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Authors

  1. Fowler, Christianne Nesbitt DNP, RN, GNP-BC
  2. Haney, Tina DNP, RN, CNS
  3. Lemaster, Margaret BSDH, MS

Abstract

It is estimated there are between 43.5 and 65.7 million caregivers in the United States who provide unpaid care for older adults. Although the number of informal caregivers is expected to continue to increase, few programs have been established in home healthcare agencies to support these caregivers. This article describes a project that used a unique Web site to connect caregivers of people with dementia in a geographic region with an interprofessional group of healthcare providers and caregiver peers. Virtual Healthcare Neighborhood (VHN) was developed and maintained by an interprofessional group of healthcare providers from nursing, physical therapy, clinical counseling, and dental hygiene. The VHN provided weekly information on topics relevant to caring for a loved one with dementia at home as well as Question and Answer and Social Support Blogging sections for use by participants. This project was viewed as a positive and helpful method to provide support for caregivers of homebound older adults that could be easily replicated by home healthcare agencies.