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Revista Cubana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1561-3127Print version ISSN 0864-3466


ESPIN ANDRADE, Ana Margarita. School of caregivers - a psychoeducational program for informal caregivers of demented older people. Rev. cub. salud pública [online]. 2009, vol.35, n.2. ISSN 1561-3127.

Introduction Dementia is a disease that affects the patient, the family, and particularly the caregiver who is the main responsible for the care of that person. There are different intervention modalities that improve the quality of care to the patient and reduce the caregiver´s burden. Objectives to design and evaluate the process and effectiveness of a psychoeducational intervention program in a group of informal caregivers of demented older adults. Methods A pre-experimental study was made on 16 caregivers, who were linked to the Iberoamerican Center for the Elderly, from 2004 to 2005. A program was designed on the basis of participatory techniques of data gathering with experts and with caregivers, and updated information on this topic; it was organized in 10 sessions that were held once a week. The Psychosocial Scale of Caregiver was used to compare the differences before and after the intervention in terms of socioeconomic and psychological variables. McNemar´s test was the choice for data processing and analysis of two related qualitative variables whereas significance statistics was set as a £0.05. Results Psychological and socioeconomic effects on the caregivers decreased in general after the intervention, namely, feelings of anger, anguish and fear, little leisure time, and unmet needs; however, the improvement was not significant in some socioeconomic variables. Conclusions It was shown that the psychoeducational program "School of Caregivers" was effective in changing the psychological effects on the caregivers but not in reducing all the socioeconomic effects caused by the care of a demented elder; this indicates that this type of intervention is not enough to modify the most tangible aspects of the caregiver´s life, which requires other supplementary psychosocial interventions.

Keywords : Dementia; informal caregiver; intervention program; psychoeducational intervention.

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