Effectivity of early psychosocial counselling for family caregivers in general practioner based dementia care
Year of Publication 2012
Background: Psychoeducation and professional support of family caregivers are regarded as important aspects in dementia care. In the context of a general practitioner’s (GP) based dementia care project we investigated if professional counselling after making a diagnosis of dementia can reduce the development of depression in family caregivers.; Methods: 42 patients with dementia and their family caregivers took part in the prospective, randomized study with a follow-up after 18 months. 29 families received psychosocial counselling, the control group was provided an information brochure about dementia including helpful contact addresses. Counselling included education about the illness. Additionally, the current individual needs were identified and assistance was administered if necessary.; Results: The counseling was rated as “very helpful” or “helpful” by most of the caregivers as well as by the partaking GPs. While depression rate between counseling and control group did not differ significantly at baseline, the depression rate was significantly increased in the control group after 18 month as compared to the intervention group.; Conclusion: Despite the small study size we provide first strong evidence that early psychosocial counselling can reduce the development of depression in family caregivers. Early, professional counselling improves the quality of dementia care within a GP-based dementia care setting and it might stabilize and extend the home care duration of dementia patients.; © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.