Can Family Caregivers Really Get Help from Telemedicine?

Researchers from the University of Washington School of Nursing conducted a systematic review of studies using telehealth interventions that focused on well-being outcomes for family caregivers.

The initial search for studies produced 65 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The articles included 52 experimental studies, 11 evaluation studies, one case study and one secondary analysis.

Thirty-three articles focused on family caregivers of adult and older patients, while 32 articles focused on parental caregivers of pediatric patients.

The technologies included video, web-based, telephone-based and telemetry/remote monitoring.

Six main categories of interventions were delivered via technology: education, consultation (including decision support), psychosocial/cognitive behavioral therapy (including problem solving training), social support, data collection and monitoring, and clinical care delivery.

More than 95% of the studies reported significant improvements in the caregivers' outcomes and that caregivers were satisfied and comfortable with telehealth.

The evaluators concluded that their review showed that telehealth can positively affect chronic disease care, home and hospice care.

Citation:  Chi NC, Demiris G. A systematic review of telehealth tools and interventions to support family caregivers. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 2015 Jan; 21 (1):37-44. Epub 2014 Dec 4.

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