Quality of Life Research

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1059–1092 | Cite as

Measuring the impact of informal elderly caregiving: a systematic review of tools

  • Isabel Mosquera
  • Itziar Vergara
  • Isabel Larrañaga
  • Mónica Machón
  • María del Río
  • Carlos Calderón



To classify and identify the main characteristics of the tools used in practice to assess the impact of elderly caregiving on the informal carers’ life.


A systematic review of literature was performed searching in Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, IBECS, LILACS, SiiS, SSCI and Cochrane Library from 2009 to 2013 in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, and in reference lists of included papers.


The review included 79 studies, among them several in languages other than English. Their inclusion increased the variety of identified tools to measure this impact (n = 93) and allowed a wider analysis of their geographical use. While confirming their overlapping nature, instruments were classified according to the degree of integration of dimensions they evaluated and their specificity to the caregiving process: caregiver burden (n = 20), quality of life and well-being (n = 11), management and coping (n = 21), emotional and mental health (n = 29), psychosocial impact (n = 10), physical health and healthy habits (n = 2), and other measures. A high use in practice of tools not validated yet and not caregiver-specific was identified.


The great variety and characteristics of instruments identified in this review confirm the complexity and multidimensionality of the effects of elderly caregiving on the informal carer’s life and explain the difficulties to assess these effects in practice. According to the classification provided, caregiver burden and emotional and mental health are the most evaluated dimensions. However, further work is required to develop integrated and caregiving focused procedures that can appraise this complexity across different countries and cultures.


Caregivers Elderly Health Quality of Life Tool 


Author contributions

IM, IV, IL, MM and CC designed the study and contributed to data analysis and interpretation. IM and MM acquired data. IM wrote the manuscript and the other authors participated in the review of the different drafts and approved the final version.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. The study design of the manuscript corresponds to a systematic review of the literature.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Mosquera
    • 1
    • 2
  • Itziar Vergara
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Isabel Larrañaga
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Mónica Machón
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • María del Río
    • 7
    • 8
  • Carlos Calderón
    • 1
    • 4
    • 9
  1. 1.Unidad de Investigación de Atención Primaria-OSIs Gipuzkoa OsakidetzaSan SebastiánSpain
  2. 2.Programa de Doctorado en Salud PúblicaUniversidad del País VascoLeioaSpain
  3. 3.Red de Investigación en Servicios de Salud en Enfermedades Crónicas-REDISSECSan SebastiánSpain
  4. 4.Centro de Investigación en Cronicidad, KRONIKGUNEBilbaoSpain
  5. 5.Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria BiodonostiaSan SebastiánSpain
  6. 6.Departamento de Salud, Delegación Territorial de GipuzkoaGobierno VascoSan SebastiánSpain
  7. 7.Escuela Andaluza de Salud PúblicaGranadaSpain
  8. 8.Instituto de Investigación Biosanitaria (ibs.Granada)GranadaSpain
  9. 9. Centro de salud de Alza OSI Donostialdea, Osakidetza San SebastiánSpain

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