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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009 May;24(5):489-99. doi: 10.1002/gps.2142.

Effectiveness of a psychoeducational intervention program in the reduction of caregiver burden in Alzheimer's disease patients' caregivers.

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Instituto de Investigaciones Psiquiátricas, Clínica Psiquiátrica Padre Menni, Pamplona, Spain.



Caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) experience physical and psychological stress due to the caring experience. This study evaluated the benefits of a Psychoeducational Intervention Program (PIP) on caregiver burden in southern Europe.


A multicentre, prospective, randomised study was conducted. One hundred and fifteen caregivers of patients with clinical diagnosis of AD (DSM-IV-TR criteria, mini-mental score = 10-26) and functional impairment (Lawton and Brody Scale and Katz Index) were recruited. Caregivers were randomised to receive either PIP (IG: intervention group, n = 60) or standard care (CG: control group, n = 55). PIP consisted of eight individual sessions over 4 months for teaching strategies for confronting problems of AD patient care. Caregivers' stress, quality of life and perceived health were measured using validated scales (Zarit, SF-36, GHQ-28, respectively) at baseline and after 4 and 10-months follow-up.


Mean change in caregiver burden (Zarit baseline-Zarit final scores) was statistically significant (p = 0.0083) showing an improvement in the IG (-8.09 points) and a worsening in the CG (2.08 points). The IG showed significant improvements in all the well-being perception areas measured by the SF-36 and a significantly lower score in the GHQ-28 (p = 0.0004). 97.7% of caregivers and 88.6% of therapists considered PIP 'useful/very useful' at 4 months (the end of PIP) whereas at 10 months the estimates were 93.2% and 86.3%, respectively.


Psychosocial training of caregivers can minimise caregiver distress and help them to develop problem-solving strategies. A PIP improves quality of life and the perceived health of caregivers of patients with AD.

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