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Unmet Needs for Family Caregivers of Elderly People With Dementia Living in Italy: What Do We Know So Far and What Should We Do Next?

Care of the elderly with dementia represents one of the major challenges for the modern society worldwide. The burden of dementia care often falls on the family members, entailing heavy psychosocial and economic consequences. The aim of this study was to evaluate the caregiver's perspective concerning the support for disease management on behalf of the physicians and the local Sicilian administrations (Italy), and the burden of care and effects on their lifestyle, to propose new prevention strategies and service for managing dementia and caregiver's burden. Fifty-nine caregivers of Italian elderly people with dementia (mean age, 73; age range: 63-83) were interviewed, and 55 of them completed an ad hoc self-report questionnaire composed of 54 multiple-choice questions. Our findings suggest that caregivers need more information on the disease's management, as well as on how to deal with the stress due to the disease burden. Moreover, a negative perception about the services offered from the local administration emerged. Assistive technology (AT) could be useful in promoting interaction between general practitioners and specialized centers for diagnosis, pharmacological and psychosocial treatments, and in saving costs. Moreover, case manager could follow patients and support family members within the care pathway, besides collecting and sharing information among the different health professionals involved. Further studies should be aimed at investigating whether AT and/or the use of specific educational strategies could be the right approach for meeting the needs of families living with dementia.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Sage Publications Inc
ISBN/ISSN
00469580
Publication Year
2017
Journal Titles
Inquiry: The journal of health care organization, provision, and financing
Volume Number
54