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Enhancing Preparedness and Satisfaction of Caregivers of Patients Discharged from an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Using an Interactive Website

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Abstract

Purpose

Research indicates a need for improved caregiver preparation to provide care following a patient's discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. The aim of this project was to test the use of web-based resources to enhance the preparedness and satisfaction of such caregivers.

Methods

A website was provided to caregivers with resources and e-mail access to a rehabilitation nurse practitioner. Care recipients had the following diagnoses: stroke, amputation, trauma/orthopedic, brain injury or debility. Preparedness for caregiving was assessed before utilization of the website and after discharge. Satisfaction of the resources was assessed after discharge. Measures included the Preparedness for Caregiver Scale and the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire. Seventy caregivers completed the predischarge preparedness tool. Thirty returned both tools postdischarge.

Findings

Analysis of pre–post test data indicated increased preparedness to provide care after resource use, no increase meeting the caregiver's personal needs, and satisfaction with the resources provided. The caregivers of brain-injured patients reported less preparation as caregivers than those who cared for patients with other diagnoses. Although high interest was reported in using e-mail with the nurse practitioner, the resource was not utilized.

Clinical Relevance

This preliminary study supports the clinical relevance of Internet resources to improve caregiver preparation. With shortened hospital stays, providing applicable and evidence-based websites and other online services for caregivers can complement other healthcare services. More research focused on preparing caregivers and supporting personal caregiver needs is needed to evaluate the impact on overall rehabilitation outcomes.

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