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Web-based health interventions for family caregivers of elderly individuals: A Scoping Review

Background: For the growing proportion of elders globally, aging-related illnesses are primary causes of morbidity causing reliance on family members for support in the community. Family caregivers experience poorer physical and mental health than their non-caregiving counterparts. Web-based interventions can provide accessible support to family caregivers to offset declines in their health and well-being. Existing reviews focused on web-based interventions for caregivers have been limited to single illness populations and have mostly focused on the efficacy of the interventions. We therefore have limited insight into how web-based interventions for family caregiver have been developed, implemented and evaluated across aging-related illness. Objectives: To describe: a) theoretical underpinnings of the literature; b) development, content and delivery of web-based interventions; c) caregiver usage of web-based interventions; d) caregiver experience with web-based interventions and e) impact of web-based interventions on caregivers’ health outcomes. Methods: We followed Arksey and O’Malley’s methodological framework for conducting scoping reviews which entails setting research questions, selecting relevant studies, charting the data and synthesizing the results in a report. Results: Fifty-three publications representing 32 unique web-based interventions were included. Over half of the interventions were targeted at dementia caregivers, with the rest targeting caregivers to the stroke, cancer, diabetes and general frailty populations. Studies used theory across the intervention trajectory. Interventions aimed to improve a range of health outcomes for caregivers through static and interactive delivery methods Caregivers were satisfied with the usability and accessibility of the websites but usage was generally low and declined over time. Depression and caregiver burden were the most common outcomes evaluated. The interventions ranged in their impact on health and social outcomes but reductions in perception of caregiver burden were consistently observed. Conclusions: Caregivers value interactive interventions that are tailored to their unique needs and the illness context. However, usage of the interventions was sporadic and declined over time, indicating that future interventions should address stage-specific needs across the caregiving trajectory. A systematic review has the potential to be conducted given the consistency in caregiver burden and depression as outcomes.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Review
Publisher
Elsevier B V
ISBN/ISSN
1386-5056
Publication Year
2017
Issue Number
July
Journal Titles
International Journal of Medical Informatics
Volume Number
103
Start Page
109
End Page
138