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J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Oct 4;54(3):1235-1246.

The Savvy Caregiver Program: A Probe Multicenter Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial in Caregivers of Patients Affected by Alzheimer's Disease.

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Saint Andrew Hospital, NESMOS Department, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.
National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy.
Rome Foundation and Alzheimer Uniti Association, Rome, Italy.
Saint Eugene Hospital, Rome, Italy.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a major cause of disability in the elderly, leading to a considerable burden on caregivers and high costs to society. Psycho-education programs such as the Savvy Caregiver Program (SCP) are reported to be a successful means of reducing caregivers' distress through various intervention strategies. The aim of the present study was to assess the efficacy of the SCP in reducing the burden and psychological symptoms in caregivers of AD patients and to analyze the coping strategies adopted by the caregivers. The study was designed as a multicenter, randomized, controlled, pilot clinical trial. One hundred and sixty-four caregivers of patients with probable AD were randomized. The SCP was structured in six, weekly, two-hour sessions. All the clinical scales were administered before treatment, two weeks and six months after treatment. Caregivers in the SCP group displayed better coping strategies adopted to positive attitudes, and they tended to be less anxious and less depressed than those in the control group. However, caregiver burden levels were not reduced in SCP caregivers. The patients of SCP caregivers received a lower number of new prescriptions of neuroleptics during the 6 months of follow-up than the patients of control caregivers and apathy was the neuropsychiatric symptom that improved most as a result of the SCP. The results of this study suggest that the SCP may improve coping strategies of caregivers of people affected by AD, influencing their psychological symptoms and those of their patients.


Alzheimer’s disease; caregivers; coping skills; dementia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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