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Review: non-pharmacological interventions delivered by family caregivers improve symptoms in people with dementia

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Question: How effective are community-based non-pharmacological/psychosocial family caregiver delivered interventions for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia?

Outcomes: Behavioural or psychological symptom frequency (eg, Revised Memory and Behavior Problem Checklist), severity (eg, Behavioral Pathology in Alzheimer's Diseases Rating Scale) or both (eg, Neuropsychiatry Inventory). Caregiver reactions to behavioural and psychological symptoms (subsidiary scales of symptom rating scales). Reduction in the frequency or severity of symptoms, and caregiver reductions in the severity of their reactions to the symptoms were taken as improvements. A variety of rating scales were used.


Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Data sources: PsycINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus and PubMed were searched from 1985 to July 2010 for randomised controlled trials, clinical trials and single case studies.

Study selection and analysis: Reviewers appraised the studies and selected English-language randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or pseudo-RCTs testing non-pharmacological interventions delivered by family caregivers in a community setting. Interventions were grouped into categories: skills training for caregivers; education for caregivers; activity planning and environmental design; enhancing support for …

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  • Sources of funding None.


  • Competing interest None.