Lightning Talk

Supporting Caregivers of Older Adults Managing Chronic Conditions Using an Occupational Therapy Approach

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm CDT

The Lightning Talk will focus on my occupational therapy doctoral capstone research conducted at the Jefferson Center for Healthy Aging, a geriatric primary care clinic in Philadelphia. The project aimed to reduce caregiver burden and increase caregiver self-efficacy by utilizing Skills2Care- Primary Care, a modified version of the evidence-based practice Skills2Care. Skills2Care is a non-pharmacologic occupational therapy intervention for caregivers of individuals with dementia. The study explores the novel approach of utilizing Skills2Care for an expanded sample of caregivers of patients managing at least one chronic condition. Caregiver needs must be addressed when reviewing the needs of an aging population, particularly when considering the increased demand for informal caregivers, meaning unpaid individuals caring for a family member or friend. Reducing stress through education and skill development can improve caregiver confidence. The Skills2Care-Primary Care approach embedded a 3- telephone session service into a geriatric primary care setting, allowing for caregiver support that was convenient for caregivers and did not impede clinic workflow. Through the Skills2Care-Primary Care protocol, participating caregivers identified challenging aspects of caregiving and received support with creating individualized action plans to address these concerns. Action plan strategies such as new communication techniques or environmental modifications were individualized to each caregiver’s unique concerns. Along with intervention strategies, the Lightning Talk will highlight the project's significant opportunities for interprofessional collaboration, as this collaboration was crucial to the project’s success. Note, this project builds on the previous research of Dr. Samuels, Dr. Vause-Earland, Dr. Love and Dr. Salzman, and Dr. Samuels titled “Evaluating Caregiver Needs and the Feasibility of an Occupational Therapy Consultation Service to Caregivers of People with Dementia in a Geriatric Ambulatory Clinic.”