Carer training - background research

There have been several pieces of research looking into the benefits of providing information and training to family carers. The most notable studies have been carried out in Australia. In particular a study by Brodaty and Gresham (1989) reported a significant improvement in the health of carers and a delay in the institutionalisation of the person with dementia, but without an associated increase in the use of health care services by either patient or carer following intensive carer training.

This research in effect proposed an intervention, which could not only allay the present fears and misconceptions of the carer, but could also work as a preventative measure, delaying the person with dementia’s admission into long term care.

The benefits of making training available to carers are wider than the changes it may bring to individuals. Brodaty’s research also demonstrated considerable financial savings in health and social services where carers attended a training programme. A further study, also in Australia, taking place over five years, found that institutional placement was delayed, psychological morbidity in the caregivers was reduced and the amount saved in prescriptions, visits to practitioners and direct services etc. averaged $8000 Australian dollars per couple over three years.

The research evidence, therefore, seems to suggest that carer training can prove to be a beneficial means of supporting carers by reducing stress and having a positive effect on carers’ quality of life in addition to being cost effective for providers of health and social work services.


  • Teri, L; Training families to provide care: Effects on people with dementia International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 14, 110-119 (1999)
  • Brodaty, H et al; Cost Effectiveness of a Training Program for Dementia Carers International Psychogeriatrics, Vol 3, No. 1 (1991)
  • Brodaty, H et al; Effects of a training programme to reduce stress in carers of patients with dementia British Medical Journal Volume 299 (1990)
  • Brodaty, H et al; The Prince Henry Hospital Dementia Caregivers’ Training Programme International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Vol 12: 183-192 (1997)
  • McLoughlin, D; Ng, A; Support and information in a stress-free environment Journal of Dementia Care 7 (4) July/August 14-15 (1999)
  • Hepburn, K W; Tornatore, J; Center, B. et al; Training family care givers of people with dementia to think in a more clinical manner: decreased depression and the sense of burden Journal of the American Geriatric Society Apr; 49; 450-7 (2001)