Supporting an informal care group - Social contacts and communication as important aspects in the psychosocial well-being of informal caregivers of older patients in Belgium

Leontien Jansen*, Tine De Burghgraeve, Marjan van den Akker, Frank Buntinx, Birgitte Schoenmakers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Increasingly, informal caregivers in Belgium care in group for an older patient. This study aimed to decrease the caregiver burden and to increase the well-being of caregivers and patients by supporting the needs of informal care groups of older patients (>= 70 years). Method Through an online self-management tool, the groups were supported to make informed choices concerning the care for the older patient, taking into account the standards, values, concerns and needs of every caregiver and patient. A pre-post study was performed. Results Although patients and caregivers considered the self-management tool as useful and supportive, no clear evidence for decreased caregiver burden was found. There was a positive trend in group characteristics such as the distribution of tasks, communication and prevalence of conflicts. Caregivers also stated that they took more time for themselves, had less feelings of guilt and experienced less barriers to ask help. Conclusion Tailor-made support of informal care groups starts with facilitating and guiding a process to achieve consent within the group to optimise the care for the patient and also for the caregivers. With a shared vision and supported decisions, caregivers can enter into conversations with the professional caregiver to coordinate adjusted support regarding the care needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1514-1529
Number of pages16
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • aged
  • caregivers
  • informal care
  • online intervention
  • primary care
  • psychosocial factors
  • support

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