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Evidence Summary

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Interprofessional education may improve teamwork and attitudes among caregivers and can result in improved care for patients with dementia

Jackson M, Pelone F, Reeves S, et al.  Interprofessional education in the care of people diagnosed with dementia and their carers: A systematic review BMJ Open. 2016 Aug; 6(8).

Review question

  • Does interprofessional education, defined as two or more professions learning from each other, result in a better understanding of dementia for professional and family caregivers, as well as better quality of care for people with dementia?

Background

  • The number of people with dementia is steadily increasing as a result of an aging population.
  • The burden of care often falls on family caregivers, with nearly 80% of care for people with dementia provided by family and friends; this can be harmful to the caregivers’ health.
  • Interprofessional education may improve the knowledge and skills required to provide care in a collaborative manner, which might lessen the burden on caregivers and improve the quality of care for patients with dementia. This review was conducted to examine the evidence discussing the impact of interprofessional education among caregivers.

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of nine electronic databases for studies published from 2004 and 2014 was conducted. Studies that focused on health and social care students involved in caring for people with dementia or studies that evaluated outcomes of interprofessional education interventions were included in the review.
  • A total of 713 articles were identified in searches, and six studies were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.
  • The authors did not acknowledge any funding sources for this review.

What the researchers found

  • The review found that there was a lack of research on interprofessional education for dementia caregivers. The sparse research that was available was also very low in quality. 
  • There was low-quality evidence that interprofessional education can improve teamwork among caregivers and result in better care for patients with dementia.
  • There was low-quality evidence that interprofessional education can improve the attitudes of caregivers towards one another.

Conclusion

  • This review found that interprofessional education may play a role in providing care to the rising number of patients with dementia by improving teamwork skills and increasing knowledge of dementia and dementia care. The research was of low quality and very limited. More evidence is required to learn the benefits of interprofessional education in providing care for patients with dementia.


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