Purpose: To identify current evidence of factors influencing dementia-related caregiver burden (CB), describe patient and caregiver characteristics associated with CB, and describe evidence-based interventions designed to lessen the burden of caregiving.
Data sources: Comprehensive literature review of Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, MEDLINE, and Psych Info was performed for the years 1996-2006 of peer-reviewed journals using keywords CB and dementia.
Conclusion: Dementia caregiving has been associated with negative effects on caregiver health and early nursing home placement for dementia patients. Many factors influence the impact of the caregiving experience such as gender, relationship to the patient, culture, and personal characteristics. Although various interventions have been developed with the goal of alleviating CB, evidence suggests that individually developed multicomponent interventions including a diversity of services will decrease burden, improve quality of life, and enable caregivers to provide at-home care for longer periods prior to institutionalization.
Implications for practice: The ability to properly assess the dementia patient-caregiver dyad related to CB is critical to decreasing its negative physical and psychological health outcomes. Appropriately tailored interventions can improve the health and well-being of both caregiver and patient.