265640 Understanding the role of support groups in promoting multi-dimensional wellbeing in family caregivers of dementia patients

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 8:30 AM - 8:42 AM

Pavitra Anand, PhD student , Department of Social Work and Social Ecology, Loma Linda University, San Bernardino, CA
Christiane Schubert, PhD , Social Work and Social Ecology, Loma Linda University, San Bernardino, CA
Purpose of the study: An estimated 25 million family caregivers, providing over 15 hours of unpaid care weekly to dementia patients, are facing significant health challenges. This qualitative pilot study investigated how participation in a support group promotes the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social wellbeing of these caregivers. Methodology: A qualitative descriptive design based on Charmaz's (2000) grounded theory method of data analysis was employed using NVIVO 9 software for data analysis. Data Collection: Narrative data were collected from observing two caregiver support groups. This data was used to develop a topic guide for in-depth semi-structured interviews aimed at capturing the experiences of family caregivers. Seven multi-ethnic family caregiver participants were interviewed; six males and one female, 23 to 80 years, providing care for an average of 3 years. Results: Our findings suggest that support groups provide five key dimensions of empathic support for family caregivers: 1) Emotional dimension of dealing with personality and intellectual changes in dementia patient; 2) Health and physical dimension relating to the deteriorating health of the caregiver; 3) Spiritual dimension providing spiritual and/or religious reconnection; 4) Social dimension of providing support and reducing isolation; and 5) Informational dimension of sharing information about new research in causes and cure of dementia. Conclusion: Family caregivers of dementia patients are in dire need of multi-dimensional empathic support making it imperative for healthcare organizations to provide support group interventions. Without this intervention, the health and wellbeing of these family caregivers is at risk.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
(1) Explain the effects of support group participation on the multi-dimensional wellbeing of the family caregivers of dementia patients. (2) Discuss the importance of health organizations providing multi-dimensional empathic support groups for family caregivers of dementia patients. (3)Describe the physical and emotional health challenges faced by family caregivers of dementia patients.

Keywords: Caregivers, Dementia

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The content is my pilot study as a PhD student. It was completed in 2011 under the guidance of my advisor Christiane Schubert,PhD at the department of Social Work & Social Ecology, Loma Linda University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.