Twenty-two studies (at least 2,435 patients) were included: 18 RCTs (at least 2,086 patients), 2 non-randomised comparative studies (n=231) and 2 uncontrolled studies (n=118).
Not all of the studies reported withdrawals and drop-outs.
Overall, 10 studies reported positive outcomes on at least one measure. Studies found positive outcomes for depression (2 studies), knowledge (5 studies), satisfaction with care (1 study), family functioning (1 study), quality of life (3 studies), problem-solving skills (2 studies), social activities in daily life (2 studies), social support (2 studies) and burden (2 studies).
Three studies reported negative outcomes for caregivers. The studies found poorer general health with an early discharge and community rehabilitation team (1 study), more dissatisfaction with information and higher caregiver burden for an integrated care pathway (1 study), and poorer social functioning with a stroke education programme (1 study).
Type of intervention.
Facilitating and improving discharge: 4 of the 12 studies showed significant improvements for the caregiver.
(Psych)education: 4 of the 6 studies showed improvements for the caregiver. Counselling: 3 of the 4 studies showed improvements for the caregiver.
Peer support: the only study using peer support found no difference in caregiver outcomes.