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Rev Esp Geriatr Gerontol. 2008 May-Jun;43(3):157-66.

[Efficacy of interventions aimed at the main carers of dependent individuals aged more than 65 years old. A systematic review].

[Article in Spanish]

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Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC), Sant Cugat del Vallés, Barcelona, España.



In our environment, care of the dependent elderly is usually provided by family members, thereby ensuring autonomy and avoiding institutionalization of the dependent adult. Thirty-three percent of Spanish caregivers have acknowledged the importance of acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for daily care. Consequently, several interventions have been developed by health professionals from distinct disciplines.


The purpose of this study was to systematically review and evaluate the efficacy of published interventions for the caregivers of dependent elderly individuals.


We conducted a systematic review of the literature on interventions in the caregivers of the dependent elderly (older than 65 years old) published between 1996 and 2006. The inclusion criteria included controlled clinical trials with outcome measures related to effectiveness in reducing caregiver burden, anxiety and depression. Our search yielded 15 reports.


The interventions produced statistically significant reductions in burden (40%), anxiety (50%) and depression (90%). Interventions requiring active participation by caregivers and those based on cognitive-behavioral therapy were more effective than those focused on knowledge acquisition.


Due to the heterogeneity of caregiving interventions, evaluation of both the clinical and statistical significance of these interventions is essential. Reducing the chronic stress experienced by caregivers is difficult to achieve. Consequently, future experimental designs should take into account the needs reported by caregivers as well as promote active participation.

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