A structured intervention for family caregivers of dementia patients: a pilot study

Tokai J Exp Clin Med. 1999 Apr;24(1):35-9.


There has been an increasing number of patients with dementia in Japan. Although such patients were hospitalized longer than in other countries, the length of the hospital stay is becoming shorter due to changes in insurance systems. Therefore, the families of such patients are experiencing greater stress. In order to investigate the efficacy of a group structured intervention, 20 family caregivers participated in a series of five weekly sessions, each of which consisted of an educational approach, problem-solving techniques, psychological support, and relaxation. All family caregivers were women whose ages ranged from 47-66 years (mean= 54.7 +/- 4.4). The period of care at home ranged from 1-12 years (mean= 5.8 +/- 2.7). Concerning the original disease of patients, 10 had vascular dementia and 8 had senile dementia of Alzheimer type (Alzheimer disease). Two psychometries, i. e., Profile of Mood States (POMS) and General Health Questionnaire-30 (GHQ-30), were administered pre- and post-intervention. The results indicated that there was significant improvement (p<0.05) in the scores of depression, anger-hostility, fatigue, confusion in the POMS, and physical symptoms, anxiety-mood disorder, and suicidality-depression in the GHQ-30. This preliminary study suggests that this kind of intervention appears quite effective for relieving the emotional and physical discomfort suffered by family caregivers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self-Help Groups