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Novel technology as platform for interventions for caregivers and individuals with severe mental health illnesses: A systematic review

Background: Severe mental illnesses (SMIs) have been found to be associated with both increases in morbidity-mortality, need for treatment care in patients themselves, and burden for relatives as caregivers. A growing number of web-based and mobile software applications have appeared that aim to address various barriers with respect to access to care. Our objective was to review and summarize recent advancements in such interventions for caregivers of individuals with a SMI.; Methods: We conducted a systematic search for papers evaluating interactive mobile or web-based software (using no or only minimal support from a professional) specifically aimed at supporting informal caregivers. We also searched for those supporting patients with SMI so as to not to miss any which might include relatives.; Results: Out of a total of 1673 initial hits, we identified 11 articles reporting on 9 different mobile or web-based software programs. The main result is that none of those studies focused on caregivers, and the ones we identified using mobile or web-based applications were just for patients and not their relatives.; Limitations: Differentiating between online and offline available software might not always have been totally reliable, and we might have therefore missed some studies.; Conclusions: In summary, the studies provided evidence that remotely accessible interventions for patients with SMI are feasible and acceptable to patients. No such empirically evaluated program was available for informal caregivers such as relatives. Keeping in mind the influential role of those informal caregivers in the process of treatment and self-management, this is highly relevant for public health. Supporting informal caregivers can improve well-being of both caregivers and patients.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Review
Publisher
Elsevier/North-Holland Biomedical Press
ISBN/ISSN
1573-2517
Publication Year
2018
Issue Number
January
Journal Titles
Journal Of Affective Disorders
Volume Number
226
Start Page
169
End Page
177