Program Brings Better Care to Rural Mississippi's Home-Bound Ill

Training for caregivers/companions for rural people in Mississippi

To determine family caregivers' needs for training, a project team at Alcorn State University School of Nursing conducted a survey for families with homebound elderly, chronically ill, and physically disabled individuals in southwest Mississippi.

They then trained family members and other individuals with primary responsibility for providing in-home care. The project also trained a number of individuals who could provide fee-based respite relief to in-home caregivers.

Key Findings

The project team surveyed 105 families in five southwest Mississippi counties who had a family member with requiring care because of physical disability or chronic illness.

  • The survey revealed that more than half of the families surveyed had family members with advanced complications of type 2 diabetes.
  • Subjects in which caregivers expressed the need for provider training included: patient safety; food shopping, menu planning and meal preparation; patient infection control, positioning, walking, and using supportive devices; patient hygiene; and provider coping skills.

Key Results

  • Developed an on-site training program for in-home care, and delivered this training during three to five visits each to the 105 families surveyed.
  • Developed a program leading to state licensure for fee-based respite care, and trained 10 respite caregivers.
  • Organized two health education events at Alcorn State University School of Nursing—the Care-Giver Fair on November 3, 2000 and, in collaboration with several regional organizations, the first annual Diabetes Education Day on November 10, 2000.
  • Working with Mississippi's Lower Extremity Amputation Prevention (LEAP) Initiative, expanded the school of nursing services to include training in the LEAP Foot Care Program, designed to help prevent serious complications of type 2 diabetes.

Information on the project and its ongoing work through the Family Care Partnership at the Alcorn State University Family Clinic, is available online.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the project with a $277,004 grant from January 1998 to December 2000.