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Evidence Summary

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Internet-based interventions that focus on behaviour change and support can improve the mental well-being of caregivers

Guay C, Auger C, Demers L, et al.  Components and outcomes of internet-based interventions for caregivers of older adults: Systematic review Journal of medical Internet research. 2017; 19(9): e313.

Review question

  • Do internet-based interventions help reduce the mental and physical burden on caregivers of older adults?

Background

  • Caregivers for older adults deal with physical and emotional stress, which puts them at a high risk for depression and anxiety.
  • Internet-based interventions are often used to offer services such as online counselling, self-help education, and professional feedback.
  • This systematic review examines the effectiveness of internet-based interventions for caregivers of older adults.

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published from 2000 up to mid-2015 was conducted. Studies that focused on the impact of internet-based interventions on caregivers of older adults were included in the review.
  • A total of 2,338 studies were identified in the initial database search, and 12 were included in the review.
  • This systematic review was funded by AGE-WELL, the Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

What the researchers found

  • Interactive online activities and exercises, along with the offering of remote support (by professionals or peers) was beneficial to caregivers.
  • Offering timely access to health professionals online to obtain advice helped improve behaviours and reduced anxiety among caregivers of older adults. 
  • Studies showed that emotional support provided by peers was a strong reason for using internet-based interventions.

Conclusion

  • Evidence suggests that internet-based interventions that offer timely professional advice and peer support can improve the mental well-being of caregivers.
  • The most beneficial interventions helped change behaviours through interactive online activities such as homework and exercise.


Related Topics


Glossary

Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

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