Glasdam, S., Timm, H., & Vittrup, R. (2010). Support efforts for caregivers of chronically ill persons. Clinical Nursing Research, 19, 233–265.doi:10.1177/1054773810369683
To conduct a thorough systematic review of interventions aimed at families with chronically ill members and to describe and critically evaluate these interventions for caregivers of chronically ill persons
Experimental interventions provided support to caregivers, patients, or both. Of the 32 studies, 4 interventions addressed caregivers alone and 32 interventions addressed both patients and caregivers. All experimental interventions included health professional–led discussion and guidance to increase knowledge, comfort, or resource allocation for persons addressed in the study. Educational delivery occurred at individual, couple, and group levels, and sessions occurred in a variety of inpatient and outpatient areas, including the patient’s/caregiver’s home. Half of the interventions involved home visits by a professional who taught, counseled, or helped a participant with practical home roles.
All studies involving patients with cancer or caregivers used hospital-based interventions and centered on alleviating physical and psychosocial concerns of patients with cancer. Although the focus of interventions was the same for patients experiencing stroke and cardiovascular disease, most interventions occurred in the home with a focus on caregiver well-being.
Educational interventions incorporated cognitive-behavioral therapy to support knowledge transfer that would improve participant well-being. Some studies compared different forms of an intervention (e.g., individual versus group), and some interventions included sites and telephone contacts. No studies considered or changed an intervention based on the participant’s social background. Professional actors of studies were mostly nurses and healthcare providers prepared at the bachelor's degree. The authors noted across disease groupings that interventions fit into the following areas: caregiver experience with burden, level of knowledge, skills mastery, and satisfaction.
Of 32 studies, 22 reported effects in one or more areas that the intervention targeted. Studies that showed a positive intervention effect mostly focused on caregiver burden and mastery of skills to provide care. However, the authors noted that it is not possible to support any consistency between interventions because many different instruments used in the 32 studies measured the same variable (e.g., 26 measures for depression).
The authors noted that the systematic review guides the following conclusions: