Informal and formal care infrastructure and perceived need for caregiver training for frail US veterans referred to home and community-based services.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the informal care network of US veterans referred to home and community-based services (Homemaker Home Health services, H/HHA, or Home-Based Primary Care, HBPC) at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), including: quantity and types of tasks provided and desired content for caregiver training programs. METHODS: All primary care patients referred to H/HHA or HBPC during the preceding 3 months were sent questionnaires in May 2007. Additionally, caregivers were sent questionnaires if a patient gave permission. Descriptive statistics and chi-squared tests were performed. RESULTS: On average, patients received 5.6 hours of VA care and 47 hours of informal care per week. 26% of patients (38% of patients with caregiver proxy respondents) and 59% of caregivers indicated the caregiver would be interested in participating in a training program by phone or on-site. Significant barriers to participation existed. The most common barriers were: transportation; no time due to caregiving or work demands; caregiver's own health limitations; and no need. CONCLUSIONS: Caregiver training needs to be tailored to overcome barriers to participate. Overcoming these barriers may be possible through in-home phone or internet training outside traditional business hours, and by tailoring training to accommodate limiting health problems among caregivers.
Van Houtven, CH; Oddone, EZ; Weinberger, M
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