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Web-based interventions can help reduce negative health outcomes for caregivers of patients with chronic diseases

Ploeg J, Ali MU, Markle-Reid M, et al.  Caregiver-focused, web-based interventions: Systematic review and meta-analysis (Part 2) Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2018;20(10):e11247.

Review question

        Do web-based interventions reduce negative outcomes such as stress, low self-esteem, and helplessness among caregivers of patients with chronic diseases?


        Careing for loved ones with chronic health conditions can be rewarding. However, caregivers are at a higher risk of developing negative physical and mental health outcomes.  

        Web-based interventions that focus on psychological counselling, caregiver education and electronic monitoring of patients are used to support caregivers.

        This systematic review examines the effectiveness of web-based interventions for caregivers of older adults.

How the review was done

        A detailed search of a number of electronic databases was conducted to identify studies published from 1995 up to mid-2017. Studies that focused on the impact of web-based interventions on caregivers of older adults were included in the review.

        A total of 7,297 studies were identified in the initial database search and 14 were included in the review.

        This systematic review was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the School of Nursing at McMaster University.

What the researchers found

        The review revealed that professional and peer support through web-based interventions play a major role in overcoming feelings of helplessness and low self-esteem among caregivers.

        Web-based interventions that involved caregiver education and electronic monitoring of patients had little to no effect on caregiver well-being.

        Generally, the review found that web-based interventions had a small-to-moderate benefit on stress management and self-esteem. However, these studies are of low quality and the results should be considered with caution.


        Evidence suggests that web-based interventions that incorporate patient education and support can be helpful for improving the mental well-being and self-esteem of caregivers. Electronic monitoring of patients had no impact on caregiver well-being.

        Overall, web-based interventions showed a low-to-moderate impact on caregiver well-being.

Related Topics


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

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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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