An intervention programme for caregivers of dementia patients with frontal behavioural changes: an explorative study with controlled effect on sense of competence

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Abstract

Aim

Caregivers of dementia patients experience high levels of burden; this is especially true of caregivers of dementia patients with behavioural problems. As intervention studies for these caregivers are still lacking, we conducted an explorative pilot study into the efficacy of a support programme.

Methods

Participants were caregivers of dementia patients affected by apathy, disinhibition, and/or stereotypical behaviour. All patients had a Frontal Behavioural Inventory score of 11 or higher. Caregivers were randomized to the intervention group or control group (both n = 15). The intervention was a 6-month programme that consisted of psychoeducation, social support, and behavioural cognitive therapy. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected at baseline and after the intervention.

Results

An increased sense of competence was found in the intervention group. Burden, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms decreased, although the difference between the intervention and control groups was not significant.

Conclusions

Caregivers' sense of competence improved as a result of the support programme, and caregivers revealed its comprehensive supportive effects. Further research into the efficacy of the programme on a larger scale is recommended.

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