A large number of people over the age of 65 require assistance managing their medical care. Much of this responsibility falls on the relatives of older adults. The role of family caregivers has become increasingly important as our population ages and medical care becomes more complicated and fragmented. Research indicates that family members are often unprepared to manage and coordinate duties that may involve administering multiple medications and types of service. [These responsibilities place strains on caregivers and those they are caring for. Services are needed to address these issues and better equip caregivers.] Web-based services have the advantage of flexibility in access, tailoring of individual training needs, and multi-dimensional functionality. The focus of this project will be to develop an interactive web-based program to help caregivers with managing medication administration and medical care of their elderly relatives. ISA Associates, in partnership with a team of expert consultants and the Redmon Group, will develop and field test the program during Phase II of the project. The primary objectives of Phase II are to (1) complete development of a program capable of addressing the many needs of caregivers, (2) test the effectiveness of the program in a randomized experimental field test, and (3) revise the program according to the field test results and prepare the program for marketing. To accomplish these objectives ISA will build on the lessons learned during Phase I of the Caregivers SmartTools project. We will also draw on our extensive experience in developing health-related interventions, most notably the SmartRx Program for women and the Healthy Past 50 Program for healthy workplaces. In Phase II, ISA will work with experts in the fields of eldercare, pharmacology, and public policy to further refine the prototype program and create a fully developed program that is both science-driven and functionally relevant to caregivers. Following completion of program development, 300 caregivers will be recruited with the active support and assistance from the National Council on Patient Information and Education and the National Alliance for Caregiving. Participants will be assigned to either review the online program or [a comparable website] and tested on measures of reported ability to manage various dimension of caregiving. Results of this experimental field study will be analyzed and the program will be prepared for marketing.

Public Health Relevance

This project aims to develop a web-based program focusing on improving the ability of caregivers to effectively manage medication administration and medical care monitoring in the elderly. This program will provide users with the information, skills, and tools needed to prevent medical problems, safely administer medications, and coordinate care. Innovative technologies such as reminders on doctor's appointments and taking medications, storing and tracking of medical information, and downloadable medical forms will be incorporated in the program. The goal of the program will be to help organize and address the multiple management issues faced by the elderly and their caregivers. Upon successful development and testing of the program a broad- based commercialization plan will be initiated. Markets for the program include workplaces, large insurers/managed behavioral health organizations, pharmacy and pharmaceutical companies, and home- health care providers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-C (10))
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Bhattacharyya, Partha
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Isa Associates, Inc.
United States
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