Monthly phone check-in may mean less depression for families of patients with dementia

Posted on October 3, 2019

The prevalence of depression in caregivers of patients with dementia is rather high, due to the emotional toll as well as the strain on time and energy resources that comes with caregiving. A study conducted by researchers from the UC San Francisco sought to investigate interventions that may be effective in easing depressive symptoms in caregivers for these patients.

The research assessed the quality of life and depression in 780 patient-caregiver pairs for 12 months. Of these participants, 86% of caregivers were the spouse or the daughter. Pairs were divided into the intervention group and the control group. Participants in the intervention group had a “care team navigator” with clinicians who provide support for caregivers, while those in the control group received support in the form of a list of standard resources and quarterly newsletters.

Results found a decrease in the number of caregivers with moderate to severe depression in the intervention group. On the other hand, there was an increase in the number of caregivers with moderate to severe depression in the control group. Quality of life in dementia patients reduced in both conditions, but patients in the intervention group rated their mood, relationships and living situation higher.

The navigators involved in the intervention underwent 40 hours of training and called each pair to check on the wellbeing of both parties. The calls lasted for around 40 minutes and occur on a monthly basis. During the conversation, navigators walked the pairs through care plans, caregiver wellbeing and medication review. On top of that, they also responded to calls from the caregivers.

‘Care team navigator’ has provided caregivers with someone they could trust and seek for advice any time they had difficulties handling their caregiving duties. This low-cost and simple intervention has thus been proved to have a significant effect on the wellbeing of caregivers and patients with dementia.

Category(s):Dementia, Depression

Source material from Science Daily

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