Caregiver burden for informal caregivers of patients with dementia: A systematic review

Int Nurs Rev. 2015 Sep;62(3):340-50. doi: 10.1111/inr.12194. Epub 2015 Jun 8.


Background: Dementia is an irreversible illness. The caregiver is expected to assume increased responsibility as the condition of the person with dementia declines. It is important to explore the factors constituting caregiver burden on the informal caregivers of people with dementia.

Aims: The purpose of this article is to identify the factors constituting caregiver burden on the informal caregivers of people with dementia living in the community.

Methods: A systematic review of the four databases, including PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library, was carried out to access relevant articles published between 2003 and 2012. Twenty-one articles met the inclusion criteria of this study.

Results: Behavioural problems or psychological symptoms were the primary factor of the person with dementia that is associated with caregiver burden. Caregiver socio-demographical factors and psychological factors were the two primary factors of the caregiver burden.

Limitations: Several results of this study were based on studies that had their own limitations. Furthermore, the concept of caregiver 'burden' was not clearly defined in some of the studies; instead, the term was broadly defined.

Conclusion: Factors of caregiver burden in regard to people with dementia living in the community were clarified in this review study. By identifying all of the factors, healthcare professionals can deliver appropriate assistance to relieve caregiver burden and improve the quality of caregiving for people with dementia.

Implications for nursing and health policy: It is important to identify the factors of the burden on the caregivers of people with dementia living in the community to prevent early nursing home placement, deterioration of caregiver's health and reduce the adverse health outcomes for care recipients. A health-related policy should be formulated to help informal caregivers receive more professional assistance. Training opportunities should be provided for family caregivers to reduce the impact of caregiving on the delivery of effective care.

Keywords: Caregiver Burden; Caregiving; Dementia; Informal Caregiver; Systematic Review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Humans