• Cognitive reframing for carers of people with dementia

      Vernooij-Dassen, M.; Draskovic, I.; McCleery, J.; Downs, Murna G. (2011)
      BACKGROUND: The balance of evidence about whether psychosocial interventions for caregivers of people with dementia could reduce carers' psychological morbidity and delay their relatives' institutionalisation is now widely regarded as moderately positive (Brodaty 2003; Spijker 2008). Multi-component, tailor-made psychosocial interventions are considered to be particularly promising (Brodaty 2003; Spijker 2008). These interventions involve multiple mechanisms of action. In this review we focused solely on the effectiveness of one element within psychosocial interventions, cognitive reframing. Cognitive reframing is a component of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In dementia care, cognitive reframing interventions focus on family carers' maladaptive, self-defeating or distressing cognitions about their relatives' behaviors and about their own performance in the caring role. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of cognitive reframing interventions for family carers of people with dementia on their psychological morbidity and stress. SEARCH METHODS: The trials were identified by searching (5 April 2009) the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group Specialized Register, which contains records from major healthcare databases: The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and LILACS, ongoing trial databases and grey literature sources. For more detailed information on what the Group's specialized register contains and to view the search strategies see the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group methods used in reviews.The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, LILACS and a number of trial registers and grey literature sources were also searched separately on 5 April 2009. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials of cognitive reframing interventions for family carers of people with dementia. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Three assessors (MVD, ID, JmC) independently judged whether the intervention being studied was documented in a trial; two assessors assessed trial quality. MAIN RESULTS: Pooled data indicated a beneficial effect of cognitive reframing interventions on carers' psychological morbidity, specifically anxiety (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.21; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.39 to -0.04), depression (SMD -0.66; 95% CI -1.27 to -0.05), and subjective stress (SMD -0.23; 95% CI -0.43 to -0.04). No effects were found for carers' coping, appraisal of the burden, reactions to their relatives' behaviors, or institutionalization of the person with dementia. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Cognitive reframing for family carers of people with dementia seems to reduce psychological morbidity and subjective stress but without altering appraisals of coping or burden. The results suggest that it may be an effective component of individualised, multi-component interventions for carers. Identifying studies with relevant interventions was a challenge for this review. The impact of cognitive reframing might be higher when used alongside other interventions because this offers better opportunities to tailor cognitive reframing to actual everyday carer problems.
    • Exploring the care needs of patients with advanced COPD: an overview of the literature

      Gardiner, C.; Gott, M.; Payne, S.; Small, Neil A.; Barnes, S.; Halpin, D.; Ruse, C.; Seamark, D. (2010)
      Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a highly prevalent condition worldwide and is associated with significant mortality. This paper gives an overview of the relevant literature regarding care needs in advanced COPD from the perspective of the patient or carer, and aims to explore the appropriateness of a palliative care approach in this group. Publications revealed that patients with COPD have a high symptom burden that impacts on quality of life and social functioning. Information provision in COPD is often lacking and the implications of diagnosis and prognosis are not routinely discussed. The impact on families and carers is considerable, many patients have significant care requirements which can affect family relationships. Although patients with COPD have regular contact with health services, access to specialist services and palliative care is poor. This paper highlights the need for increased provision for palliative care in COPD, alongside dedicated education and training for health professionals, and continued research to identify the most appropriate ways of delivering this care.
    • Family carers' perspectives on post-school transition of young people with intellectual disabilities with special reference to ethnicity

      Raghavan, R.; Pawson, Nicole; Small, Neil A. (2013)
      School leavers with intellectual disabilities (ID) often face difficulties in making a smooth transition from school to college, employment or more broadly to adult life. The transition phase is traumatic for the young person with ID and their families as it often results in the loss of friendships, relationships and social networks. The aim of this study was to explore the family carers' views and experiences on transition from school to college or to adult life with special reference to ethnicity. Forty-three families (consisting of 16 White British, 24 Pakistani, 2 Bangladeshi and one Black African) were interviewed twice using a semi-structured interview schedule. The carers were interviewed twice, Time 1 (T1) and Time 2 (T2), T2 being a year later to observe any changes during transition. The findings indicate that although transition planning occurred it was relatively later in the young person's school life. Parents were often confused about the process and had limited information about future options for their son or daughter. All family carers regardless of ethnicity, reported lack of information about services and expressed a sense of being excluded. South Asian families experienced more problems related to language, information about services, culture and religion. The majority of families lacked knowledge and awareness of formal services and the transition process. Socio-economic status, high levels of unemployment and caring for a child with a disability accounted for similar family experiences, regardless of ethnic background. The three key areas relevant for ethnicity are interdependence, religion and assumptions by service providers.
    • INSPIRE (INvestigating Social and PractIcal suppoRts at the End of life): Pilot randomised trial of a community social and practical support intervention for adults with life-limiting illness

