Background and Objectives
Family caregiving interventions have been proven efficacious at reducing dementia caregiver’s stress and burden, yet translation of evidence-based interventions into community-based support service programs requires modification to the original intervention protocol. In collaboration with community partners, the REACH-TX program was developed based on the REACH II (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health) intervention. REACH-TX maintains the integrity of the multicomponent skill-based REACH II intervention but requires significantly fewer therapeutic contacts between the family caregiver and the dementia care specialist. This study presents an evaluation of REACH-TX implemented by the Alzheimer’s Association North Central Texas Chapter.
Research Design and Methods
REACH-TX was provided to 1,522 caregivers between November 2011 and December 2017. The number of therapeutic contacts scheduled for caregivers was determined by the Risk Appraisal Measure (RAM) and ranged from 1 to 23. The rate of follow-up data on outcome measures collected was 59.0% (n = 898). All five domains of the REACH II quality-of-life measure (burden, depression, social support, self-care, and problem behaviors) were assessed at baseline and at 6 months. Caregivers (n = 53) participating in the program more than once allowed us to investigate the long-term impact of the first exposure to REACH-TX and the value of repeating the program. Generalized linear models were used to assess changes in quality of life after adjusting for covariates.
Caregivers who completed the program showed significant improvements from baseline to 6 months on all five
domains of quality of life, as evidenced by the follow-up data. Furthermore, caregivers who enrolled a second time in REACH-TX showed significant improvement in burden and social support scores.
Discussion and Implications
This evaluation of REACH-TX suggests that REACH II evidence-based intervention can be translated into a valuable and sustainable community-based service for family caregivers. Additional translational research is needed to overcome the challenges of conducting standardized outcome assessments of caregiving services.