palliative approach for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: A narrative study of bereaved caregivers’ experiences

Background: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has an uncertain and rapid trajectory after diagnosis. Palliative care is rarely utilized, although both patients and caregivers experience a distressingly high symptom burden. Most patients die in hospital. Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore bereaved caregivers’ experiences and perceptions of an early integrated palliative approach implemented at a Multidisciplinary Interstitial Lung Disease Clinic. Design: A narrative approach was used, with thematic and content analysis of open-ended interviews. Setting/participants: The clinic is located in a large western Canadian city. Caregivers of deceased patients were recruited through purposive sampling. The eight participants were either spouses or adult children. Results: Five major themes were identified: Having a Terminal Disease; Planning Goals and Wishes for Care; Living Life and Creating Memories; Feeling Strain and Responsibility; and Nearing the End. Caregivers had little understanding of prognosis prior to advance care planning conversations at the clinic. Advance care planning conversations enabled caregivers to know and support patients’ goals and wishes. Caregivers described feeling informed, prepared, and supported when death was near. They expressed neither distress nor anxiety related to patients’ symptoms or strain of relationships. Conclusion: Collaboration and close communication among caregivers, respirologists, and home care enabled effective symptom management and out of hospital deaths. Patients and caregivers had opportunities to enjoy events, create memories, determine preferences, and make plans. Further research on an early integrated palliative approach in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is warranted related to quality of life, experience with death and dying, and caregiver bereavement.

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Couples in Need of Home Care Services: Experiences With Support From Care Professionals

Many older people desire to remain in their homes and be cared for by a family member, but this arrangement requires support from care professionals. The aim was to describe how couples in need of home care services experienced the received support from care professionals. A qualitative design with content analysis was used. Data were collected through diaries and focus groups consisting of eight couples between 65 and 80 years, and two registered nurses. The main findings are described by the following categories: Organizational adapted, Withholding, Being in a gap, resulting in the theme Lack of professional support. Couples experienced shortcomings that were related to the organization, the care professionals, and the couples themselves. The theme Lack of professional support requires more knowledge.

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The role of the memory service in helping carers to prepare for end of life: A mixed methods study

Objectives: The objective of the study is to explore current practice and the role taken by UK memory services in helping carers of people with dementia prepare for the end of life. Methods: We used mixed methods including a survey (48 responses/51% response rate) and semistructured interviews (n = 12) with clinicians working in UK memory services accredited by the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme. We used descriptive statistics to report survey findings and thematically analysed interview and survey qualitative data. Results: Surveys: services routinely discussed with carers the progressive nature of dementia (89%), legal arrangements (health: 72%; finances: 74%), advance care planning (63%), and implications of loss of capacity (61%). Fewer services routinely discussed the terminal nature of dementia (41%) and meaning of death (11%) with carers. Most (89%) agreed that these conversations were in line with their role. Interview findings corresponded with survey findings. Themes included diagnosis considered too early to discuss end of life, discussions being inconsistent with a “living well” approach, people with dementia being resistant to conversations, and discussions of spirituality crossing professional boundaries. Services' capacity for follow‐up with carers impacted on ability to broach these topics. Conclusions: More in‐depth and distressing topics such as end of life and advance care planning require longer follow‐up to establish relationships to broach difficult topics. Variability in follow‐up practices between services created inequity in the extent to which memory services could address these topics. More research is required to investigate the best method for broaching these topics with carers and the person with mild dementia within different health care contexts.

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Effects of modified 8-week reminiscence therapy on the older spouse caregivers of stroke survivors in Chinese communities: A randomized controlled trial

Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of a modified 8‐week reminiscence therapy on the burden, positive experience, and life satisfaction of older spouse caregivers and the life satisfaction of stroke survivors. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial by using 75 older stroke couples recruited from communities in Zhengzhou, China. We randomly assigned participants to 1 of 3 groups: Group 1 (G1, 25 couples, all attend intervention) and Group 2 (G2, 22 couples, only caregivers attend intervention), who participated in a modified 8‐week reminiscence therapy, and a waiting list (control) group (G3, 28 couples). Interviewers blinded to treatment group assignment administered the life satisfaction to both stroke survivors and caregivers, caregiver burden, and positive experience for caregivers, at preintervention, immediately postintervention, and at 1 month and 3 months after cessation of the intervention. Results: We found a statistically significant interaction between treatment groups and assessment time points for the 4 outcome measures (P < .001). Although the effects were decreased after intervention at 1 month, the improvement in caregivers' positive experience, life satisfaction, burden, and life satisfaction of stroke survivors were still significant (P < .001). Conclusions: The use of a modified 8‐week reminiscence therapy in this study sample improved the life satisfaction of stroke survivors and their spouse caregivers, improved the positive experience of caregivers, and decreased the burden of caregivers.

