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Evidence Summary

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Case management programs may have benefits for informal caregivers  

Corvol A, Dreier A, Prudhomm J, et al.  Consequences of clinical case management for caregivers: A systematic review International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2017 May; 32(5).

Review question

  • How do case management programs, which involve managing the care of frail older patients or patients with dementia, affect informal caregivers?

Background

  • Informal caregivers tend to be family members or friends of the patients in need of support. Informal caregivers provide important day-to-day care in an aging population by participating in case management programs which are used to guide the care that is provided.
  • The consequences for informal caregivers of being involved in managing care are not well understood and should be the focus of new research.
  • Informal caregivers can greatly increase the quality of care that frail older patients or patients with dementia receive, which means it is important to understand the burdens and benefits that case management has on informal caregivers in order to further improve this care.  

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of seven electronic databases for studies published up until 2016 was conducted. Studies that focused on the management of care for frail older patients or patients with dementia by family members and other informal caregivers were included in the review.
  • A total of 481 articles were identified in searches, and 16 studies were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.
  • The review did not provide information on funding sources.

What the researchers found

  • None of the included studies identified any negative outcomes for informal caregivers using case management programs when providing care to patients with dementia, while some studies found evidence for positive results. These positive results included reducing caregiver burden, and increasing quality of life and social support.
  • There was no evidence of positive results when using case management programs to provide care for frail older patients, or positive results on caregiver depression for either group of patients.
  • There is evidence that there may be positive results of case management for frail older patients by decreasing time spent in hospital and delaying institutionalization, without having negative consequences for informal caregivers.

Conclusion

  • This review found no evidence of case management programs having a negative impact on informal caregivers looking after frail older patients or patients with dementia. Overall, case management could lead to positive results for both caregivers and patients.



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DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

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