Research projects

A GP intervention to assist the primary carer for people with dementia: A longitudinal study

Principal researchers

Professor Dimity Pond

Institution

University of Newcastle

Funding

$100,000

Award type

beyondblue grant

Project completion year

2010

Project brief

This research was funded by beyondblue to complement and enhance a project previously funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and focuses on diagnosis and management of dementia by General Practitioners (GPs). With a focus on depression in carers, the project undertook a trial intervention aimed at relieving caregiver burden and distress. The NHMRC study was a three-state randomised intervention trial in general practice, which examined the utility of a new brief screening instrument and practice guidelines, and compared screening for, or case detection of, early dementia.

Funding from beyondblue enabled the study to substantially increase the scope of the trial intervention with GPs, and to introduce a component aimed specifically at carers’ issues. The project developed a strategy for GP education in carers’ issues, based on feedback from interviews with carers themselves.

The project also undertook an audit of GPs’ provision of care to the carers, both in terms of time spent and services provided, including issues discussed and additional referrals generated from discussion with the carer.

Research tasks included:

A. Identify through in-depth interviews with carers their issues and concerns in relation to caring for someone with dementia and, in particular, in relation to the GP care of:
i. the person with dementia
ii. the carer themselves.

B. Compare with a usual care control group, to examine whether training GPs in carers’ issues and concerns, services likely to assist carers and methods of communicating with carers improves:

  • GPs’ discussion with carers of issues relating to their needs and concerns
  • GPs’ referral of carers and consumers to services based on discussion with carers\
  • Carers’ satisfaction with care of themselves (as opposed to care of the consumer)
  • Carers’ depression, quality of life, access to Alzheimer’s Australia and other support groups.

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