Purpose: To critique intervention studies of family caregivers in the hospital care for elderly relatives for (a) synthesizing the characteristics of interventions and outcomes, (b) evaluating the effectiveness of the intervention studies, and (c) identifying the strengths and limitations of the intervention studies as a basis for future research.
Methods: An integrated literature review was used to examine nine intervention studies (1983-2003) of adult family caregivers of older family members in the hospital setting.
Findings: Although the existing intervention studies have provided a solid base for further study of family care for hospitalized elders, the analysis indicated the following limitations of the existing literature: (a) lack of a clearly defined theoretical framework to guide the interventions and selection of study variables, (b) lack of comparison groups and observation of interventions, and (c) limitations with generalizability of findings.
Conclusions: Nine intervention studies of family caregivers in the hospital care of elderly patients age 60 years or above were found that were conducted in the past 10 years. Although progress has been made in family caregiving of hospitalized elders, future research should include outcomes based on well-defined theoretical frameworks, control of confounding variables, and samples from diverse populations.