Credentials Display

Lori Reynolds, PhD, OTR/L; Brandi Buchanan, OTD, OTR/L, CLA; Shannon Crabtree, OTD Student; Elton Bordenave, PhD, M Ed


Background: Among the nearly 41.8 million family caregivers of older adults 50 years of age and older in the United States, only 30% of caregivers report receiving the education, resources, and support they need to feel competent in their role. Many existing programs focus on dementia-related caregiving, and programs are needed to address the caregiving needs of individuals with chronic conditions.

Method: A pilot study using a mixed methods design was conducted with eight participants. The pre and post. measure, Adult Carer Quality of Life (AC-QoL), and post program individual interviews were conducted.

Results: Six of the eight AC-QoL subscales showed improvement in quality of life and two showed decreases. The effect size was 0.63 for the total AC-QoL score, requiring 25–30 participants to achieve a power of 0.80 in a larger study. Interview data indicated the program provided an outside perspective of caregiver needs, provided information, resources and a support system, reduced their stress, and improved self-efficacy.

Conclusion: Further study of programs for caregivers of older adults with chronic conditions are important to fully address the needs of 35 million unpaid caregivers. Occupational therapists are ideally situated for leading the development of such programs given their unique practice focus and expertise.