State of the Science: Professional Partners Supporting Family Caregiving

Guest editors: Susan C. Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN, Ashley Brooks-Danso, MSW, and Kathleen Kelly, MPA

Most older adults who need assistance depend on family and friends as their only source of help. And because social workers and nurses are at the forefront of supporting family caregivers, and in order to better prepare professionals in these fields, the American Journal of Nursing, the AARP Foundation, the Council on Social Work Education, the Family Caregiver Alliance; and the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy hosted an invitational symposium and produced this report. Both were made possible by funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation and the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation.

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4 - Editorial:  How Are You Doing?
By Susan C. Reinhard, Ashley Brooks-Danso, Kathleen Kelly, and Diana J. Mason
Nurses and social workers come together to do better by family caregivers.

6 - Executive Summary: Professional Partners Supporting Family Caregivers
By Kathleen Kelly, Susan C. Reinhard, and Ashley Brooks-Danso
A "state of the science" symposium brought together leaders in two professions.

13 - Needed: Nursing and Social Work Leadership
By Carol Levine
Nurses and social workers can make a difference to family caregivers, but only if they see it as their responsibility.

16 - Historical Overview
By Andrew Scharlach
Lessons from the past, challenges for the future.

23 - Physical and Mental Health Effects of Family Caregiving
By Richard Schulz and Paula R. Sherwood
Adverse - and even positive - outcomes in a chronic stress experience.

28 - What Knowledge and Skills Do Caregivers Need?
By Barbara Given, Paula R. Sherwood, and Charles W. Given
Caregivers need certain knowledge and skills both to provide the best possible care and to protect their own health and well-being.

35 - How Do Family Caregivers Describe Their Needs for Professional Help?
By Michael J. Yedidia and Amy Tiedemann
Findings from focus group interviews.

38 - Caregiver Assessment
By Lynn Friss Feinberg
Understanding the issues.

40 - Developing Competence for Nurses and Social Workers
By JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez
Evidence-based approaches to education.

47 - Behavioral and Psychosocial Interventions for Family Caregivers
By Steven Zarit and Elia Femia
Characteristics of effective approaches and flaws in study design.

54 - TCARE: Tailored Caregiver Assessment and Referral
By Rhonda Montgomery and Jung Kwak
An evidence-based model to target services for caregivers.

58 - Transitional Care
By Mary Naylor and Stacen A. Keating
Moving patients from one care setting to another.

64 - Technology and Web-Based Support
By Carol Smith
Electronic health assistance for older adults and their caregivers.

69 - Community and In-Home Models
By Jennie Chin Hansen
PACE and state-based payment for in-hom supportive services.

73 - Informal Caregivers: Communication and Decision Making
By Carol Whitlatch
Communicating about care preferences can improve the well-being of caregivers and care recipients.

78 - Influencing Support for Caregivers
By Carol Raphael and Jennifer Lin Cornwell
Lessons from home health care.

83 - Discussion and Recommendations
By Laurie Lewis
Participants in an invitational symposium identified needed competencies, strategies to enhance support of family caregivers, and research priorities.

91 - Participants and Planning Committee

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More resources on family caregiving can be found online at these organizations' Web sites:
Council of Social Work Education:
Family Caregiver Alliance:
Rutgers Center for State Health Policy:
The John A. Hartford Foundation:
Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation:

The September 2008 issue of AJN features several articles that focus on family caregiving:
Editorial: Supporting Family Caregivers 

Viewpoint: "Skilled Nursing" Is In the Hands
How To Try This: The Family Preference Index

With a companion video: Assessing Family Preferences for Participating in Care in Hospitalized Older Adults 
How to Try This: Helping Those Who Help Others
With a companion video: The Modified Caregiver Strain Index
Reflections: No Room at the Inn 

Social workers can view the report plus additional content specific to social work at

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