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01.12.2014 | Study protocol | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Family Practice 1/2014

Intervention to improve social and family support for caregivers of dependent patients: ICIAS study protocol

BMC Family Practice > Ausgabe 1/2014
Magdalena Rosell-Murphy, Josep Mª Bonet-Simó, Esther Baena, Gemma Prieto, Eva Bellerino, Francesc Solé, Montserrat Rubio, Ilona Krier, Pascuala Torres, Sonia Mimoso, the ICIAS research group
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2296-15-53) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

MR, JMB, and GP were responsible for the protocol design, project follow-up, and evaluation. FS, FN, EB, IK, AÁ, SK, MP, MR, EB, SM, and EV were responsible for developing materials for the caregivers. JMB, FS, EB, and IK were responsible for designing the intervention. EB was responsible for contact with the team leaders and coordinating the interviewers. FS, JMB, EB, and IK participated in the training of the key staff members of the PHCTs in the intervention group. PT, SK, MP, NA, DA, MRM, and SM were responsible for training related to group education sessions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Despite the existence of formal professional support services, informal support (mainly family members) continues to be the main source of eldercare, especially for those who are dependent or disabled. Professionals on the primary health care are the ideal choice to educate, provide psychological support, and help to mobilize social resources available to the informal caregiver.
Controversy remains concerning the efficiency of multiple interventions, taking a holistic approach to both the patient and caregiver, and optimum utilization of the available community resources. .For this reason our goal is to assess whether an intervention designed to improve the social support for caregivers effectively decreases caregivers burden and improves their quality of life.


Design: Controlled, multicentre, community intervention trial, with patients and their caregivers randomized to the intervention or control group according to their assigned Primary Health Care Team (PHCT).
Study area: Primary Health Care network (9 PHCTs).
Study participants: Primary informal caregivers of patients receiving home health care from participating PHCTs.
Sample: Required sample size is 282 caregivers (141 from PHCTs randomized to the intervention group and 141 from PHCTs randomized to the control group.
Intervention: a) PHCT professionals: standardized training to implement caregivers intervention. b) Caregivers: 1 individualized counselling session, 1 family session, and 4 educational group sessions conducted by participating PHCT professionals; in addition to usual home health care visits, periodic telephone follow-up contact and unlimited telephone support.
Control: Caregivers and dependent patients: usual home health care, consisting of bimonthly scheduled visits, follow-up as needed, and additional attention upon request.
Data analysis
Dependent variables: Caregiver burden (short-form Zarit test), caregivers’ social support (Medical Outcomes Study), and caregivers’ reported quality of life (SF-12)
Independent variables: a) Caregiver: sociodemographic data, Goldberg Scale, Apgar family questionnaire, Holmes and Rahe Psychosocial Stress Scale, number of chronic diseases. b) Dependent patient: sociodemographic data, level of dependency (Barthel Index), cognitive impairment (Pfeiffer test).


If the intervention intended to improve social and family support is effective in reducing the burden on primary informal caregivers of dependent patients, this model can be readily applied throughout usual PHCT clinical practice.

Trial registration

Clinical trials registrar: NCT02065427
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