This three-year project was funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging as part of their National Family Caregiver Support Program.
This project was designed around a “care team model” of services to support caregivers and care recipients. There were four components including:
• Care Team Ministry – matches up each family caregiver in the community with a Care Team.
• Community Resource Counseling – involves a needs assessment, family care conferences, and working with care recipients and their family caregivers to help them gain access to services in the community.
• Caregiver Education – involves training provided to caregivers through established curriculum and training format, which involves four two-hour sessions over the course of four weeks.
• Parish Nurse – is a community nurse who provides education to promote wellness among community dwelling seniors.
The typical caregiver served by this program was 60 years old at baseline (with an age range of 30 to 85). Most were female (78%); and all were white (100%), reflecting the demographics of the surrounding area. A total of 102 care recipients were served by the care team project over the course of this evaluation.
The evaluator (Dr. Leslie Grant, University of Minnesota) compared baseline and post-intervention assessment scores using a case controlled method for 51 caregivers. The evaluator studied a variety of outcomes including caregiver burden, caregiver competence, positive aspects of caregiving, community resource use, caregiver’s health, and caregiver’s affect.
The evaluator found statistically significant positive effects on three outcome measures:
1) objective burden;
2) subjective stress burden; and
3) positive effects of caregiving.
Although these results are encouraging, these findings need to be interpreted with caution due to small sample sizes and the potential for attrition bias. The quantitative analysis suggests that the multi-dimensional approach using the Care Team Model and other supportive services may have salutary effects on these outcomes.