An intervention programme for caregivers of dementia patients with frontal behavioural changes: an explorative study with controlled effect on sense of competence

Psychogeriatrics. 2018 Nov;18(6):451-459. doi: 10.1111/psyg.12351. Epub 2018 Jul 31.


Aim: Caregivers of dementia patients experience high levels of burden; this is especially true of caregivers of dementia patients with behavioural problems. As intervention studies for these caregivers are still lacking, we conducted an explorative pilot study into the efficacy of a support programme.

Methods: Participants were caregivers of dementia patients affected by apathy, disinhibition, and/or stereotypical behaviour. All patients had a Frontal Behavioural Inventory score of 11 or higher. Caregivers were randomized to the intervention group or control group (both n = 15). The intervention was a 6-month programme that consisted of psychoeducation, social support, and behavioural cognitive therapy. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected at baseline and after the intervention.

Results: An increased sense of competence was found in the intervention group. Burden, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms decreased, although the difference between the intervention and control groups was not significant.

Conclusions: Caregivers' sense of competence improved as a result of the support programme, and caregivers revealed its comprehensive supportive effects. Further research into the efficacy of the programme on a larger scale is recommended.

Keywords: behavioural problems; caregiver; dementia; frontotemporal dementia; intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavioral Symptoms / etiology
  • Behavioral Symptoms / psychology*
  • Caregivers / education*
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Dementia / complications
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Hallucinations / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology