The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis launches a new Family Caregiving Institute, dedicated to the well-being of those who care for others, with a $5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Through the institute, nurse leaders aim to discover and disseminate knowledge to improve systems of support for caregivers, building upon the foundation laid by the school’s current scholarship in the area of family caregiving, including a collaboration with AARP, a partnership with families in Alameda County and research on obstacles faced by Latinas caring for family members suffering from dementia.
“Family caregivers provide more than 80 percent of long-term care to older adults, with a large percentage of their activities considered nursing tasks,” said Terri Harvath, associate dean for academics and lead researcher for the institute. “Yet these dedicated individuals remain largely invisible in the health care system. We must develop systems to support them in the demands that impact their mental, physical, and financial health, and threaten their quality of life.”
Last fall, AARP commissioned Harvath and a team of School of Nursing researchers to develop a series of tutorial videos for family caregivers as they manage complex nursing activities within their homes. Through this work and as a founding member of the AARP Public Policy Institute’s Home Alone Alliance, the School of Nursing leads the way in how health care organizations and professionals interface with family caregivers.
Associate Professor Janice Bell currently leads evaluation research of a novel person-centered, faith-based, intervention. The Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA) Advanced Illness Care Program trains and supports congregation and community individuals to provide advanced illness care guidance and resources through five African-American hub churches in alignment with members’ spiritual values and cultural preferences.
“The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is built on a foundation of advancing traditional hospital and systems-based solutions to meet the needs and demands for care in the community,” said Janet Corrigan, chief program officer of patient care with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “The Family Caregiving Institute will further that goal by including family caregivers as essential members of a person’s care team, training them to perform tasks traditionally performed by clinicians and providing tools to support the basic needs of caring for someone in the home.”
One in five American households is involved in a wide range of caregiving activities that vary in their intensity from checking on aging parents to providing total care to a disabled family member. Family members typically coordinate complex, disconnected and even contradictory clinical oversight from multiple providers and institutions. A diverse community, along with national and academic partners in practice, research and education, uniquely positions the School of Nursing as a leader in the caregiving field.
Another goal of the institute is to augment abilities of health care professionals to better partner with and support family caregivers. Leaders will work to develop tools and resources for practicing health professionals to equip them to be more effective in anticipating and meeting the needs of caregivers.
“This grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation represents a strong affirmation of the quality of our faculty, our scholarship, and our commitment to promote health for family caregivers,” said Heather M. Young, founding dean. “It is a great opportunity to bring together existing researchers here at UC Davis, recruit new faculty, strengthen our partnerships, and further enhance our work for the well-being of caregivers everywhere.”
The Family Caregiving Institute will be established over the next decade, leveraging the strength of UC Davis, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and partners. Leaders anticipate hiring two new tenure-track, research faculty, one new clinical faculty member, a two-year postdoctoral fellow, along with support staff.