Abstract

Importance: Caregivers are pivotal in supporting the growing population of people with chronic conditions. Yet, engaging in the caregiver role involves the risk of poor outcomes. Caregiver interventions are needed that address poor outcomes while fostering engagement in role-related activities.

Objective: To evaluate the evidence for interventions to support caregivers of adults with chronic conditions.

Data Sources: Five databases were searched for studies of interventions for caregivers and patient–caregiver dyads published between 1995 and 2019.

Study Selection and Data Collection: We reviewed the titles, abstracts, and full-text articles of the initial search results (N = 12,216 studies) according to a predetermined protocol.

Findings: Forty-eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Psychoeducation and education with skills training were the two caregiver intervention themes. Studies evaluating psychoeducation (n = 28) provided low strength of evidence for improved psychosocial outcomes. Within this theme, problem-solving and coping skills training were common intervention components associated with significant improvements in depression and quality of life. Studies evaluating education with skills training (n = 20) provided moderate strength of evidence for improved knowledge and low strength of evidence for improved psychosocial outcomes. Dyadic self-management education and hands-on training were common components associated with significant improvements in knowledge, quality of life, and burden or strain.

Conclusions and Relevance: We found low strength of evidence to support the use of psychoeducation and education with skills training. Within these approaches, problem-solving and coping skills training, dyadic self-management education, and hands-on training show promise for improving caregiver outcomes.

What This Article Adds: Findings of this systematic review are inconclusive with respect to psychoeducation and education with skills training leading to improved caregiver well-being. Within these broad approaches, the findings support the use of problem-solving and coping skills training, dyadic self-management education, and hands-on training to improve knowledge and well-being among caregivers of people with chronic conditions.

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