Background: Dementia places a huge demand on healthcare services; however, a large proportion of the cost is borne by informal caregivers. With the number of people affected by dementia set to increase in the future, there is a need for research to consider the effects of interventions on informal caregivers as well as on the individuals with dementia. This paper seeks to systematically review the existing evidence on the cost-effectiveness of interventions to support informal caregivers of people with dementia residing in the community.
Methods: A range of electronic databases was searched. Studies were included if both costs and outcome measures for informal caregivers of people with dementia residing in the community were reported for an intervention. Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions were included. Quality of study was assessed using the Drummond ten-item checklist for economic evaluations and results were presented through narrative synthesis.
Results: Twelve studies were included in the review; of these only four reported a significant difference in the outcome measure for caregivers.
Conclusions: At present few published studies report costs in enough detail to provide evidence of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions for supporting caregivers. Future trials need to collect caregiver data alongside patient data in order to increase the evidence base for intervention effectiveness. Further research is required to establish the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.