Interventions for Caregivers as Providers

Posted on November 19, 2021

Interventions are designed to strengthen caregivers’ competence and become more confident to ensure the patient receives safe and effective care. These interventions are aimed at: 

  • Improving the caregiver’s skills and knowledge    
  • Preventing neglect and abuse 
  • Supporting caregivers with early identification of patient problems
  • Managing patient care
  • Developing psychomotor skills training for the safe administration of medications and use of equipment
  • Enhancing emotional and coping skills to deal with caregiver’s frustration and anger.

Strengthening caregiver competence 

Caregivers need knowledge, judgment, and skills to carry out tasks to take care of patients. The following dimensions must be taken into account for providing care:

  • The nature of tasks
  • The frequency with which tasks are done
  • Hours of care provided each day
  • Skills, knowledge, and abilities of caregivers to perform complex monitoring tasks
  • The extent to which tasks can be made routine and incorporated into daily schedules
  • Support received from other family members with decision-making, emotional support, and comfort. 

Development of problem-solving and task-specific skills:

There is evidence that interventions designed to improve specific caregiving tasks are helpful. A pain education program includes pain assessment, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions to help improve caregivers' attitudes and knowledge about managing their loved one's pain. 

Nurse-initiated interventions to teach older adults and their caregivers about safe administration of medications resulted in significant improvement in the ability to name and administer prescribed medications accurately. Weekly telephonic interventions to help caregivers of stroke survivors led to reduced depression. 

Psycho-Educational Interventions:

This kind of intervention emphasizes a psychological or counseling approach and information to decrease caregiver distress, addressing symptom management, psychosocial support, and resource identification. 

Training caregivers to manage behavioral problems and basic living activities positively affected caregivers' feeling less upset and more capable of managing erratic behaviors. Depression and anger management interventions decrease hostility and improve a caregivers' sense of control.

Navigating the service delivery system:

Interventions aimed at increasing caregivers’ knowledge about community services and how to access them can reduce depression as it helps them improve their sense of competence. The involvement of caregivers in direct and indirect care is subject to change with time and in response to the stage of treatment and illness. Caregivers must be able to adapt to changes in intensity, amount, and level of caregiving demands. 

Changing routines, different schedules, and accommodating other family caregivers' roles requires finding community and home-based services. Public and private programs allow people to select and manage home care workers, home modifications and purchase assistive devices.

Assessing and providing information to caregivers:

It is essential to assess the home and family care situation as well as the caregiver to identify risk factors that may contribute to abuse and neglect. This can be achieved through separate conversations with the caregiver and the patient to get a detailed evaluation of caregivers’ competence in managing an elderly patient’s cognitive and physical needs. 

All health care professionals must effectively communicate with patients, caregivers, and their families to develop a cost-effective care plan to achieve positive outcomes. All information required regarding patient care and treatment should be provided clearly and understandably through written, verbal and electronic methods. 

Caregivers' can suffer from anxiety, depression, and fatigue as managing the different aspects of caregiving can be stressful in the face of uncertainties and emergencies. If caregivers are prepared in managing pain and are well aware of handling equipment and activities of daily living, the risk to the patient's health is minimized. Linking caregivers to community support groups and resources can help them in providing safe care. 

Family caregivers are critical partners in the plan of care for patients with chronic illnesses. Nurses should be concerned with several issues that affect patient safety and quality of care as the reliance on family caregiving grows. Improvement can be obtained through communication and caregiver support to strengthen caregiver competency and teach caregivers new skills that will enhance patient safety.