Translation of a Dementia Caregiver Support Program in a Health Care System-REACH VA

Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tennessee, USA.
Archives of internal medicine (Impact Factor: 17.33). 02/2011; 171(4):353-9. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.548
Source: PubMed


Based on the National Institute on Aging/National Institute of Nursing Research Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH) randomized controlled trial (REACH II), REACH VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) was the first national clinical translation of a proven behavioral intervention for dementia caregivers, running from September 2007 through August 2009. This article describes the population and outcomes of the REACH VA translation of REACH II into the VA.
Clinical staff members from 24 VA Medical Center Home-Based Primary Care programs in 15 states delivered the intervention to stressed caregivers of patients with dementia. Like REACH II, the 6-month REACH VA intervention, structured through a protocol and individualized through a risk assessment, targeted education, support, and skills training to address caregiving risk areas of safety, social support, problem behaviors, depression, and health through 12 individual in-home and telephone sessions and 5 telephone support group sessions. Staff members of the Memphis VA Medical Center, Memphis, Tennessee, collected data on burden, depression, health and healthy behaviors, caregiving frustrations, social support, dementia-related behaviors, and time spent providing care and on duty.
From baseline to 6 months, caregivers reported significantly decreased burden, depression, impact of depression on daily life, caregiving frustrations, and number of troubling dementia-related behaviors. A 2-hour decrease in hours per day on duty approached significance. Caregivers (96%) believed that the program should be provided by the VA to caregivers.
This clinical translation achieved outcomes similar to the REACH II randomized controlled trial, providing clinically significant benefits for caregivers of a veteran with a progressive dementing disease. This model of caregiver support can inform public policy in providing assistance to caregivers.

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Available from: Jennifer Martindale-Adams, Jul 29, 2015
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    • "Informal care also facilitates the aims of the 1999 Millennium Act, which expanded LTC coverage for Veterans and stipulated that Veterans receive care in the least restrictive setting possible—their homes. And yet, there can be unintended negative consequences for the caregivers, including caregiver strain, burden, burnout and depression, which can increase patients' risk of institutionalization [5] [6] [7] [8]. Caregivers need clinical, psychological and support seeking skills to effectively navigate their role as a caregiver (Fig. 1), which could be attained through skills training. "
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    ABSTRACT: Within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the largest integrated health care system in the US, approximately 8.5 million Veteran patients receive informal care. Despite a need for training, half of VHA caregivers report that they have not received training that they deemed necessary. Rigorous study is needed to identify effective ways of providing caregivers with the skills they need. This paper describes the Helping Invested Families Improve Veterans’ Experience Study (HI-FIVES), an ongoing randomized controlled trial that is evaluating a skills training program designed to support caregivers of cognitively and/or functionally impaired, community-dwelling Veterans who have been referred to receive additional formal home care services. This two-arm randomized controlled trial will enroll a total of 240 caregiver-patient dyads. For caregivers in the HI-FIVES group, weekly individual phone training occurs for 3 weeks, followed by 4 weekly group training sessions, and two additional individual phone training calls. Caregivers in usual care receive information about the VA Caregiver Support Services Program services, including a hotline number. The primary outcomes is the number of days a veteran patient spends at home in the 12 months following randomization (e.g. not in the emergency department, inpatient or nursing home setting). Secondary outcomes include patient VHA health care costs, patient and caregiver satisfaction with VHA health care, and caregiver depressive symptoms. Outcomes from HI-FIVES have the potential to improve our knowledge of how to maximize the ability to maintain patients safely at home for caregivers while preventing poor mental health outcomes among caregivers.
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    ABSTRACT: families of dementia patients receiving skilled homecare do not receive supportive services. We evaluated whether a proven intervention, Environmental Skill-building Program (ESP), which reduces caregiver burden and enhances skills managing patient functioning, can be integrated into homecare practices of occupational therapists (OTs) and reimbursed through Medicare Part B. a 2-year translational project with a homecare practice was conducted. Five translational activities included refining ESP, site preparation, therapist training, establishing referral mechanisms, and evaluating outcomes using Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance (RE-AIM). of 30 OTs approached for participation, 23 (77%) agreed, 22 (96%) completed training, and 21 (95.5%) used ESP and intended to continue use. Of 69 eligible caregivers, 41 (59%) agreed to participate averaging 4.7 sessions. Of 20 returned caregiver surveys, enhancements were reported in all targeted areas of knowledge and skills. Fidelity monitoring revealed inconsistency in therapists use of problem solving, yet caregiver enactment of ESP strategies was high. ESP sessions integrated within patient-directed therapy were reimbursed by Medicare Part B. RE-AIM indicators suggest moderate translational success. As ESP was reimbursed through Medicare B, its delivery may be sustainable and meet the needs of family caregivers of dementia patients receiving therapies at home.
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