Ageing & Society
Cambridge University Press
School of Nursing and Midwifery / School of Arts and Humanities
Brightwater Care Group
The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing restrictions/lockdowns have caused significant physical and psychological consequences for people with cognitive impairment who are heavily dependent on their care-givers. However, little is known about the impact on care-givers, the factors that exacerbate their situation and what supports they need. The aims of this paper are threefold: (a) to examine the impact of COVID-19 physical restrictions on both formal and informal care-givers of people with cognitive impairment; (b) to identify attributing factors influencing this impact; and (c) to recognise their support needs. Further, this paper informs future research, policy and practice. Guided by the Joanna Briggs Institute framework, a systematic review was conducted using a mixed-methods convergent integrated approach. Eight databases were searched using keywords related to COVID-19 restriction, dementia care-givers, impacts and care settings, followed by a manual search. The study was limited to primary research published in English between January 2020 and December 2021. Of the 840 records identified, 30 met the inclusion criteria. Service withdrawal and social distancing has effectively led to the reprivatisation of care to the family, particularly women. Care-givers experienced negative impacts including reduced psychological wellbeing and physical health, increased care burden and financial difficulties. A number of clinical attributes and socio-demographic factors influenced the COVID-19 impact on care-givers. Consequently, counselling services, assistance with care and financial support were identified as support needs. Implementation of new support and the strengthening of existing services are recommended to enhance resilience, build capacity to support care-givers in any given situation and mitigate the effects of future outbreaks.
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