Objective: In this follow-up study, the long-term influence of group living homes (GLHs) on informal caregiver distress was compared with modern yet regular nursing homes (NHs).
Method: Informal caregivers of GLH (N = 37) and NH residents (N = 49) were studied at the time of admission, 6 months thereafter, and approximately 24 months after admission. Repeated measures of ANOVA were performed to study group-by-time effects on psychopathology, role overload, and feelings of competence.
Result: All outcomes of psychological distress in GLH caregivers showed significantly greater decline compared with NH caregivers during the first six months after admission. The course of psychological distress stabilized in both caregiver groups after six months.
Conclusion: GLHs may have played a role in reducing caregiver burden during the first six months after the nursing home admission of the care recipient. The stabilization of caregivers’ psychological distress between T1 and T2 may indicate that there is no further room for improvement in the GLH and NH groups after six months. The implication would be that both GLHs and NHs succeeded in keeping caregivers’ distress relatively low over the long term. More knowledge is needed on whether and how caregivers’ psychological distress after institutionalization of the care recipient can be reduced to a greater extent.