Increasingly, more attention is being given to understanding the skills required by family members who provide care to persons with Alzheimer's disease, yet less is known about how these skills evolve over time. The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine family caregiver skills over time, using data from the 6- and 12-month group booster sessions conducted during a randomized clinical trial. Content analysis was used to examine the process of skill development and identify additional skills needed by caregivers to successfully provide care over time. Findings suggest that skill development includes not only essential factors such as knowledge and time but also a synergy and transformative process that occurs between these factors and emotional acceptance. Clinical implications of these findings are also discussed.
Olimpia Paun, PhD, RN, is assistant professor in the College of Nursing at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. Her research interests include Alzheimer's disease caregivers, meaning in caregiving, and caregivers' unmet needs postinstitutionalization.
Carol J. Farran, DNSc, RN, FAAN, is The Rush University Nurses Alumni Association Chair in Health and the Aging Process. Dr Farran's research interests include intervention with patients with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers.
Suzanne Perraud, PhD, RN, is the associate chairperson of the Department of Community and Mental Health Nursing at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. Her other research interests include the study of outcomes of inpatient depression treatment.
Dimitra A. Loukissa, PhD, RN, is assistant professor in the College of Nursing at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.
Address correspondence to: Olimpia Paun, PhD, RN, Rush University College of Nursing, 600 S Paulina St, AAC 1080 Chicago, IL 60612. E-mail: Olimpia_Paun@rush.edu.
This study was supported by grants R01 NR 04561 and R01 NR 04903 from the National Institute of Nursing Research, P30AG 10161 from the National Institute on Aging, and from Rush University College of Nursing Research resource fund. In addition to Drs Loukissa and Perraud, the following persons served as group facilitators for 6- and 12-month booster sessions: Renee Miller and June Walsh. Other persons who assisted with data management and manuscript preparation included Phyllis Gunning, Diane Marston, and Elanda Shannon. Coinvestigators who were involved in developing and monitoring the overall study design and implementation included Julia L. Bienias, David W. Gilley, David A. Lindeman, and Judith J. McCann.