Journal of Gerontological Nursing

Feature Article 

The Savvy Caregiver Program: The Demonstrated Effectiveness of a Transportable Dementia Caregiver Psychoeducation Program

Kenneth Hepburn, PhD; Marsha Lewis, PhD, RN; Jane Tornatore, PhD; Carey Wexler Sherman, PhD; Karin Lindstrom Bremer, MA

Abstract

This article is about the trial of a transportable psychoeducation program for family caregivers of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias that was based on a program developed and previously tested in an academic setting. Family caregivers were recruited by agencies in three states and invited to participate in a randomized trial of this six-session program. Questionnaires were administered prior to randomization and again 5 to 6 months later to assess program effect. A total of 52 caregivers completed both questionnaires (22 were in the wait-list control group). Experimental participants’ scores on measures of mastery and distress were significantly better than control participants’ scores at follow-up (Time 2). Results for this transported program showed benefits to caregivers comparable to those in the previous trials. The program demonstrated that it could be offered in a variety of settings and that it had benefit for caregivers.

Abstract

This article is about the trial of a transportable psychoeducation program for family caregivers of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias that was based on a program developed and previously tested in an academic setting. Family caregivers were recruited by agencies in three states and invited to participate in a randomized trial of this six-session program. Questionnaires were administered prior to randomization and again 5 to 6 months later to assess program effect. A total of 52 caregivers completed both questionnaires (22 were in the wait-list control group). Experimental participants’ scores on measures of mastery and distress were significantly better than control participants’ scores at follow-up (Time 2). Results for this transported program showed benefits to caregivers comparable to those in the previous trials. The program demonstrated that it could be offered in a variety of settings and that it had benefit for caregivers.

Authors

Dr. Hepburn is Associate Dean for Research and Dr. Lewis is Associate Dean for Education, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Tornatore is a therapist in private practice and a care consultant specialist, Western and Central Washington State Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association, Seattle, Washington. Dr. Sherman is a Research Investigator, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Ms. Bremer is a Doctoral Student, Department of Family Medicine Social Science, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Address correspondence to Kenneth Hepburn, PhD, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, 1520 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322; e-mail: khepbur@emory.edu.

10.3928/00989134-20070301-06

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