European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 111–119 | Cite as

Counselling for dementia caregivers—predictors for utilization and expected quality from a family caregiver’s point of view

  • Elmar GräßelEmail author
  • Katharina Luttenberger
  • Angelika Trilling
  • Carolin Donath
Original Investigation


Caregiver counselling has proved to be effective in reducing the burden of family caregivers of dementia patients. Nevertheless, little is known about the influencing factors for utilization and quality expectations of family caregivers. In this article, we address the following questions on the theoretical base of the Andersen/Newman model: Which variables of the care situation, the caregivers and their attitudes act as predictors for the utilization of caregiver counselling? What are the views of caregivers about the quality of caregiver counselling? The cross-sectional study was carried out as an anonymous written survey of family caregivers of dementia patients in four regions, both urban and rural, of Germany. Quantitative and qualitative data from 404 family caregivers were analysed using binary logistic regression analysis and qualitative content analysis, respectively. The only significant predictor for utilization is the assessment of how helpful caregiver counselling is for the individual care situation. In the sensitivity analysis ‘accessibility of caregiver counselling’ was additionally predictive for usage. Family caregivers most frequently expressed a wish for advice about further ‘support offers’ by qualified counsellors. In order to increase the rate of utilization, family caregivers must be convinced of the relevant advantages of using caregiver counselling. Counselling services should provide information about further support offers and give practical help in filling out application forms.


Caregiver counselling Dementia Family caregiver Utilization Quality 



We would like to thank the family caregivers who contributed to the success of this study by giving their opinions. The staff of the regional offices of the Alzheimer’s Society, other caregiver counselling services and the Medical Services of the Health Insurance companies are also thanked for their kind help in distributing the questionnaires. A special thank to Ms H. Römer (Alzheimer’s Society Dortmund) and Ms A. Winkler (Alzheimer’s Society Brandenburg) and the Alzheimer’s Society Mittelfranken for their support and particularly the German Alzheimer’s Society for awarding us the Research prize that allowed us to carry out this study.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that no conflicts of interests exist.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elmar Gräßel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katharina Luttenberger
    • 1
  • Angelika Trilling
    • 2
  • Carolin Donath
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, Clinic for Psychiatry and PsychotherapyErlangen University HospitalErlangenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Social ServicesKasselGermany

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