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Quantifying the unmet needs of caregivers of people with dementia: a critical review of the quality of measures

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Elise Mansfield, Allison W Boyes , Jamie Bryant, Rob Sanson‐Fisher



The array of demanding tasks carried out by caregivers of people with dementia have significant negative impacts on their physical, mental and social well‐being. Needs assessment allows individuals to indicate the extent to which their needs across different areas have or have not been met, allowing for estimations of the prevalence of needs and the extent to which help is required. This approach is extremely valuable in a clinical context, as it enables identification of the areas with which caregivers report a particular desire for help and allows targeting of support and resources to those who identify high levels of unmet needs. This systematic review aimed to critically examine the psychometric properties of measures that assess unmet needs of caregivers of people with dementia.


Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and Cochrane electronic databases were searched between January 1990 and August 2015 for English‐language publications describing the development or validation of measures assessing the unmet needs of adult caregivers of people with dementia. The psychometric properties of included measures were assessed against standard criteria for psychometric quality.


Four measures met the inclusion criteria. Only half of the indices of psychometric quality were tested across measures. Three measures had adequate internal consistency reliability, of which one also showed adequate test–retest reliability. Two measures reported adequate construct validity, while criterion validity was not assessed for any measure.


There is a clear need to develop a psychometrically rigorous instrument to identify the unmet needs of caregivers of people with dementia. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Resource: Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2017; 32: 274–287.