Pilot evaluation of the family informal caregiver stroke self-management program.
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BACKGROUND: Due to the abrupt onset of a stroke, caregivers are often unprepared for the role, have extensive needs and are at risk for negative outcomes. Interventions facilitating development of coping and problem solving skills are shown to decrease the negative effects of caregiving. The Family Informal Caregiver Stroke Self-Management (FICSS) program was developed to address the unmet needs of family caregivers of stroke survivors. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the content, format and resource materials of the FICSS program with 10-12 family caregivers of stroke survivors within Central South Ontario. METHODS: The FICSS program is a four-module education and support series of facilitated small group discussions. Topics included: balancing changing roles, managing behaviour changes, sexuality/intimacy, and community linkages. Each module was evaluated weekly and by focus group one month after the program. RESULTS: Eleven family caregivers of stroke survivors with three years of mean caregiving experience participated. Caregivers valued the opportunity to share experiences and learn from others who understood what they were going through. Recommendations were made to improve the program topic areas, content and flow. CONCLUSIONS: The pilot evaluation of the program validated the content of the FICSS program and indicated recommendations for improvement.
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