Thursday, 21 August 2003
This presentation is part of : The Impact of Caregiving Across Different Dementia Diagnosis: Differences and Similarities

S085-003 Dementia Family Caregiver Skill Development in a Clinical Intervention Trial

Carol J. Farran, Suzanne Perraud, Dimitra Loukissa, and Olimpia Paun. College of Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA

Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe key issues that emerged during the group component of a clinical trial with family caregivers of persons with dementia, compare differences between the caregiver skill building (CSB) treatment and an information support only (ISO) control intervention, and identify skills needed by family members.

Design: Descriptive qualitative methods were used.

Materials and Methods: Written group summaries from a 5-week group intervention conducted with 33 cohorts of family caregivers (N=272) were analyzed using QSR NUD*IST-4. Content analysis was used to identify major themes, categories, and subcategories.

Results: Data were grouped into three major themes: Care Receiver (CR), Caregiver (CG), and Group Process (GRP) Issues. Differences between the CSB and ISO groups were found in the following areas. Concerning CR Issues, CSB participants more frequently addressed difficult behaviors and emotional responses than ISO participants (63% to 47%, respectively); and ISO Participants more frequently addressed instrumental and personal activities of daily living than CSB participants (32% and 14%, respectively). Concerning GRP issues, ISO participants exhibited more group member behaviors that support skill development than CSB participants (70% and 36%, respectively); CSB groups exhibited more group leader behaviors that support skill development than ISO participants (37% and 22%, respectively); and CSB groups more frequently addressed the process of skill development than ISO participants (27% and 8%, respectively).

Ironically, there were no differences between the two groups for CG Issues in five major categories: dealing with change, managing competing responsibilities and stressors, providing a broad spectrum of care, finding and using resources, and experiencing emotional and physical responses to care.

Conclusions: Findings concerning CR and GRP Issues suggest that group leaders maintained treatment integrity. Findings concerning CG Issues suggest that there may be “universal” CG Issues that will spontaneously emerge and need to be addressed, regardless of the type of intervention, in future clinical trials. Information concerning caregiving skills suggests that skilled CGs more readily acknowledge and accept their multi-faceted roles; are more creative in integrating and balancing ongoing life and caregiving situations; and are more flexible, assertive, and proactive in their attitudes toward life and caregiving.

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