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Involvement of informal caregivers in supporting patients with COPD: a review of intervention studies

Authors Bryant J, Mansfield E, Boyes A, Waller A, Sanson-Fisher R, Regan T

Received 1 March 2016

Accepted for publication 8 May 2016

Published 14 July 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 1587—1596


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Jamie Bryant,1,2 Elise Mansfield,1,2 Allison W Boyes,1,2 Amy Waller,1,2 Rob Sanson-Fisher,1,2 Timothy Regan1,2

1Health Behaviour Research Group, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, 2Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Abstract: Caregivers of individuals with COPD have a key role in maintaining patient adherence and optimizing patient function. However, no systematic review has examined how the caregiver role has been operationalized in interventions to improve outcomes of individuals with COPD or the quality or effectiveness of these interventions. The aims of this review were to 1) determine whether caregivers have been involved as part of interventions to improve outcomes of individuals with COPD; 2) determine the risk of bias within included intervention studies; and 3) examine the effectiveness of interventions that have involved caregivers in improving outcomes of individuals with COPD. The electronic databases of Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library were searched from January 2000 to November 2015. Experimental studies testing interventions that involved a caregiver to improve COPD patient outcomes were eligible. Nine studies involving caregivers met inclusion criteria. No studies reported any intervention components targeted solely at caregivers, with most instead including caregivers in dyadic or group education sessions about COPD delivered by health care professionals. The risk of bias identified in included studies was mixed. Seven of the nine studies were effective in improving a broad range of outcomes. These findings highlight that there is an urgent need for methodologically rigorous interventions to examine the effectiveness of strategies to assist caregivers to provide direct care, encourage adherence to health care provider recommendations, act as a health care advocate, and provide emotional and psychosocial support to individuals with COPD.

Keywords: COPD, carer, support persons, intervention studies

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