Sponsor. Administration on Aging.
Purpose. This program, initiated in April 2001, is designed to demonstrate that primary health care can be an effective and efficient point of entry for a caregiver intervention in rural Maine.
Description. The MPPC Program identifies caregivers who are stressed by their caregiving responsibilities and encourages them to obtain support and assistance. The program first identified primary care physicians in four counties who were willing to participate in the program. Those who participated were provided with screening forms, and their office staff were trained to follow routine screening procedures. Since April 2002, all individuals 18 and older who visited these physician's offices for routine, non-emergency visits have been asked to complete a brief screening tool designed to identify patients who were burdened with caregiving responsibilities. The screening form uses five questions:
- Do you help someone aged 60 years or older who is not in good health or is not managing as well as he/she used to? If yes,
- Do you ever find helping this person difficult in any way?
- Do you ever find yourself worrying about the condition of this person?
- Do you ever feel at all stressed when giving this person help?
- Have you had a significant weight change within the past year?
Completed screening forms are faxed to the caregiver specialists associated with the project, who identify those at risk of being burdened by their caregiving responsibilities. The specialists contact those at risk and offer them customized services, including education, training resources, and access to a statewide telephone hotline. Those who agree to participate in the program receive follow-up calls in the 3rd and 6th month of the program.22
Results to Date. During the first year of operations (April 2002-March 2003), 21 medical offices participated in the program, more than 7,000 patients were screened, and approximately 500 (7 percent) were identified as being caregivers who have experienced some stress.23 The majority of these caregivers have been willing to receive assistance from caregiver specialists. Most individuals have requested information about potential caregiver service options for the future, but they did not yet want to obtain respite services. Most apparently have not been a caregiver for a long period of time, have not yet self-identified as caregivers, have not yet sought out caregiver services, and primarily have wanted to learn more about health and respite services that may be useful to them in the future.
Next Steps. The program will continue for one more year.
Eastern Area Agency on Aging
450 Essex Street
Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: (207) 941-2865