Using mixed methods to evaluate the use of a caregiver strain measure to assess outcomes of a caregiver support program for caregivers of older adults
Citation Ayalon, L., et al. (2007). Using mixed methods to evaluate the use of a caregiver strain measure to assess outcomes of a caregiver support program for caregivers of older adults. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22, 160-165.
Design Quantitative and Qualitative
Purpose The purpose of the study was to analyze the effectiveness of a brief assessment tool that is used to monitor strain, over time, among family caregivers of ailing relatives.
Participants Participants of the study (n=67) were enrolled in the Senior Care program in Chicago. Participants were receiving counseling or attending support groups at the agency. The majority of care providers identified as being a daughter or daughter-in-law of an impaired care recipient. The average age of the caregiver was 56 while the average mean for the care recipient was 82.
Outcome / Dependent Variables The Caregiver Risk Screen (CRS), a brief 12-item measurement, was utilized to determine caregiver strain. Besides the utilization of CRS, the following data was also measured: participant's socio-demographics, care recipient's data (age, gender, ethnicity, cognitive impairment, and ADL / IADLs), caregivers' responses to semi-structured individual interviews and process notes obtained by an observer who attended caregiving support groups.
Procedure CRS responses by the participants were collected during an initial in-person intake interview while follow up responses were retrieved through telephone interviews during 6-months intervals.
Outcomes Fifty nine of the participants who completed at least two CRS measurements showed statistically significant decline in overall caregiver strain. Overall, 42% of the care providers reported a decrease in strain while 44% indicated no change in caregiver strain. However, fourteen percent of the study participants indicated an increase in strain. The study also found no differences in caregivers' response in regards to age, gender or ethnicity. The participants who reported a reduction in caregiver strain were caring for care recipients with less impairment but had indicated a high level of caregiver strain when entering the Senior Care program. Participants that reported an increase in caregiver strain were caring for elderly individuals who had the highest level of ADL's need.
Author Ayalon, L., Huyck, M. H., and Yoder, J.