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Open Access Research article

A quasi-experimental study of the effects of an integrated care intervention for the frail elderly on informal caregivers’ satisfaction with care and support

Benjamin Janse*, Robbert Huijsman and Isabelle Natalina Fabbricotti

Author Affiliations

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Institute of Health Policy and Management, P.O. Box 1738, 3000, DR Rotterdam, the Netherlands

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:140  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-140

Published: 29 March 2014

Abstract

Background

This study explored the effects of an integrated care model for the frail elderly on informal caregivers’ satisfaction with care and support services.

Methods

A 62-item instrument was developed and deployed in an evaluative before/after study using a quasi-experimental design and enrolling a control group. The definitive study population (n = 63) consisted mainly of female informal caregivers who did not live with the care recipient. Analysis of separate items involved group comparisons, using paired and unpaired tests, and regression analyses, with baseline measurements, control variables (sex, age and living together with care recipient) and the intervention as independent variables. Subsequently, the underlying factor structure of the theoretical dimensions was investigated using primary component analysis. Group comparisons and regression analyses were performed on the resulting scales.

Results

Satisfaction with the degree to which care was provided according to the need for care of the recipients increased, while satisfaction with the degree to which professionals provided help with administrative tasks, the understandability of the information provided and the degree to which informal caregivers knew which professionals to call, decreased. Primary component analysis yielded 6 scales for satisfaction with care and 5 scales for satisfaction with caregiver support, with sufficient reliability.

Conclusions

The results suggest that expectations regarding the effects of integrated care on informal caregiver satisfaction may not be realistic. However, the results must be seen in light of the small sample size and should therefore be considered as preliminary. Nonetheless, this study provides guidance for further research and integrated care interventions involving informal caregivers.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN05748494. Date of registration: 14/03/2013.

Keywords:
Integrated care; Frail elderly; Informal caregivers; Satisfaction; Care and support; Services