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Social service interventions for caregivers of patients with dementia: impact on health care utilization and expenditures.

Weinberger M, Gold DT, Divine GW, Cowper PA, Hodgson LG, Schreiner PJ, George LK. Social service interventions for caregivers of patients with dementia: impact on health care utilization and expenditures. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 1993 Feb 1; 41(2):153-6.

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OBJECTIVES: An intervention, which had as its primary goal the enhancement of compliance to social work recommendations, was shown to produce extremely high rates of compliance. This report addresses the secondary objective of the study: to evaluate the impact of the intervention on short-term (ie, 6-month) health services utilization and expenditures. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. SETTING: University-based memory disorders clinic. PARTICIPANTS: Caregivers of patients with progressive memory disorders. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Service utilization and expenditures. RESULTS: The intervention did not have a statistically significant impact on utilization of either health care or community resources. The intervention group had $903 less expenditures during the study period, a difference that did not achieve statistical significance. The results were consistent when controlling for caregiver characteristics that differed at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: Although the intervention was successful in enhancing compliance with recommendations, more intensive interventions may be required to increase subsequent service utilization. Future investigations may wish to target the appropriateness of services used over a period longer than 6 months.

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