What is known from the Existing Literature about Peer Support Interventions for Carers of Individuals Living with Dementia: A Scoping Review

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This scoping review comprehensively describes evidence of using peer support to assist informal carers of individuals with dementia (any type). A systematic search of 11 databases (CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Medline, Embase, PsychInfo, Web of Science, Scopus, Science Direct, ProQuest, TRIP and PubMed) was conducted for research published between 2007–2017 focussing on informal dementia carers, and research designs with interventions incorporating or consisting exclusively of peer support. Authors worked independently to screen retrieved articles, review applicability and extract data. Thirty‐six research papers (representing 28 original studies) were identified, from these, two modes of delivery were demonstrated: 12 studies provided the intervention online, and the remainder face‐to‐face. The review indicated that peer support is of potential benefit to carers if it is delivered via either mode. It is not clear what components may or may not be effective as results provided a mixed landscape of differing intervention effectiveness due to the wide variation in outcome measurements. Trial design using a multi‐component intervention was the predominant choice, with the most common components being Information Sharing and Non‐Healthcare Professional Support for both delivery modes. The burden/anxiety/depression compendium and health and well‐being were the most frequently measured outcomes; perceived level of support was one of the least. The peer support interventions identified included various components, demonstrating no true best practice model. Nonetheless, they can be offered successfully online or face‐to‐face. This provides a unique opportunity to develop and supply tailored peer support interventions for informal dementia carers to ensure their specific needs are met. Further work is required to construct and evaluate the effectiveness of targeted peer‐led support whether online or face‐to‐face to meet the individual needs of dementia carers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1151
Number of pages18
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
Early online date09 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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