City Research Online

The carers’ perspective: loving someone with health issues

Jacobi, N. (2015). The carers’ perspective: loving someone with health issues. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a carer training programme delivered alongsideCognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST).

Design and Subjects: The project used a mixed methodology design. It comprised a single blind, randomised control trial and a thematic analysis of focus group interviews exploring the impact the training had on the carer experience. Sixty-eight people with dementia and their carers were recruited as participant dyads and randomised into one of three conditions; CST plus carer training, CST only or a wait-list control. Carers were administered four questionnaires addressing caregiver burden, self-efficacy, general well-being and carer/patient relationship at baseline and 15 weeks follow up. Focus group interviews were undertaken with eighteen carers who completed the carer training programme alongside their family member with dementia attending a CST group programme.

Setting: Participants were recruited from South Essex Partnership Trust across Bedfordshire, UK.

Results: From the quantitative results only one significant result, from the ANCOVA analysis, was found, this was in the quality of the relationship: F(1, 44) =12.159, p = .001 (ƞp2 =.225). The qualitative thematic analysis illustrated a change in carer perception as a result of the training. The participants described an opening position named Pessimism, which included isolation, stigma, lack of support, carer burden, depression and loss. Through adopting strategies shared in the training programme they moved to a position named Mastery with improved understanding, control and self-efficacy leading to hope. This resulted in a third theme named Welfare which reflected improved relationships, interaction and well-being and an ability to facilitate respite.

Conclusions: For carers of people with dementia, in addition to traditional education about dementia, carer training should also consider communication strategies, person-centred interactions and interpretation skills of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. This research found these to be beneficial in enhancing the informal carers’ caring experience, resulting in improved relationships. Undertaking specific stimulating activities was more successful when introduced in an organic naturalistic way.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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