Evidence Summary

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Psychosocial interventions can improve the quality of life for carers of individuals with dementia

Greenwood N, Pelone F, Hassenkamp AM  General practice based psychosocial interventions for supporting carers of people with dementia or stroke: A systematic review  BMC Fam Pract. 2016; 17(3).

Review question

  • How effective are psychosocial supportive interventions for carers of people with dementia or who have suffered a stroke?


  • Dementia and strokes can result in long- and short-term disability. With greater proportions of individuals moving away from institutional care, the number of individuals living in the community with disabilities due to dementia or stroke is increasing. This has resulted in an increase in informal carers (i.e., family and friends) providing support for these individuals living at home.
  • Previous research has demonstrated that carers of people with dementia and who have suffered a stroke have poorer physical and emotional health than carers of people who have other long-term conditions.
  • In the past, some psychosocial interventions to support carers, such as information provision, have been used, but the evidence for the effectiveness of these interventions is incomplete. This review was conducted to systematically examine all of the evidence related to the effectiveness of these psychosocial interventions for carers of people with dementia or who have suffered a stroke.

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of seven electronic databases for studies published up to 2014 was conducted. Studies that focused on non-pharmacological interventions delivered by healthcare providers to carers of people with dementia or who have had a stroke were included in the review.
  • A total of 2,489 articles were identified in searches, and four studies were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.
  • This study was funded by Kingston University and St. Georgeƕs University of London.

What the researchers found

  • The review only identified studies that examined psychosocial interventions for carers of people with dementia. No studies were identified that examined psychosocial interventions for carers of people who had a stroke.
  • Examples of commonly delivered psychosocial interventions included provision of educational materials, cognitive behavioural interventions designed to improve mental health, and support and skills training.
  • The review found a limited amount of evidence indicating that these psychosocial interventions produce positive benefits for carers of people with dementia. Benefits that were identified include improved psychological well-being, reduced carer burden, and reduced depressive symptoms.


  • This review found that psychosocial interventions delivered by healthcare professionals to carers of people with dementia have the potential to improve carer quality of life by improving mental health, reducing carer burden, and improving psychological well-being. A greater quantity of evidence is required to conclusively confirm these findings.

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