Although high volumes of literature have been written on interventions in dementia home care, only a poor efficiency has been proved. Nevertheless, caregivers often express strong feelings of satisfaction about the proposed support. In this meta-analytic review, a quantitative analysis of the effect of the different types of professional dementia home care interventions was made.
A systematic literature search, covering the years 1980 until 2007, was performed using Medline, Embase, Cochrane DSR, Dare, CCTR, and ACP Journal Club). Limitations on publication type were determined as randomized controlled trial and controlled trial.
Psychosocial intervention in dementia home care was found to be beneficial in a non-significant way on caregivers' burden. An almost negligible decrease in depression was found in the psychosocial intervention arm while multidisciplinary case management contributed to a larger though insignificant decrease of depression in caregivers. Respite care was responsible for an increase in burden.
This review demonstrated, in accordance with other qualitative reviews, the weak evidence that supporting family caregivers could be beneficial. Although the rather small benefits of formal support, supporting family caregivers is an indispensable issue in dementia home care. Professional caregivers should keep in mind that family caregivers highly appreciate the intervention and that they feel less burdened or depressed in the short time follow up but that premature home care remains more rule than exception.