Community care for patients with Alzheimer's disease and non-demented elderly people: Use and satisfaction with services and unmet needs in family caregivers

Marirosa Dello Buono, Renata Busato, Manuela Mazzetto, Bruno Paccagnella, Federica Aleotti, Orazio Zanetti, Angelo Bianchetti, Marco Trabucchi, Diego De Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective. This study measures and compares use of and satisfaction with medical and social services in addition to subjectively perceived needs of family supporters of patients with probable or possible Alzheimer's disease (AD) and family supporters of non-demented elderly people. Differences in judgement of services within the subpopulation of families of AD patients are also assessed by gender and burden level. Methods. The main family supporters of 60 community-dwelling elderly (aged over 65) with Alzheimer's disease and of 60 age- and sex-matched controls were tested with a detailed questionnaire on use and satisfaction with services, any unmet needs and kinds of intervention perceived to be helpful. Results. Supporters of elderly people with AD were significantly more involved in providing care than supporters of non-demented people. Judgement on the health, social relations and financial status of their families was significantly worse in AD supporters than in supporters of non-demented elderly people. Although the former made more use of available health and social services than the control population, they did appeal to make little use of such services, not only because of lack of information but also for logistic reasons or because they would prefer a service with more specifically trained operators or more tailored intervention. AD family supporters would like to receive more information and support from their general practitioner, which confirms the importance of this figure in management of this pathology. They were less satisfied with the care provided than the control population, particularly those with a moderate-high burden. Irrespective of burden level, they also expressed a need for financial and psychological support and adequate intervention schemes, especially within the home. These should be provided by specially trained personnel and be tailored to specifically manage the individual patient's problems, especially in relation to behavioural disorders. This would help alleviate caregiver burden and allow patients to continue to be managed at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-924
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume14
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999

Keywords

  • Alzheimer patients
  • Burden
  • Caregivers
  • General practitioners
  • Non-demented elderly
  • Service satisfaction
  • Service use
  • Supporters
  • Unmet needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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