Care for the Caregivers Program Includes Support Groups and Training

A model project to support caregivers of people with chronic conditions

The Rosalynn Carter Institute at Georgia Southwestern State University replicated a model support program for people who serve as caregivers for family members and friends with chronic conditions. The replication was built on the West Central Georgia Caregivers' Network (CARE-NET I), which supports informal (lay people/family) and formal (professional) caregivers.

Key Results

  • Under the grant, the Rosalynn Carter Institute established a partnership with the Valdosta State University Division of Social Work to replicate CARE-NET I, creating CARE-NET II in an 18-county area of Georgia.
  • The project team created a resource center and resource guide for caregivers, conducted caregiver-training programs, and facilitated support groups for caregivers.
  • To enhance CARE-NET I, project staff:
    • Prepared professional caregivers to serve as "care managers" for informal caregivers.
    • Conducted "train-the trainer" workshops for potential leaders of an education and support program for caregivers.
    • Developed computer-based resources for caregivers, including a Web site and an online chat room.
  • An evaluation of the program replication by EMSTAR Research highlighted the different needs of formal and informal caregivers including:
    • Informal caregivers most valued the social support gained through the program, while formal caregivers valued the concrete knowledge they learned.
    • Informal caregivers cited respite care as their key need, while formal caregivers expressed a need for more education and in-service supports.
  • Valdosta State University continues to operate CARE-NET II with limited technical assistance from the institute. It is seeking additional funding to support its program components.
  • The institute plans to expand its train-the-trainer program beyond the CARE-NET I region using federal funds earmarked for caregiver initiatives. It has received a grant from Johnson & Johnson to support the development of caregiver initiatives in New Jersey, Georgia, California, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided a $351,212 grant from September 1997 to August 2000 to support the project.