A systematic review of the effectiveness of formal functional mobility task training for caregivers of individuals with neurologic diagnoses at decreasing caregiver burden

Purpose/Hypothesis : Individuals with neurologic diagnoses (stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, ParkinsonÕs disease) are faced with motor deficits affecting functional status, and many require assistance with daily tasks. Informal caregivers are unpaid helpers, often family or friends, providing care to allow these individuals to remain in the community.1 Caregivers experience burden, a broad term referring to the physical and psychological stress of this role,2 with caregivers often suffering from injuries and other negative outcomes.3,4,5 Physical therapists have a role in providing training for caregivers. This systematic review sought to determine if training of functional mobility tasks for these caregivers has a positive impact on caregiver burden.Number of Subjects : N/AMaterials/Methods : A systematic review was completed. The primary author searched databases (Medline, PEDro, CINAHL, EBSCOhost, Cochrane Library) for articles including informal caregiver training of functional mobility tasks, and addressing caregiver burden. Studies for patients with dementia or cancer were excluded. Both authors analyzed full text articles, with articles chosen for inclusion through a consensus decision. Both authors extracted data from the included articles, and used the Downs and Black scale to assess methodological quality.6Results : The primary author reviewed 8679 titles. Both authors reviewed twenty-one full text articles, with three articles chosen for inclusion. Two studies had positive results. Finlayson et al.7 had a moderate risk of bias, and found a significant change in the Caregiver Preparedness Scale after training. Kalra et al.8 had a low risk of bias, with a difference in the Caregiver Burden Scale when control and intervention groups were compared. Forster et al.9 found no significant change in the Caregiver Burden Scale when control and intervention groups were compared after training. Functional mobility training was a portion of an educational program including other topics in all studies.Conclusions : There is some initial evidence that caregiver training of functional mobility tasks reduces caregiver burden, but results were inconsistent among included studies. Functional mobility training was also a portion of a larger program within all studies, making specific impact of this training difficult to isolate.Clinical Relevance : Physical therapists have a role in providing caregiver training, and this review provided introductory evidence of potential benefits. Further research is needed to clarify effective instructional techniques and to identify areas of caregiver burden positively affected with training. Such studies will help physical therapists identify ways to improve caregiver training, possibly decreasing caregiver injuries and improving quality of life measures for the caregiver and care recipient.

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  • Control #: 2013108
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Rodney Weir, Donna Cech
  • Keywords: caregiver education|caregiver burden

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