Respite Services for Caregiving Relatives using Simulation Training

Respite Services for Caregiving Relatives using Simulation Training

Respite Services for Caregiving Relatives using Simulation Training

Background: Currently, the care for frail elderly people is provided mainly on an informal basis by relatives. In Austria about 80% of older people, who are in need of care, still live at home and are tended by their own families or home care services. Care dependency does not only burden the patients themselves, but also their caregiving relatives. Caregiver burden is a multidimensional reaction to a number of factors associated with providing daily assistance to elderly and dependent people. Therefore, arrangements must be made to provide respite for family carers. Simulation training is a validated and powerful experiential learning tool traditionally incorporated in health professional educational curricula but has not been commonly used in the hands-on training of informal caregivers.

Method: From 2016 to 2018 we built up extensive structures for a simulation training center in Graz (Austria). The main goal was to improve caregiving competence, reduce stress, and promote mental well-being in a safe learning environment. The courses are either Manikin-based simulation trainings or Standardized Patient simulation trainings and take place in a show apartment. The impact of these trainings was evaluated in a prospective non-randomized controlled trial with 100 participants (n=50 intervention; n=50 control group) until the end of 2019. The intervention includes two or more training courses and a coaching-unit. The impact on the caregiving competence, the quality of life and the burden-of-care is measured in three questionnaires at the beginning, after four and after eight months.

Result: The findings show that the results reveal a significant improvement concerning the caregiving competence within the intervention group between baseline and follow-up 2. Furthermore, the data shows that the mean quality of life in the control group tends to be lower at follow-up 2, whereas the intervention group does not show such a trend. The results of simulation trainings for informal caregivers show a reduction of caregiver burden, especially concerning depression and role overload, as well as an increase of caregiving competence and knowledge.

Summary: A high percentage of older people who are in need of care, still live at home and are tended by their own families. This care dependency does not only burden the patients themselves, but also their caregiving relatives. Simulation-based nursing courses can offer support to informal caregivers. The main goal of these trainings is to improve caregiving competence, reduce stress, and promote mental well-being in a safe learning environment. Results from our study show that the participants benefit from the simulation training, since they can apply at home what they have learned during the courses. However, further investigations on the health economic impact of these trainings are necessary to show the far-reaching effects of this kind of respite service for informal caregivers and the inpatient sector.


Presenter/s: Judith Goldgruber (Geriatric Health Centers of the City of Graz, Austria)