Dr Shaji et al raise an important point in relation to the interpretation of trials of interventions with carers of people with dementia. In relation to our own study, information was provided in three 45-minute sessions by an experienced clinician, and supplemented by four written information booklets entitled “What are dementia and Alzheimer's disease”, “Stress and the person with Alzheimer's disease”, “Coping with caring” and “Advice about services”. The control group did not receive the information and education sessions. We carried out an analysis after the three sessions of information, which occurred at the beginning of the intervention, and there was no difference between the intervention and control groups at that time on any outcome variable. This finding has also been reported in trials of family intervention with the carers of patients with serious mental illness (Tarrier et al, 1988). This is perhaps not surprising, as providing information and advice is notoriously poor at changing people's behaviour.
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