Caregiver Skill Building Intervention

Caregiver Skill Building Intervention

Addressing Mental & Physical Health of Alzheimer’s Family Caregivers

Background & Goal

Family caregivers of those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementias are a vulnerable population because many are, themselves, advanced in age, are under stress and have a sedentary lifestyle – making them potentially more vulnerable to increased mortality rates.

Caregiver Skill Building Intervention aims to improve the mental and physical health of family caregivers using behavioral health promotion interventions from the Rush College of Nursing.

Program Description

Caregiver Skill Building Intervention (CSBI) is a nurse-led, research-based program that provides psycho-educational interventions to address family caregiver skill-building and increase caregivers’ physical activity. The research reflects a nursing perspective in its basic clinical approach to asking the question: “What do family caregivers need?” It provides interventions that integrate a variety of theoretical perspectives. The interventions initially were delivered in a group setting where caregivers benefited by learning skills in a supportive group environment. To accommodate stressed and sedentary caregivers’ individual needs, the program now provides a multi-component, individualized home-based intervention that addresses a combination of needs.

For More Information Contact:

Carol J. Farran, DNSc, RN, FAAN

Rush College of Nursing
600 S. Paulina, AAC 1080
Chicago, IL 60612

Evidence of Success

  • Participants say the intervention helps them better deal with their care recipient and address their own stress. Caregivers who have been through the program are more likely to say: “it’s the disease,” and less likely to take the care recipient’s behavior personally. They also are more adept at reading their care recipient’s cues; a wife caregiver knew when to “back-off” when her husband said, “someone’s going to get hurt here.” (Farran, et al., 2004, 2007, 2008).
  • Estimated to cost $375/per participant for five group sessions, assuming an average of seven participants per group.
  • Care provided by family caregivers has been valued at $306 billion dollars per year (Arno, 2005). Interventions with family caregivers can result in cost savings for the family and society. Persons with depression have been found to have greater health care utilization, greater worker absenteeism and lower work productivity (Donohue & Pincus, 2007). Although most caregivers do not work outside their home, research has shown that “work-related savings” for low to moderate intensity interventions, similar to the CSBI, far exceed the $100-$400 spent when persons with depression receive such an intervention. (Wang, Simon & Kessler, 2008).