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Respite service for informal caregivers: evaluation of simulation-training based education program

Background: Currently, the care for elderly people is provided mainly on an informal basis by relatives. This is often associated with psychological and physical stress. Caregiving relatives usually take over the role unprepared and they lack both knowledge and skills to fulfil the tasks. Therefore, arrangements must be made to provide respite for family carers. Simulation training is a validated experiential learning tool traditionally incorporated in health professional education but has not been commonly used in the hands-on training of informal caregivers. Objectives: This study tried to measure whether participation in a special simulation training affects the trust in one's own ability to care, the quality of life and the stress perception of caring relatives. Methods: 98 caring relatives participated in the prospective, controlled (non-randomized) intervention study. The intervention involved an eight-month educational program in a simulation-training center in Graz (Austria). The program is either Manikin-based or Standardized Patient simulation trainings and take place in a show apartment. The impact on the caregiving competence, the quality of life and the burden-of-care was measured at the beginning (T1), after four months (T2) and after eight months (T3) using validated questionnaires (Self-Efficacy Scale, EQ-5D-5L and HPS). Results: The results show a significant influence of the education program on self-efficacy (p 0.0018) and the increase in knowledge (p 0.04) of the participants. With regard to the subjective quality of life and the perception of stress no significant effects were shown. Conclusions: The results show that the participation of family carers at the education program has different influence on the defined parameters. Not only the stable quality of life of the intervention group but also the short-term significant reduction in subjective stress perception directly after the training can be emphasized as positive indicators for the program. Key messages The results show that informal caregivers benefit from simulation training, since they can apply at home what they have learned during the training. Simulation training for informal caregivers significant influence their self-efficacy and the increase in knowledge.

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Taylor & Francis
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European Journal Of Public Health
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