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King HA, Shepherd-Banigan M, Chapman JG, Bruening R, Decosimo KP, Van Houtven CH. Use of motivational techniques to enhance unpaid caregiver engagement in a tailored skills training intervention. Aging & mental health. 2022 Feb 1; 26(2):337-344.
OBJECTIVES: The Helping Invested Families Improve Veterans' Experiences Study (HI-FIVES) evaluated a skills training program to support family caregivers of cognitively or functionally impaired persons. HI-FIVES demonstrated sustained improvements in caregivers' and patients' experiences of VA care. The aim of this distinct, secondary qualitative study was to explore the potential processes related to the individual tailored skills-based telephone training underpinning HI-FIVES intervention effects. We explored topics caregivers selected, characteristics of action items created, patterns of action or inaction, and barriers to action item completion across topics. METHODS: Qualitative data was analysed from 118 dyads randomized into the HI-FIVES intervention which included three weekly facilitated training calls covering five education topics and action items developed by caregivers for each topic. Qualitative analysis of text responses to questions from the training calls was used. RESULTS: Three of the top four most selected topics were caregiver-oriented and caregivers created an action item most often for self-care topics. Caregiver-oriented topics also had the highest action item completion rates. The majority of action items created met SMART guidelines for goal setting and simple structure. With regard to barriers to action item completion, caregivers commonly reported still contemplating/pending. CONCLUSION: Our findings identify motivational interviewing as an effective technique to identify critical intervention content and address barriers to achieving caregiving goals. We suggest that caregivers felt more empowered to create and complete an action item when they had more control over completing the action item, such as in topics related to their own self-care.