Introduction: Caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's Disease experience physical and emotional burnout that can be treated with non-pharmacological interventions.
Aim: Assess the efficacy of a group cognitive behavioural psychotherapeutic intervention, for improving well-being perception in caregivers, compared to a support group. Also, we assessed its efficacy after a follow-up period of 1-year post-intervention.
Subjects and methods: A multicentre, open, quasi experimental study with control group was conducted. 221 caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's Disease, with mild to moderate-severe dementia, were non-randomly assigned to either IG-intervention group: psychotherapeutic program without active follow-up period (n = 80); IGF-intervention group: psychotherapeutic program with active follow-up period (n = 78); or CG-control group: support program with active follow-up period (n = 63). The psychotherapeutic intervention (IG and IGF) is a structured cognitive behavioural group program, of one weekly session over four months. The CG had the same duration. Caregiver's burden, mood disorders, resilience, perceived functional social support and quality of life were measured at baseline, post-intervention and after 1-year follow-up.
Results: At post-intervention, statistically significant improvements were observed in the IG and IGF compared to CG in caregiver burden (p = 0,0216). After one year follow-up, significant improvements were found in IGF compared to IG in emotional state (p = 0,0271), resilience (p = 0,0018), perceived social support (p = 0,014); quality of life (p = 0,0001) and mental health (p = 0,0002); and in CG versus GI in emotional state and social support (p < 0,05).
Conclusions: These results support the efficacy of this psychotherapeutic intervention for improving well-being (burden), and the supportive follow-up period for increasing its efficacy.