The aim of the study is to
assess how effective the new carer support intervention is in reducing
the burden of care for carers. By burden we mean stress that might
result from caring. We intend to do this by comparing it with support
that is normally offered to carers by nurses. We will also determine
how effective the intervention is in meeting carers' support needs
and in increasing carers' satisfaction.
This study will be carried out by 40 community mental health
nurses from the local authority areas of Perth, Dundee, Angus
and Fife. It is expected that they will provide support to 82
carers from within these areas.
Carers will be randomly allocated to receive either the new support
intervention or support as usual. Carer outcome measures (e.g.
burden) will be gathered during a face-to-face interview at baseline,
immediately after the intervention and at six months follow-up.
Carers will also be asked to assess whether or not their expectations
were met during each visit. Carers' experiences of the interviews
will also be assessed in more depth. This involves interviewing
some carers who benefited from each intervention and some carers
who did not benefit from each intervention.
All information which is collected about carers and nurses during
the course of the study will be kept strictly confidential.
Appropriate ethical approval was sought from the Tayside and
Fife Committee on Medical Ethics. Nurses delivering support as
normal will be offered training following completion of the 6
month follow-up period. Carers receiving support as normal will
be offered the new intervention after the nurse training is complete.