(HealthDay News) — A psychological intervention demonstrates clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness for family carers for people with dementia, according to a study published online Nov. 19 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Gill Livingston, M.D., from University College London, and colleagues examined the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a psychological intervention (STrAtegies for RelaTives [START]) for family carers of people with dementia. Carers were recruited from Nov. 4, 2009, to June 8, 2011, and were randomized to START (140 carers), an eight-session, manual-based coping intervention delivered by supervised psychology graduates, or to treatment as usual (TAU; 69 carers). Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness were assessed at two years after randomization

The researchers found that, compared with TAU, the START group was significantly better for affective symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale total score) at 24 months (mean difference, −2.58; P = 0.003). For both carers and patients, the intervention was found to be cost-effective (at £20,000 per quality-adjusted life-year willingness-to-pay threshold, 67 percent probability of cost-effectiveness; at £30,000 threshold, 70 percent probability of cost-effectiveness).

“This cost-neutral intervention, which substantially improves family-carers’ mental health and quality of life, should therefore be widely available,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to GE Healthcare and Lundbeck.

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