Published Papers - Abstract 464

McKenzie S, McLaughlin D, Dobson A & Byles J. Urban–rural comparisons of outcomes for informal carers of elderly people in the community :A systematic review. Maturitas, 2010; 67(2): 139-143

As the age of the general population increases, the number of elderly people who need care is increasing. It has been suggested that rural carers may be disadvantaged compared to urban carers, but it is not clear what affect geographic location has on carers. This paper presents a systematic review of the literature on urban–rural comparisons on various outcomes for informal carers who provide care for elderly people in the community. Of 150 articles that were reviewed, eight articles were included with three themes in the outcomes for carers: service use, health promotion behaviors and psychological health (such as carer stress, burden or depressive symptoms). Overall, there were few consistent or statistically significant differences between urban and rural carers. Many of the differences observed were explained by other factors, such as carer or care recipient characteristics. The literature search was limited to papers in the English language, involving quantitative methods and published in peer-reviewed journals. There were not enough studies found to examine other outcomes or to pool data across studies. There is too little evidence comparing urban and rural carers to inform clinicians and policy makers. More good-quality research is urgently needed.