BACKGROUND: Informal caregivers of people with dementia are challenged in managing the consequences of dementia in daily life. The objective of this meta-review was to synthesize evidence from previous systematic reviews about professional self-management support interventions for this group.
METHODS: In March 2014, searches were conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Embase and PsycINFO. The PRISMA Statement was followed. Interventions were grouped using Martin's targets of self-management, covering 5 targets: relationship with family, maintaining an active lifestyle, psychological wellbeing, techniques to cope with memory changes and information about dementia. Using an evidence synthesis, the outcomes from the included interventions were synthesized and conclusions were drawn about the level of evidence for the effectiveness of interventions within each target.
RESULTS: Ten high-quality systematic reviews were selected. Evidence exists for the effectiveness of professional self-management support interventions targeting psychological wellbeing on stress and social outcomes of informal caregivers. In addition, evidence exists for the effectiveness of interventions targeting information on ability/knowledge. Limited evidence was found for the effectiveness of interventions targeting techniques to cope with memory change on coping skills and mood, and for interventions targeting information on the outcomes sense of competence and decision-making confidence of informal caregivers.
CONCLUSIONS: Scientific evidence exists for the effectiveness of a number of professional self-management support interventions targeting psychological wellbeing and information. Health care professionals could take account of the fact that psycho-education was integrated in most of the self-management support interventions that were found to be effective in this meta-review. Furthermore, longer and more intensive interventions were associated with greater effects.