Psychosocial impact of caregiving in dementia and quality of life: a systematic review and meta-synthesis

  • G. Garip
  • A. Cross
  • D. Sheffield


Background: With the rising prevalence of dementia comes an increase in the number of people providing informal care. Caregiving for a person with dementia can present challenges that may have a psychosocial impact on the individual in terms of quality of life. Methods: A systematic review of the qualitative literature on the experiences, quality of life, and psychosocial impact of caregiving on adult informal caregivers of people with dementia. The meta-synthesis was conducted according to the principles of meta-ethnography to interpret and synthesise the studies identified from the review. Data quality was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme criteria. Findings: The review protocol was registered on PROSPERO (reference: CRD42016041747) and 1235 studies were initially identified from five databases. Fourteen studies describing the experiences of a total of 298 informal caregivers were entered into the review. The meta-synthesis elicited the following themes: 1) perceptions of the emotional impact of caregiving; 2) support needs and coping strategies for dealing with the emotional impact of caregiving; and 3) the role of culture and relationship dynamics in caregiving. Discussion: Our findings highlight the need for a person-centered approach to care planning that also accounts for the needs of the informal caregiver to promote better caregiver well-being and quality of life. Caregiver emotional support, coping, resilience, and adjustment to caregiver identity should be reviewed as part of the care package for the person with dementia.
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