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Carers of people with dementia: no benefit of adding befriending initiative to usual care

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QUESTION

Question:

What effect does access to social support through a befriending initiative have on psychological well-being and quality of life for carers of people with dementia?

Patients:

236 adult family carers of people with primary progressive dementia. Carers were either cohabiting with patient or providing at least 20 h of care per week. Carers were recruited through participating GPs; posters and leaflets in libraries, social services, mental health services, pharmacies, day services, voluntary organisations and supermarkets; through presentation to potential gatekeepers (health, social and voluntary sector professionals) and through radio and newspaper publicity. Exclusion criteria: carers with terminal illness or congenital or acquired cognitive impairment and patients who were in nursing or other permanent or long-stay residential facilities.

Setting:

General community in Norfolk, Suffolk and the London Borough of Havering; randomisation April 2000 to August 2004.

Intervention:

Access to a “befriender facilitator” and to a volunteer befriender as well as usual care or usual care alone. Befrienders aimed …

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