158390 GRACIA Project: Promoting the Health of Custodial Grandparents through Community Collaboration

Monday, November 5, 2007

Daphne Joslin, PhD, MPH , Department of Public Health, William Paterson University of New Jersey, Wayne, NJ
Claire Donaghy, PhD, CCRN, APN , Nursing, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ
Marie Kinsella, MS , Paterson Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, Inc., Paterson, NJ
Mathilda Catarina, EdD , Department of Special Education and Counseling, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ
Vanessa Arias, BA , Department of Psychology, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ
Lorajehn Mercedes, BA , Paterson Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, Inc., Paterson, NJ
Grandparents who are raising grandchildren are a high health risk population whose own physical and mental health may be compromised. Mid live and older surrogate parents tend to have higher rates of chronic illness and depression. The greater risk of poverty, depression and poor physical health may impact not only the grandparent's well-being as they age but their capacity to continue as surrogate parents until the children reach maturity. This paper presents findings from the first year of The Grandparent Resources and Caregiver Initiative Alliance (GRACIA) Project, a community collaboration between William Paterson University of New Jersey and Paterson Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, Inc. to provide health and supportive services to custodial grandparents.

Through a multidisciplinary team model, grandparent and relative caregivers are assessed for physical and mental health, and supportive (e.g. child care, legal, housing ) needs. Health services include physical health assessments conducted by faculty nurse practitioners and graduate nursing students, linkage to ongoing primary health care and screenings. Health promotion is conducted through a stress management program. Counseling services are provided by graduate counseling students.

GRACIA is a replicable model for metropolitan areas with ever increasing numbers of custodial grandparents. The presentation will discuss client self reported physical and mental health, stress, access to and utilization of medical care, and self-care patterns. Public health issues that are barriers for maintaining and promoting caregiver health will be discussed with programmatic and policy recommendations.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify physical and mental health needs of custodial grandparents. 2. Assess barriers to self-care and on going medical care 3. Develop programmatic and policy strategies to provide health and mental health services to this population.

Keywords: Urban Women's Health Issues, Urban Women's Health Issues

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.