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What do family caregivers of people with dementia need? A mixed‐method systematic review

Caring for people with dementia is a major challenge for relatives and society worldwide. Understanding the family caregivers' needs is crucial to promote their care‐giving role during the disease trajectory. The aim of this mixed‐method systematic review was to identify and synthetise the existing literature on the needs of family caregivers of people with dementia at home. PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and PsycINFO databases were systematically explored to find quantitative, qualitative and mixed‐method studies published between 2009 and 2019. A total of 1,196 citations were retrieved and 34 studies were included in the review. The variety of interrelated needs emerged from studies has been summarised in four themes: (a) Being supported, (b) Receiving accessible and personalised information, (c) Being trained and educated to care for their beloved with dementia and (d) Finding a balance. Care‐giving for individuals with dementia is an ever‐changing process characterised by continuous adjustments to their needs. The majority of a family caregivers' needs are oriented towards receiving support, help in offering daily care and finding a balance between the care‐giving role and their own personal needs. For family caregivers, receiving information is a priority to improve their knowledge and to develop coping abilities, care skills and strategies aimed at promoting a balance between care assistance duties and their own needs. They also need social, psychological and emotional support and access to flexible, tailored and timely formal care. Further studies are recommended to detect changes in family caregivers' needs throughout the disease progression in order to tailor formal care offered by social and healthcare services. 

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John Wiley & Sons
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Health & Social Care in the Community
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