Evidence Summary

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Strategies that include a combination of education and ongoing support for caregivers can improve care of people with dementia living at home

Zabalegui A, Hamers JP, Karlsson S, et al.  Best practices interventions to improve quality of care of people with dementia living at home Patient Education and Counselling. 2014;95(2):175-184.

Review question

What interventions that are guided by health professionals and provided to people living with dementia and their caregivers are effective for improving quality of care?


Much of the care received by people living with dementia is provided by family caregivers, and it is important to also support caregivers in these roles.

Improving the quality of care provided to people with dementia living in home settings requires supports for caregivers, such as the provision of emotional support and efforts to reduce burden.

Establishing best practices is difficult given the complexity of dementia care.

How the review was done

Several electronic databases were searched for peer-reviewed studies published between 1990 and 2012, and studies were included if they focused on interventions that addressed people with dementia living at home and their caregivers.

A total of 766 studies were identified in searches, and 23 were deemed eligible and included in the review.

The review was supported by a grant from the European Commission 7th Framework Program.

What the researchers found

Of all interventions targeting older adults with dementia living at home, rehabilitation to restore normal brain functions (including skills training and monitoring) was the best strategy for improving care.

Educational and support strategies targeting family caregivers were found to improve the care provided to older adults with dementia, particularly as the number of hours of health professional involvement increased.

Strategies with multiple components and that involve case managers were associated with the most significant improvements in the care of people with dementia living at home.


Caregivers of people with dementia living at home should receive strategies with multiple components (including education and ongoing support) from health professionals such as case-managers in order to reduce their burden and improve care.

Related Web Resources

  • Dementia in home and community care

    Canadian Institute for Health Information
    Adults with dementia that live at home have complicated care needs. This resource provides information about caregiving for a person with dementia, and about how to transition into long-term care.
  • Safeguarding adults

    Know the signs of abuse: frequent arguments with a caregiver, changes in personality, unexplained injuries, bruising, unusual weight loss or unsafe living conditions. Ask doctors, social workers or community nurses for support if you or someone you know might be abused. Contact the police if someone you know is in physical danger.
  • Alzheimer's and memories: Use mementos as cues

    Mayo Clinic
    Help preserve memories for someone with Alzheimer’s. Create an electronic folder or special box with photos and letters. Talk together or with people who know her/him to hear and document meaningful stories.
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