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TitleInterventions to Support Carers of People with Dementia
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Table of Contents
Copyright and publication details
Steering Committee
Key Messages
Executive Summary
	Why is this review important?
	What were the carer support interventions included?
	Are carer support interventions effective in delaying or preventing entry into residential care?
	What are the implications?
1 What is this report about?
	1.1 Why is this review important?
	1.2 Objectives of this review
	1.3 Review type
	1.4 Review structure
2 Review methods
	2.1 Study selection
	2.2 Data extraction
	2.3 Quality assessment
	2.4 Evidence synthesis
3 Overview of included studies
	3.1 Study selection
	3.2 Characteristics of studies
	3.3 Quality of studies
4 Results
	4.1 What types of interventions were effective?
	4.2 What are the key findings?
5 Implications and conclusion
	5.1 Implications for policy makers
	5.2 Implications for researchers in this field
	5.3 Strengths and limitations of this review
A Dementia policy, programs and services
	A.1 Policy focus on dementia
	A.2 Dementia programs and services
B Study characteristics and results
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Interventions to support carers of people with

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 Commonwealth of Australia 2018

ISBN 978-1-74037-664-8

Except for the Commonwealth Coat of Arms and content supplied by third parties, this copyright
work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence. To view a copy of this
licence, visit In essence, you are free to copy,
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licence terms.

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Cabinet’s website:

Third party copyright
Wherever a third party holds copyright in this material, the copyright remains with that party. Their
permission may be required to use the material, please contact them directly.

This work should be attributed as follows, Source: Steering Committee for the Review of Government
Service Provision, Interventions to support carers of people with dementia.
If you have adapted, modified or transformed this work in anyway, please use the following, Source:
based on Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Interventions to
support carers of people with dementia.

An appropriate reference for this publication is:
SCRGSP (Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision) 2018, Interventions
to support carers of people with dementia, Productivity Commission, Canberra.

Publications enquiries
The Productivity Commission acts as the Secretariat for the Steering Committee for the Review of
Government Service Provision. This report is available from the Productivity Commission website
The Steering Committee welcomes enquiries and suggestions on the information contained in this
report, contact the Secretariat by phone: (03) 9653 2100 or email: [email protected]

What are What Works reviews?
What Works reviews complement the performance reporting in the Report on Government
Services (RoGS) by reviewing current global evidence on what works (or does not) to achieve
particular outcomes for government services. The aim is to improve the wellbeing of all
Australians through providing decision makers with high quality information on what works to
address existing social policy needs.
The reviews are intended to be targeted at policy issues, be rigorous yet timely and balance the
overall evidence with practical advice and theory. The What Works approach will also include
follow-up with governments on the use of the reviews, and the monitoring of relevant outcomes
in the RoGS to ensure a feedback loop between evidence production and implementation.

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Rapid evidence assessments aim to balance rigour and timeliness, and ‘shortcuts’ are
implemented that can bias the results. For this review, the shortcuts taken included:

• searching only three databases — Medline, Ageline and PsycINFO — for relevant
studies. As a result, articles in journals that are not indexed in these databases were not
located in the initial search. To reduce the chance of studies being missed, reference lists
of included studies and similar systematic reviews were also searched.

• applying restrictions to the type of study that would be included. Studies had to be
published in peer-reviewed journals, and grey literature such as book chapters and
government publications was excluded. Therefore, interventions not published because
they had less promising results would have been missed. Moreover, only studies in
English were included, therefore excluding otherwise relevant interventions published in
another language.

In addition to the strengths and limitations of the rapid evidence assessment process, the
review team did not have prior expertise in conducting rapid evidence assessments, or the
subject area. To account for this, consultants with expertise in rapid evidence assessments,
and the subject area provided advice and guidance. On the other hand, the lack of prior
experience of the review team could also be a strength of this review, as the team members
were not biased by any preconceived notions or past experiences.

Another limitation was the search string used to search the three databases. For many
reviews, a librarian generally constructs the search string with input from the subject area
experts working on the review. For this review, the search string was developed by the
review team who did not have expertise in searching databases. To mitigate the risk that
some relevant studies might have been missed and to provide quality assurance, the search
string was tested extensively.

Originally, it was planned that this review would assess interventions aimed at carers of all
older people. However, once the initial search was conducted it became clear that the studies
that would be included were too numerous, given time constraints. The scope was limited to
carers of people with dementia, to ensure the task was manageable and the question being
answered remained policy relevant (chapter 1).

As the database search had already been conducted when this decision was made, this change
could have biased the review, as the search string might have been different if the review
was limited to dementia from the start. However, the search string already included two
dementia-related terms. In addition, testing was undertaken using two of the databases to
determine if including additional dementia-related terms would have resulted in more
relevant studies being identified, and this was found not to be the case.

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