Beyond stroke: Description and evaluation of an effective intervention to support family caregivers of stroke patients

Lidwien M. Schure*, Elisabeth T. P. van den Heuvel, Roy E. Stewart, Robbert Sanderman, Luc P. de Witte, Betty Meyboom-de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a group support program and a home visiting program for family caregivers of stroke patients. It also examined the best fit between intervention variant and family caregiver and patient characteristics. van den Heuvel's previous effect study showed positive effects of the same intervention program, but unlike our present study differences between the two support variants could not be measured.

Methods: Of 257 family caregivers who were included and randomly assigned to an intervention variant or a control group, 127 family caregivers completed the intervention in either the group program or the home visiting program.

Results: Evaluation data showed that both intervention variants had been helpful and feasible, but home visit participants missed peer contact and follow-up contacts were missed in both intervention programs. In comparison to the home visiting program, the group program participants showed more benefit especially with respect to informational and emotional components. Caregivers' preference for type of intervention revealed that both types of intervention had its supporters. Those that preferred the group program could be clearly characterised: they were burdened, lived with a more psychologically handicapped relative, were using active coping strategies more frequently or lived in a region which is considered to be more sociable.

Conclusion: The present study adds extensively to van den Heuvel's effect study with respect to discriminative aspects of group and home intervention programs and their respective benefits for specific family caregiver groups.

Practice implications: In order to suitably match an intervention type with specific caregiver characteristics the intervention provider should utilize caregiver self-selection or undertake professional screening of caregiver burden. Telephone contacts should be offered in addition to the interventions. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2006


  • family caregiver
  • stroke
  • individual support program
  • group support program
  • intervention
  • evaluation
  • CARE

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