Supporting Family Caregivers in Stroke Care: A Review of the Evidence for Problem Solving

David, R. Thompson , May H.L. Lui, Fiona M. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose— Teaching effective problem-solving skills to family caregivers of patients with chronic disease has been shown to be useful for promoting physical and psychosocial well-being. However, the use and effectiveness of problem solving for supporting caregivers in stroke care has not been reviewed. This article aims to identify and review studies that have examined the effectiveness of teaching problem solving skills to caregivers in stroke care, highlight gaps in the evidence base, and recommend avenues for additional research.

Methods— A structured review of literature identified from nursing, medicine, and psychology databases from 1970 to 2004 was conducted. Eleven articles reporting the development or evaluation of effective problem-solving interventions for caregivers of patients with stroke were critically appraised using recognized quality criteria.

Results— The results of this review show that the strength of evidence for problem-solving interventions for caregivers of stroke patients is limited. Because some studies used small samples and varied methods and interventions, making a comparison was difficult. Caregivers’ problem-solving abilities were rarely measured, and the theoretical concepts and framework underpinning most studies were unclear.

Conclusions— Evidence from the review suggests a need to additionally study the link between theoretical concepts of effective problem solving and outcomes using standardized measures and to examine also the processes involved in implementing the intervention using multimethod designs, including both quantitative and qualitative approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2514-2522
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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