Background: A variety of interventions are available to support the caregivers of dementia patients. For the purposes of service planning, we developed an instrument to assess the needs of these caregivers and to determine whether needs are met. The reliability and validity of this new instrument was also investigated.
Methods: The development of the Carers' Needs Assessment for Dementia (CNA-D), was based on in-depth interviews and a focus group. The combined inter-rater and test–retest reliability was investigated among 45 dementia caregivers. Correlations of the CNA-D with the Zarit Burden Inventory were used to analyze concurrent validity. Content validity was investigated by performing a separate survey among 40 caregivers and 40 professionals.
Results: The CNA-D is a semi-structured research interview including 18 problem areas. For each problem area, the CNA-D offers several possible interventions. The relevance of the problem areas and the interventions (content validity) was confirmed by most of the study participants. Significant positive associations were found between the total score of the Zarit Burden Inventory and the number of problems and the number of unmet needs according to the CNA-D. The agreement between the interviewers was “excellent” (κ above 0.75) in 73.7% of the problem areas and in 69.9% of the interventions.
Conclusions: The CNA-D is a valid and reliable instrument for comprehensively assessing the needs of dementia caregivers.