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Family care as collaboration: effectiveness of a multicomponent support program for elderly couples with dementia. Randomized controlled intervention study


Eloniemi-Sulkava, Ulla, Saarenheimo, Marja, Laakkonen, Marja-Liisa, Pietilä, Minna, Savikko, Niina, Kautiainen, Hannu, Tilvis, Reijo S., Pitkälä, Kaisu H.


Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society, Volume: 57, No.: 12, Pages.: 2200-2208

Year of Publication



Objectives: To determine whether community care of people with dementia can be prolonged with a 2-year multicomponent intervention program and to analyze effects of the intervention on total usage and expenses of social and healthcare services.; Design: Randomized controlled trial.; Setting: Community-dwelling couples with one spouse caring for the other spouse with dementia.; Participants: Couples with dementia (N=125) were allocated at random to the intervention (n=63) or control group (n=62).; Intervention: Intervention couples were provided with a multicomponent intervention program with a family care coordinator, a geriatrician, support groups for caregivers, and individualized services.; Measurements: Time from enrollment to institutionalization of spouses with dementia and use of services and service expenditure of couples.; Results: At 1.6 years, a larger proportion in the control group than in the intervention group was in long-term institutional care (25.8% vs 11.1%, P=.03). At 2 years, the difference was no longer statistically significant. The 2-year adjusted hazard ratio for the intervention group was 0.53 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.23-1.19, P=.12). Intervention led to reduction in use of community services and expenditures. The difference for the benefit of intervention group was -7,985 Euro (95% CI=-16,081 to -1,499, P=.03). When the intervention costs were included, the differences between the groups were not significant.; Conclusion: Although the intervention did not result in a significant difference in the need for institutional care after 2 years, individualizing services in collaboration with families may lead to reduction in use of and expenditures on municipal services.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Eloniemi_Sulkava_2009, doi = {10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02564.x}, url = {}, year = 2009, month = {dec}, publisher = {Wiley-Blackwell}, volume = {57}, number = {12}, pages = {2200--2208}, author = {Ulla Eloniemi-Sulkava and Marja Saarenheimo and Marja-Liisa Laakkonen and Minna Pietil{~{A}}{textcurrency} and Niina Savikko and Hannu Kautiainen and Reijo S. Tilvis and Kaisu H. Pitk{~{A}}{textcurrency}l{~{A}}{textcurrency}}, title = {Family Care as Collaboration: Effectiveness of a Multicomponent Support Program for Elderly Couples with Dementia. Randomized Controlled Intervention Study}, journal = {Journal of the American Geriatrics Society} }


aged, aged, 80 and over, dementia, family, female, home nursing, humans, male, middle aged, social support, therapy

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

Service use or cost reductions (incl. hospital use reduction, care home admission delay)



Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Care Broker (Direct Payments), Dementia advisor / Admiral nurses / Community Nursing