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Effect of the Meeting Centres Support Program on informal carers of people with dementia: results from a multi-centre study

Because of the complex nature of the problems that carers of persons with dementia encounter, several comprehensive support programs for carers were developed in the past decade. One such program is the Meeting Centres Support Program (MCSP) that integrates different types of support for persons with dementia and their carers, which have proved to be effective in practice and/or research. Within the framework of a study into the national implementation of the MCSP, it was investigated whether the positive effects found in carers that participated in the first Amsterdam Meeting Centres, were also achieved in other regions of The Netherlands. A pre-test–post-test control group design with matched groups was applied. In total, 94 carers in the MCSP in eight meeting centres and 34 carers of dementia patients who frequented regular psychogeriatric day care (PDC) in three nursing homes were included in the study. During the study period 23 carers of the MCSP group and 21 carers of the PDC group dropped out. At baseline and after seven months indicators of burden (psychological and psychosomatic symptoms, feelings of burden and time between start of support and institutionalization of the persons with dementia) were measured, as well as potential determinants of burden (sense of competence, coping strategies, experienced support, loneliness and the emotional impact of behaviour problems). Though on a group level no effect was found, either in psychological and psychosomatic symptoms or in the determinants of burden, a subgroup of carers who felt lonely (n = 22) at baseline benefited significantly more from the MCSP than from PDC in terms of psychological and psychosomatic symptoms. A majority of MCSP carers (82.1%) experienced less burden and more professional support. After seven months significantly fewer persons with dementia in the MCSP (4%) were institutionalized as compared to the patients in PDC (29%). Patients in the MCSP participated for a longer period of time before institutionalization. Although the effect on sense of competence of carers that was found in the Amsterdam study was not found in this multi-centre study, the effect on burden and delayed institutionalization of the person with dementia were confirmed. The integrated MCSP also proved more effective than PDC in decreasing psychological and psychosomatic symptoms in lonely carers. Further dissemination of the MCSP is therefore recommended.

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Additional Titles
Aging & Mental Health

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Cin20 cinahl - exported on 11/7/2016
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112-124 13p