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Increasing Caregiver Access to Programming

A Qualitative Exploration of Caregivers' Experience of a Telehealth Powerful Tools for Caregivers Program

Serwe, Katrina M. PhD, OTR/L; Schloer, Latasha OTS; Vigna, Sara OTS

doi: 10.1097/NHH.0000000000000783
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Family caregivers can benefit from education-based wellness programs, but many face barriers to attending such programs. The purpose of this research was to explore telehealth as a delivery format for an education-based caregiver wellness program. This qualitative research examined the caregiver experience of a specific program called Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC). The traditionally in-person program was delivered via telehealth in four states. Twelve caregivers participated in focus groups the week after completing the telehealth PTC program. Three major themes emerged from the focus groups: Knowledge Gained, Interrelatedness, and Technology Pros and Cons. All affirmed a positive experience of the telehealth delivered PTC program. Participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the program and knowledge gained including relaxation techniques, communication skills, resources to support caregiving, and goal setting for self-care. Furthermore, participants were appreciative of the opportunity to connect with other caregivers from the comfort of their home.

Katrina M. Serwe, PhD, OTR/L, is an Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin.

Latasha Schloer, OTS, is a Master of Occupational Therapy Student, Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin.

Sara Vigna, OTS, is a Master of Occupational Therapy Student, Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin.

The researchers would like to acknowledge Michael McKinnis, OTR/L for facilitating the Wisconsin focus group, the PTC caregiver participants, and PTC class leaders for sharing their time and talent to participate in this study.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Address for correspondence: Katrina M. Serwe, PhD, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Department, Concordia University, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive, Mequon, WI 53097 (Katrina.serwe@cuw.edu).

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