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

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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?


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.


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


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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  • Source of funding: Health Technology Assessment Programme, Norfolk and Suffolk Social Services, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Department of Health.

  • Additional notes are published online only at


  • Competing interests: None.