Background: Relatively little attention has been given to the effects of caregiving context on the experience of family members providing care for a person with dementia. This review aims to examine the impact of caregiving on the quality of the relationship between caregiver and care-recipient and the impact of the quality of the relationship between the caregiver and care-recipient on the caregiver's and care-recipient's wellbeing.
Methods: This was a systematic review. Fifteen quantitative studies were identified that examined the quality of the relationship between caregivers and care-recipients who had dementia, meeting the criterion of using a measure of relationship quality beyond a single item.
Results: The findings show that caregiving can have an impact on the quality of the relationship between caregiver and care-recipient. In addition, pre-caregiving and current relationship quality appear to have an impact on caregiver's wellbeing. The care-recipient's needs for help with activities of daily living and level of behavioural problems were found to influence the caregiver's perceptions of relationship quality.
Conclusions: Future research should examine both current and pre-caregiving relationship quality. A better understanding of the role of relationship quality in determining the outcomes of caregiving will aid the development of more effective interventions for caregivers.