Update on the State of the Evidence for Stroke Family Caregiver and Dyad Interventions
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Stroke remains a leading cause of serious long-term disability,1 with most stroke survivors returning home under the care of family members who are often unprepared for the caregiving role and lack training from healthcare providers.2,3 As a result, many stroke family caregivers experience burden, depressive symptoms, and reduced health-related quality of life.2,3 Aside from these individual issues, caregivers commonly experience interpersonal and organizational issues.2,3 Interpersonal issues reflect changes in relationships with the survivor and others, impacting roles and social activities.2 Organizational issues involve difficulty in finding resources and services.2
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association published a scientific statement with evidence-based recommendations for stroke family caregiver and dyad interventions that are summarized in 5 main areas (Table I in the online-only Data Supplement).4 Dyad interventions were defined as those that targeted both the stroke survivor and the family caregiver, with both being active participants in the intervention.4 Intervention studies that involved family caregivers in the intervention, but did not target the health or well-being of the caregiver, were not considered to be dyad interventions.4 The recommendations were based on a critical analysis of 17 caregiver and 15 dyad intervention studies found in the literature between January 1990 and October 2012.4 Because of the rapidly growing literature in this area, the purpose of this article is to provide an update on the state of the evidence for stroke family caregiver and dyad interventions published between November 2012 and December 2016.
A critical analysis of published stroke family caregiver and dyad intervention studies was conducted using the following inclusion criteria: (1) written in the English language; (2) published from November 2012 through December 2016; (3) used a quasi-experimental or experimental research design; (4) involved a …