Previous intervention research has shown that group education sessions for carers are effective but not always feasible due to the demands of the caregiving role and the difficulty in getting carers to attend. This project was a consumer-led research initiative to develop and evaluate a multimedia resource (DVD) providing information and support for carers of people receiving palliative care.
Eight carers were recruited from a community palliative care service to form a steering committee for the project. In collaboration with two researchers, the committee discussed the topics that would be included in the resource, developed an interview guide, participated in the filmed interviews, and developed the evaluation program. The steering committee participated in a focus group as part of the evaluation to elicit their experiences of the project. An evaluation was conducted that included the following: questionnaires for 29 carers and 17 palliative care health professionals; follow-up telephone interviews with carers; a focus group with health professionals; and a focus group with the Carer Steering Committee.
The carers and health professionals reported that the DVD was informative (93 and 94%, respectively), realistic (96 and 88%), supportive (93 and 88%), and helpful (83 and 100%). All health professionals and carers reported that they would recommend the resource to carers. Carers on the steering committee reported substantial benefits that involved the opportunity to help others and to openly discuss and reflect on their experiences.
This is an important resource that can be utilized to support family carers and introduce palliative care. Currently, 1500 copies have been distributed to palliative care services and professionals nationwide and is available online at centreforpallcare.org/index.php/resources/carer_dvd/. Development of this DVD represents a strong collaboration between carers and researchers to produce a resource that is informative, supportive, and meaningful.