FCA ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING INTERNET PROGRAM FOR CAREGIVERS
$332,800 Grant from The California Endowment Will Fund Link2Care.net
SAN FRANCISCO--Family Caregiver Alliance is pleased to announce that The California Endowment has granted funding for Link2Care, a groundbreaking Internet program that will provide specialized support services on demand to family caregivers.
According to Kathleen Kelly, FCA's Executive Director, "Link2Care proposes to be the first long-term care program in the country to use the Internet to provide online information, services and connections to caregiving families at home, at their convenience.
"We are using emerging technologies to reinvent social services, and the need for those services is growing dramatically with our aging population," she said. "We believe the Internet offers a cost-effective approach to giving caregivers the services they need to help keep loved ones at home, out of institutions, as long as possible."
The program, available 24 hours a day, is designed for families caring for loved ones suffering from dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and other disorders. Often isolated, over-burdened, and faced with round-the-clock care, families find it difficult to participate in typical service delivery patterns during normal business hours. Geographic barriers, full or part-time employment or overwhelming caregiving demands present additional obstacles to receiving the information and stress-reducing services families need.
Using the Internet-created gateway, California families enrolled in the program will have free access to:
- a secured website with decision-support programs, developed in partnership by FCA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison;
- a personal profile and action plan;
- consultation with experts in medicine, law and related fields;
- an information library, including newly developed publications for families;
- moderated support groups; and
- a database of local community resources and other specialized information services
For caregivers without access to a computer or the Internet, efforts are being made to secure donated equipment and provide reduced-cost Internet access and training.
Funding Unites Three Programs
The pilot project, funded by a $332,800 grant from The California Endowment, brings together three innovative programs: Family Caregiver Alliance's successful service model, information clearinghouse and website; the University of Wisconsin's Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS); and California's system of Caregiver Resource Centers (CRCs). Family Caregiver Alliance will administer Link2Care.
"The Link2Care project expands Family Caregiver Alliance's capabilities in technology-based services," Kelly concluded, "and the partnership between FCA, the University of Wisconsin, the CRCs and The California Endowment will benefit caregivers throughout the state. In the future, if the program is as successful as we hope, we will be able to replicate it for caregivers all across the country."
Enrollment in Link2Care in California will begin in November 1999.
The California Endowment was established in May 1996 as a private foundation. The Endowment has offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo and Carlsbad. The Endowment's mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for California's underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. The Endowment makes grants to organizations and institutions that directly benefit the health and well-being of all Californians.
Family Caregiver Alliance is a nationally recognized information clearinghouse on long-term care and the lead agency in California's statewide system of Caregiver Resource Centers for families of adults with brain impairments. For more information, see the website at www.caregiver.org.
NOTE to editors: National Caregivers Month and National Alzheimer's Disease Month will be recognized in November 1999.
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