How Effective is Telephone-based Psychotherapy for Family-caregivers of People With Dementia? a Randomized Controlled Trial

  • M. Reder
  • R. Soellner
  • A. Machmer
  • G. Wilz


Background: Family-caregivers face high demands creating a need for professional support as well as hindering its utilization. Telephone support allows easier access than face-to-face support. The objectives of this study were (1) to test the implementation of a telephone-based cognitive-behavioural therapy (TCT) in established care provision structures, (2) to assess whether TCT improves outcomes compared to usual care, and (3) whether TCT is as effective as face-to-face therapy (FCT). Methods: This study was designed as a randomized controlled trial with three measurement points. 274 caregivers were randomized to TCT or usual care; 49 participated in FCT. Primary outcomes were subjective health, health complaints and problem solving ability. Findings: Burden of care was high (M=72.58, SD=18.99). WHOQOL-BREF was lower than for the norm population regarding social relations (M=48.61, SD=19.3). 198 (72.8%) had a physical illness and 56 (20.6%) had a mental illness. Discussion: This study showed that family-caregivers have a high burden of care and are willing to participate in TCT which potentially improves health outcomes and elevates the utilization rate of support structures.
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