Systematic Review and Meta- Analysis of the Impact of Carer Stress on Subsequent Institutionalisation of Community-Dwelling Older People
Older lady with friend

In the caregiving literature there is a common assertion that a higher level of carer stress is a critical determinant of premature ending of homecare. However, this contention has not been systematically assessed. We therefore systematically reviewed and meta-analysed the prospective association between various forms of carer stress and subsequent institutionalisation of community-dwelling older people.

The search yielded 6,963 articles. After exclusions, we analysed data from 54 datasets. The meta-analysis found that while carer stress has a significant effect on subsequent institutionalisation of care recipients, the overall effect size was negligible (SMD=0·05, 95% CI=0·04–0·07). 

Sensitivity analyses found that, the effect size was higher for measurements of stress than for other measures, though still relatively small (SMD=0·23, 95% CI=0·09–0·38). Thus, whether analysing the association between carer stress, burden, distress, or depression with either acute or long-term care, the effect size remains small to negligible. Concurrently, we found estimates reduce over time and were smaller with larger studies and those of higher quality, according to the CCAT scores.

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