Caregiver Phone Support Ups Use of Community Resources

Caregiver Phone Support Ups Use of Community Resources

TUESDAY, Jan. 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A telephone-delivered psychosocial intervention for dementia caregivers increases use of community resources and reduces caregiver use of hospital-based health care resources, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Geoffrey Tremont, Ph.D., from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues randomly assigned informal dementia caregivers to receive either the Family Intervention: Telephone Tracking-Caregiver (FITT-C; 133 participants) or telephone support (TS; 117 participants). TS provided supportive therapeutic strategies, while the FITT-C intervention provided psychoeducation, problem solving, and other directive approaches based on assessment of critical areas (e.g., mood, behavior, family functioning, social support). Over six months, both groups received 16 telephone contacts from a master’s level therapist.

The researchers found that at baseline the groups did not differ in the use of support services, or use of health care resources. At the end of treatment, caregivers who received the FITT-C used community support services significantly more than those receiving TS (P = 0.02). Over the course of the intervention, FITT-C caregivers had a significantly lower rate of emergency department visits (rate difference, 9.5 percent; P = 0.048) and hospital stays (rate difference, 11.4 percent; P = 0.01) versus TS caregivers.

“Results highlight the potential effect of FITT-C on health care use,” the authors write.

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