American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review


A Comparison of Studies on the Quality of Life of Primary Caregivers of Stroke Survivors: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Rombough, R. E., Howse, E. L., et al. (2007).
Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 14(3), 69–79.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a systematic review of published, peer-reviewed articles pertaining to quality of life for caregivers of stroke survivors. Although not specific to speech and langauge treatment, the authors recommend "a globally utilized instrument to measure quality of life which is more specific to caregivers of stroke survivors" (p. 78). At this time, the research evidence addressing the quality of life of caregivers of stroke survivors is limited. No conclusions can be drawn.

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specifically stated.

Population: Primary caregivers of stroke survivors.

Intervention/Assessment: Effect on quality of life

Number of Studies Included: 9

Years Included: Through 2005

Findings:

Conclusions:

  • Stroke survivor's functional ability: "It was observed in three studies that greater functional independence of the stroke survivor was positively related to higher perceived quality of life (QOL) of the caregiver" (p. 74). 
  • Impact of stroke on mental and physical health of caregivers: Two studies reported a decline in health-related QOL. Another study reported a 20% prevalence of depression for caregivers. 
  • Impact of stroke survivors with aphasia on caregivers: The impact of communication deficits on caregivers was not examined in any study. 
  • Impact of caregiver burden on QOL: One study noted a positive relation between caregiver burden and quality of life. Another study noted that stroke negatively affected internal strain, anxiety, physical burden, socioeconomic consequences and marital satisfaction.  
  • Effects of training and social activities on primary caregiver's QOL:
    One study found that primary caregivers of stroke survivors with professional support reported a significant increase in social activities and improved QOL compared to a group that did not receive professional support from a stroke association. The supported individuals were also more knowledgeable about stroke and its prevention. Another study found that caregivers who received training experienced less burden, anxiety, or depression and had a higher QOL within 1 year after stroke.  
  • The research evidence addressing the quality of life of caregivers of stroke survivors is limited. No conclusions can be drawn based on this review. The author recommends a globally utilized instrument to measure quality of life which is more specific to caregivers of stroke survivors (p. 78).

Keywords: Stroke

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Added to Compendium: August 2010

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