Dementia research sheds light on needs of carers
Research funded by the NIHR is helping the NHS to better understand and support the needs of people caring for those with dementia. A number of key studies have been brought together in a new Highlight from the NIHR Dissemination Centre.
The Highlight, Supporting carers of people with dementia, shares the findings of five NIHR funded studies. They reveal:
- a structured coping programme for carers helped to reduce anxiety and was cost-effective
- carers need help to address their negative feelings and psychosocial needs, as well as more practical support
- people with dementia were more than twice as likely to experience incontinence as those without dementia, but carers were often reluctant to seek help
- regular exercise with the person they were looking after helped carers (although did not produce expected benefits for people with dementia)
- people with dementia experience high levels of other disease like diabetes and stroke, but often have poorer access to monitoring services. Care from different teams and services is often poorly coordinated, with the burden falling on carers
- carers often had different views to health and care professionals on what factors precipitated a crisis (carers rating continence problems more highly than staff)
- using case managers to coordinate care for people with dementia showed mixed results, with some possible benefits in reducing burden on carers
The research is complemented by blogs from people with dementia and carers, as well as researchers. Supporting carers of people with dementia is available now on the NIHR Dissemination Centre website.
author: Adam Smith