Alzheimer's disease caregiving information and skills. Part II: Family caregiver issues and concerns


  • In addition to Drs. Loukissa and Perraud, the following individuals also served as group facilitators over the course of the project: Penny Hauser, Sara Horton-Deutsch, Amy Levin, Danielle Mele, Renee Miller, Lou Systma, and June Walsh. Coinvestigators who were involved in developing and monitoring the overall study design and implementation included Julia L. Bienias, David W. Gilley, David A. Lindeman, and Judith J. McCann.


In recent years researchers have carried out an increasing number of clinical trials with family caregivers of the elderly. The results of these interventions have suggested that caregiver skill-building interventions may be more effective than information/support interventions. Although researchers have given considerable attention to the information and support needed by family caregivers, less is known about how this information and support translates into caregiver skills or into changes in behavior. This is the second in a series of three articles on a study in which researchers used qualitative methods to analyze summaries from the group component of a larger caregiver clinical trial. In this article we describe caregiver issues and concerns in five major areas: (a) dealing with change, (b) managing competing responsibilities and stressors, (c) providing a broad spectrum of care, (d) finding and using resources, and (e) experiencing emotional and physical responses to care. We identify specific skills needed by caregivers in addressing these caregiving issues and concerns, and we compare and contrast skilled with less skilled caregivers. Further work is needed concerning the focus and methods of future caregiver skill-based interventions. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 27:40–51, 2004