Enhancing the quality of life of dementia caregivers from different ethnic or racial groups: a randomized, controlled trial

Ann Intern Med. 2006 Nov 21;145(10):727-38. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-145-10-200611210-00005.

Abstract

Background: Caring for a family member with dementia is extremely stressful, contributes to psychiatric and physical illness among caregivers, and increases the risk for caregiver death. Finding better ways to support family caregivers is a major public health challenge.

Objective: To test the effects of a structured multicomponent intervention on quality of life and clinical depression in caregivers and on rates of institutional placement of care recipients in 3 diverse racial or ethnic groups.

Design: Randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: In-home caregivers in 5 U.S. cities.

Participants: 212 Hispanic or Latino, 219 white or Caucasian, and 211 black or African-American caregivers and their care recipients with Alzheimer disease or related disorders.

Intervention: Caregivers within each racial or ethnic group were randomly assigned to an intervention or to a control group. The intervention addressed caregiver depression, burden, self-care, and social support and care recipient problem behaviors through 12 in-home and telephone sessions over 6 months. Caregivers in the control group received 2 brief "check-in" telephone calls during the 6-month intervention.

Measurements: The primary outcome was a quality-of-life indicator comprising measures of 6-month caregiver depression, burden, self-care, and social support and care recipient problem behaviors. Secondary outcomes were caregiver clinical depression and institutional placement of the care recipient at 6 months.

Results: Hispanic or Latino and white or Caucasian caregivers in the intervention group experienced significantly greater improvement in quality of life than those in the control group (P < 0.001 and P = 0.037, respectively). Black or African-American spouse caregivers also improved significantly more (P = 0.003). Prevalence of clinical depression was lower among caregivers in the intervention group (12.6% vs. 22.7%; P = 0.001). There were no statistically significant differences in institutionalization at 6 months.

Limitations: The study used only a single 6-month follow-up assessment, combined heterogeneous cultures and ethnicities into a single group, and excluded some ethnic groups.

Conclusions: A structured multicomponent intervention adapted to individual risk profiles can increase the quality of life of ethnically diverse dementia caregivers. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00177489.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • United States

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00177489