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Palliat Med. 2012 Jan;26(1):7-22. doi: 10.1177/0269216311409613. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

How can informal caregivers in cancer and palliative care be supported? An updated systematic literature review of interventions and their effectiveness.

Author information

1
King's College London, School of Medicine, Cicely Saunders Institute, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, London, UK. richard.harding@kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Informal caregivers needs in cancer/advanced disease are largely unmet. The science of carer intervention evaluation is methodologically challenging, and the evidence historically weak.

OBJECTIVE:

This systematic review updates an earlier effectiveness review to determine both the effectiveness of subsequently published intervention studies, and the current state of science.

METHOD:

The evidence was identified and appraised using a comprehensive search strategy. Articles were searched from 2001 to 2010 using the following electronic databases: Medline, PsychINFO and CINAHL. Inclusion criteria were studies reporting intervention data for informal adult caregivers of a patient with a diagnosis of cancer or receiving palliative care. The design and evidence rigour were assessed using the Jadad Rating Scale, and the Quality Rating Scale.

RESULTS:

33 studies met inclusion criteria. From the original review, an encouraging increase was identified in the number of evaluations (from 8 to 33), in carer-specific interventions (from 6 to 17) and in the robustness of the study design (an increase from 2 to 12 studies with before/after measures, comparison groups and prospective data).

CONCLUSIONS:

The evidence suggests a rapid increase in the number of robust intervention studies. However, the range of models remains narrow in relation to caregivers' needs and preferences.

PMID:
21737481
DOI:
10.1177/0269216311409613
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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