      McLoughlin, K.; Rhatigan, J.; McGilloway, S.; Kellehear, Allan; Lucey, M.; Twomey, F.; Conroy, M.; Herrera-Molina, E.; Kumar, S.; Furlong, M.; et al. (2015)
      BACKGROUND: For most people, home is the preferred place of care and death. Despite the development of specialist palliative care and primary care models of community based service delivery, people who are dying, and their families/carers, can experience isolation, feel excluded from social circles and distanced from their communities. Loneliness and social isolation can have a detrimental impact on both health and quality of life. Internationally, models of social and practical support at the end of life are gaining momentum as a result of the Compassionate Communities movement. These models have not yet been subjected to rigorous evaluation. The aims of the study described in this protocol are: (1) to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of The Good Neighbour Partnership (GNP), a new volunteer-led model of social and practical care/support for community dwelling adults in Ireland who are living with advanced life-limiting illness; and (2) to pilot the method for a Phase III Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT). DESIGN: The INSPIRE study will be conducted within the Medical Research Council (MRC) Framework for the Evaluation of Complex Interventions (Phases 0-2) and includes an exploratory two-arm delayed intervention randomised controlled trial. Eighty patients and/or their carers will be randomly allocated to one of two groups: (I) Intervention: GNP in addition to standard care or (II) Control: Standard Care. Recipients of the GNP will be asked for their views on participating in both the study and the intervention. Quantitative and qualitative data will be gathered from both groups over eight weeks through face-to-face interviews which will be conducted before, during and after the intervention. The primary outcome is the effect of the intervention on social and practical need. Secondary outcomes are quality of life, loneliness, social support, social capital, unscheduled health service utilisation, caregiver burden, adverse impacts, and satisfaction with intervention. Volunteers engaged in the GNP will also be assessed in terms of their death anxiety, death self efficacy, self-reported knowledge and confidence with eleven skills considered necessary to be effective GNP volunteers. DISCUSSION: The INSPIRE study addresses an important knowledge gap, providing evidence on the efficacy, utility and acceptability of a unique model of social and practical support for people living at home, with advanced life-limiting illness. The findings will be important in informing the development (and evaluation) of similar service models and policy elsewhere both nationally and internationally. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN18400594 18(th) February 2015.
    • Older people's care experience in community and general hospitals: a comparative study

      Green, J.R.; Forster, A.; Young, J.; Small, Neil A.; Spink, Joanna (2008)
      Community hospitals are an important component of the post-acute care pathway for older people. The objective of this study was to describe and contrast patients' and carers' experiences of community and general hospitals. Interviews with patients and carers revealed similarities in the perceptions of care between the two settings. These included appreciation of staff sensitivity, a sense of security, encouragement of independence and lack of activity. The community hospital was appreciated for its location, atmosphere, accommodation, greater sense of freedom, quality of food and staff attitudes. UK health policy promotes the development of community hospitals. This should be progressed in a way that retains key strengths of the specific service they offer.
    • The Birmingham Relationship Continuity Measure: the development and evaluation of a measure of the perceived continuity of spousal relationships in dementia

      Riley, G.A.; Fisher, G.; Hagger, B.F.; Elliott, A.; Le Serve, H.; Oyebode, Jan R. (2013)
      BACKGROUND: Qualitative research has suggested that spousal carers of someone with dementia differ in terms of whether they perceive their relationship with that person as continuous with the premorbid relationship or as radically different, and that a perception of continuity may be associated with more person-centered care and the experience of fewer of the negative emotions associated with caring. The aim of the study was to develop and evaluate a quantitative measure of the extent to which spousal carers perceive the relationship to be continuous. METHODS: An initial pool of 42 questionnaire items was generated on the basis of the qualitative research about relationship continuity. These were completed by 51 spousal carers and item analysis was used to reduce the pool to 23 items. The retained items, comprising five subscales, were then administered to a second sample of 84 spousal carers, and the questionnaire's reliability, discriminative power, and validity were evaluated. RESULTS: The questionnaire showed good reliability: Cronbach's alpha for the full scale was 0.947, and test-retest reliability was 0.932. Ferguson's delta was 0.987, indicating good discriminative power. Evidence of construct validity was provided by predicted patterns of subscale correlations with the Closeness and Conflict Scale and the Marwit-Meuser Caregiver Grief Inventory. CONCLUSION: Initial psychometric evaluation of the measure was encouraging. The measure provides a quantitative means of investigating ideas from qualitative research about the role of relationship continuity in influencing how spousal carers provide care and how they react emotionally to their caring role.
    • The personal experience of partners of individuals with motor neuron disease

      Oyebode, Jan R.; Smith, H.J.; Morrison, K. (2013)
      Most research on partners' experiences of living with a person with MND is questionnaire-based with no qualitative study focusing on the period between diagnosis and end-of-life care. This study aimed to provide an in-depth qualitative exploration of the experience of living with, and caring for, a partner with MND. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight individuals, and transcripts analysed from an interpretative phenomenological perspective. Two main themes were derived. 'Impact on life' included having concern for partner's safety, having social restrictions, being continually tired, struggling with anger and frustration, loss of intimacy and uncertainty around the future; while 'Adjusting to the situation' included trying to be strong, retaining a sense of normality, appreciation of specialist services, adopting a problem-solving approach, living day to day and ability to remain positive. In conclusion, experiences of stress and loss are illustrated in this sample of partners of those with MND, and it is suggested both these aspects should be integrated into understanding of carers' experiences. Carers appear to inhibit their grief in order to appear strong. Greater understanding of the consequences of this would help in providing appropriate emotional support.