Transitioning into the caregiver role following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia: A scoping review

Kyungmi Lee, F. Puga, Carolyn E.Z. Pickering, Sara S. Masoud, Carole L. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objectives: To identify experiences, needs, interventions and outcomes for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia as they transition into this new role following diagnosis. Design: Scoping review of published literature. Data sources: A search for published articles was conducted in PsycINFO, Scopus, Ovid and Web of Science databases. Review methods: The Arksey and O'Malley methodological framework guided the review. Studies were screened independently for inclusion by two persons. A total of 955 studies, after duplicates removed, were found by the database search. From these, 127 full-text articles were retained through the screening of titles and abstracts by two reviewers. The two reviewers assessed 46 full-text articles for eligibility. The final 29 studies identified caregiver experiences, needs, and interventions during the period following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia in the scoping review. Results: Twenty-nine studies were organized around three major categories: i) family caregiver experiences on receiving the diagnosis (n = 23), ii) needs during this time of transition (n = 18), and iii) interventions and outcomes to support their transition into the caregiver role (n = 5). While studies may have addressed more than one topic, 16 studies intersected categories of both caregiver experience and needs, and one study intersected categories of needs and interventions. There were several studies that focused more specifically on the caregiver's initial reactions to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia (n = 9), the emotional responses to the diagnosis (n = 14), changes in personal relationships and responsibilities with a new role (n = 16). Caregiver needs following the diagnosis included knowledge and information (n = 14), emotional and psychological support (n = 11), and assistance with care planning (n = 7). Five papers examined interventions specifically tailored to caregiver needs at this juncture, which support the transition into the caregiver role. Conclusions: The time of receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia is a critical period in the process of transitioning into caregiver role. This period marks a new phase in the process of caring by family caregivers. Thus, it is important to fully understand the experiences and needs of caregivers and effective interventions in order to better support their transition into this new role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Caregiver
  • Dementia
  • Diagnosis
  • Experiences
  • Interventions
  • Needs
  • Scoping review
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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