The effects of family education program on the caregiver burden of families of elderly with dementia disorders

Saeed Pahlavanzadeh, Fatemeh Ghaedi Heidari, Jahangir Maghsudi, Zahra Ghazavi, Saeed Samandari


BACKGROUND: Family caregivers are an essential part of health care services for elderly with dementia disorders, because of providing care for such patients is a big burden for their families. This study aimed to assess the effects of family education program in reducing the burden of families of elderly with dementia.

METHODS: This was a clinical trial, in which 50 family caregivers of the elderly patients with dementia who had referred to two referral centers for dementia in the city of Isfahan were selected with convenient sampling method and were randomized to experimental and control groups. The experimental group participated in a family education program but the control group did not. Data were collected by Zarit's caregiver burden scale completed by caregivers of both groups before, right after, and one month after family education program. Also, Mini-Mental Status Examination was conducted for elderly before the program. Finally, data were analyzed in SPSS software.

RESULTS: Caregivers' burden was gradually increased in the controls, but decreased in the experimental group during the study. The means of caregivers' burden before, right after, and one month after family education program were 42, 35.44, and 33.56 in the experimental group, respectively, while they were 43.28, 46.8 and 50.64 in the control group, respectively. Also, there was a significant difference between caregivers' burden of the two groups immediately after intervention, but one month after intervention no significant difference was seen between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Since conducting this program could reduce caregivers’ burden of families of elderly with dementia,
developing such programs and evaluating them within research projects are recommended.

KEY WORDS: Education program, caregiver, dementia, disease burden.

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