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What Are the Characteristics of Caregivers Logging in for Support Services?

Background and Objectives: Online service delivery options have the potential to increase access to informational resources among caregivers to older adults. However, it is unknown which caregivers will use online-delivered services over usual service delivery modes (e.g., by phone) when both options are available in social service settings. This is important for service providers to know when making decisions that best serve their communities. Research Design and Methods: Guided by Andersen’s model of health service utilization, we used step-wise logistic regression models to compare the characteristics of caregivers who used an online information service called FCA CareJourney (FCA CJ) with those who accessed the same services using the usual mode of service delivery (N = 540). Online and usual-care services were available through two social service organizations in California. Results: In all, 13.7% of clients used FCA CJ to receive services online. Enabling characteristics were the main predictors of using online-delivered services. Caregivers employed part-time had 3.82 times the odds of using online-delivered services compared to those employed full-time (odds ratio [OR] = 3.82; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.58–9.22). Caregivers who learned about services from health care providers had 2.91 times the odds of using FCA CJ as those who learned about services through social services (OR = 2.91; 95% CI: 1.28–6.62). Even among those who learned about services online, 62.2% still accessed services using usual delivery modes. Discussion and Implications: Based on differences in the characteristics of caregivers using different service delivery modes and the low uptake of online-delivered services, we suggest online service delivery should supplement, not replace, usual delivery modes in social service settings. At the same time, user rates of online service delivery are likely modifiable. Given the potential for online-delivered programming to expand access to information services for caregivers, we recommend further examination into the effects of marketing online service delivery options to caregivers in novel ways

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Type of Reference
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Journal article
Oxford university press
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Journal Titles
Innovation in aging
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