Actors demonstrate caregiving duties in one of a series of videos produced by AARP.
Actors demonstrate caregiving duties in one of a series of videos produced by AARP.

AARP caregiver videos fill gap, leverage nursing expertise

Inside 20 percent of American homes, family members provide care for their loved ones —from caring for aging parents to tending to disabled spouses. Yet the tools to guide them through traditional nursing tasks are few and far between. Faculty at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis partner with colleagues at AARP to change that.

A review of the research on multicultural caregiving identified gaps and opportunities to support family caregivers in culturally sensitive ways. That vacancy led to an opportunity for a creative collaboration to develop a series of tutorial videos to serve as tools for family caregivers as they manage complex nursing activities within their homes.

“Our goal is to help family caregivers, but we also want to teach nurses — practicing nurses, nursing students — how they might role-model this and work with families in a very meaningful way,” says Susan Reinhard, a nurse and senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute.

In April, AARP launched the tutorial videos online to help family caregivers navigate complex nursing activities within their homes. From understanding difficult medication regimens to discussing sensitive caretaker responsibilities, actors in the videos address various aspects of family caregiving rooted in the knowledge of registered nurses. A total of six videos — five in English and one in Spanish — address general guidelines for medications, oral medications, injections, medications that are administered by other routes (e.g., patch) and the unique challenges of trying to help someone with dementia take medications.

“Nurses are well-poised to provide some of the resources and teaching that can better prepare family caregivers to take on these tasks,” explains Theresa Harvath, associate dean for academics and principal investigator on the project. “We must develop, implement and evaluate approaches that provide the kinds of supports that care-givers actually need and, at the same time, build community capacity to support caregiving as an often invisible and commonly isolating contribution.”

Additional videos are slated for future release. Meanwhile, Harvath will release a series of articles on caregiving in the American Journal of Nursing beginning November 2016.