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Help-seeking barriers and facilitators for affected family members of a relative with alcohol and other drug misuse: A qualitative study

Aims: To identify affected family members' (AFMs) experiences of barriers and facilitators to informal and formal help-seeking for themselves and on behalf of a close relative with alcohol and other drug (AOD) misuse. Methods: Qualitative study, informed by interpretative phenomenological analysis. Semi-structured, audio-recorded, telephone interviews were used to collect data from 31 AFMs. Results: AFMs experienced several overlapping and at times competing help-seeking obstacles and enablers in accessing informal and formal support for themselves and on behalf of their relative with AOD misuse, and these are reflected in two themes and associated sub-themes: barriers to help-seeking and facilitators to help-seeking. Five help-seeking barriers were abstracted from the data: Stigma discourages help-seeking, Difficulty locating informal and formal support services, Previous negative AOD service help-seeking experiences deter subsequent help-seeking, Hopelessness inhibits help-seeking, and Feeling undervalued as an AFM. Three help-seeking facilitators were abstracted from the data: Previous positive help-seeking experiences increase future help-seeking, Overcoming shame and isolation and being open with trusted significant others, and Persevering in help-seeking. Conclusions: AFMs who access informal and formal help sources for themselves, and on behalf of their relative, are more likely to sustain their important support-giving role. Measures to strengthen AFMs' capacity and willingness to support their relative should be founded on an understanding of factors that affect their own help-seeking in addition to those encountered when help-seeking on behalf of their relative. Our findings have implications for the visibility of AOD services and informal support groups on the Internet, organisational culture of some AOD services, valuing the contributions of AFMs, and protecting AFMs and their relatives' privacy. Our findings also have implications for reducing public stigma of AOD misuse, changing some AFMs' scepticism about treatment outcomes, and reinforcing and enhancing AFMs' skills in persevering with help-seeking.

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Help-seeking barriers and facilitators for affected family members of a relative with alcohol and other drug misuse: A qualitative study

Aims: To identify affected family members' (AFMs) experiences of barriers and facilitators to informal and formal help-seeking for themselves and on behalf of a close relative with alcohol and other drug (AOD) misuse. Methods: Qualitative study, informed by interpretative phenomenological analysis. Semi-structured, audio-recorded, telephone interviews were used to collect data from 31 AFMs. Results: AFMs experienced several overlapping and at times competing help-seeking obstacles and enablers in accessing informal and formal support for themselves and on behalf of their relative with AOD misuse, and these are reflected in two themes and associated sub-themes: barriers to help-seeking and facilitators to help-seeking. Five help-seeking barriers were abstracted from the data: Stigma discourages help-seeking, Difficulty locating informal and formal support services, Previous negative AOD service help-seeking experiences deter subsequent help-seeking, Hopelessness inhibits help-seeking, and Feeling undervalued as an AFM. Three help-seeking facilitators were abstracted from the data: Previous positive help-seeking experiences increase future help-seeking, Overcoming shame and isolation and being open with trusted significant others, and Persevering in help-seeking. Conclusions: AFMs who access informal and formal help sources for themselves, and on behalf of their relative, are more likely to sustain their important support-giving role. Measures to strengthen AFMs' capacity and willingness to support their relative should be founded on an understanding of factors that affect their own help-seeking in addition to those encountered when help-seeking on behalf of their relative. Our findings have implications for the visibility of AOD services and informal support groups on the Internet, organisational culture of some AOD services, valuing the contributions of AFMs, and protecting AFMs and their relatives' privacy. Our findings also have implications for reducing public stigma of AOD misuse, changing some AFMs' scepticism about treatment outcomes, and reinforcing and enhancing AFMs' skills in persevering with help-seeking.

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