Caring for the caregiver : an extension program evaluation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vq27zs83t

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  • Stress is an important concern among family caregivers in the United States. Many caregivers face the demands of caring for an ill family member for as many as eleven to twenty-four hours on a daily basis. Coping with stress is an important topic for support groups and educational programs. Evaluation of such programs has not been widely conducted. The evaluation of short-term, cognitive-behavioral workshops have especially been lacking. This study designed and implemented a comprehensive evaluation of a two-hour Extension Service workshop entitled, The Dollmaker, developed at Oregon State University. This cognitive-behavioral program provides information about caregiver stress and suggests behavioral and attitude changes that may lead to more effective methods of coping with the stress of caregiving. This study drew participants from communities throughout Lane County, Oregon, in November and December, 1989. Since caregivers to mentally impaired (dementia) patients are particularly "at-risk" for stress and burnout, this study compares the effects of the program for those caregivers compared to caregivers to physically-impaired patients. A pre-test, one-month post-test and two-month follow-up design was implemented in this study. Process evaluation was also conducted. Standardized measures were used, including three factors from The Costs and Benefits of Caregiving Scale (Walker et al., 1989) and the Campbell, Converse and Rodgers (1976) Role Opinion Scale adapted to caregiving. In addition, nonstandardized measures assessed the outcomes of eighteen program objectives, demographic items and process evaluation questions. This comprehensive evaluation revealed positive results for both caregiver groups in terms of process evaluation and improvement in caregiver satisfaction over time. One-month follow-up assessments indicated a trend for Exhaustion factor scores to decrease, Help--Seeking Behaviors to increase, and feelings of impatience and anger to decrease. Participants reported some degree of change in their behavior to reduce caregiver stress and over three-fourths attributed that change to the program. Nevertheless, the current study has implications for future comprehensive evaluation of Extension Service programs and suggestions for future program development and implementation are made. The small number of participants and lack of a control group should lead to caution in generalizing these results.
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