A systematic review of interventions that reduce family caregiving time

Zachary G. Baker, Eric Jutkowitz, Joseph E. Gaugler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The decreasing number of family/friend caregivers available to help the rising number of older adults is creating a critical family care gap. For this reason, there is a growing need for interventions that reduce family/friend caregiving time. We systematically reviewed five electronic databases to identify randomized trials, case control, quasiexperimental, and cross-sectional studies that evaluated a modifiable element that could be targeted for interventions with care recipients 65+ and/or their family/friend caregivers and reported on an outcome of time spent caregiving. We excluded studies without a comparison, broadly defined. The initial search included 1812 unique records. Following abstract and title screening 311 full-texts were reviewed. Fifty-five studies published between the years of 1990 and 2019 met inclusion criteria. Studies predominantly focused on care recipients with dementia (58%) and were largely conducted in western countries (91%). The categories of interventions reviewed included pharmaceuticals (25%), public long-term care financing (7%), case management (7%), care setting (16%), technology (7%), multicomponent interventions (9%), skills building (15%), additional formal expertise/care (9%), and other (5%), with one study falling into multiple categories. Pharmaceuticals, case management, care setting, and multicomponent interventions demonstrated promising evidence to reduce family/friend caregiving time. Methodologically, studies were inconsistent in measurement and ascertainment of caregiving time. Given the public health concerns of reduced availability of family/friend caregivers for older persons in the upcoming decades, caregiving interventions should consider measurements of caregiving time as key outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBridging the Family Care Gap
Number of pages45
ISBN (Electronic)9780128138984
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Caregiving time
  • Family care gap
  • Family/friend caregiving
  • Informal caregiving
  • Unpaid caregiving


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