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Freytes IM, Posse C. The Experience of Hispanic Dementia Caregivers with Support Groups: An Exploratory Study. Poster session presented at: Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting; 2008 Nov 12; National Harbor, MD.
Background: Hispanics are the largest diverse group in the U.S. (2000 Census.) 200,000 Hispanics with AD nationwide (Alzheimer’s Association, 2004.) Only a small number of dementia caregivers participate in traditional face-to-face support groups. (Alzheimer’s Association and National Alliance for Caregiving, 2004.) Telehealth approaches are emerging as innovative ways to enhance efforts to reach out to underserved populations. Objectives: perception of Hispanic dementia caregivers regarding the use of the telephone to obtain information and support. Discuss benefits of a telephone support group. Methods: Data Collection: 8 semi-structured interviews (in Spanish) with 8 Hispanic dementia caregivers. Data analysis: •Interviews were transcribed verbatim and verified. •Transcripts were coded by hand using a grounded theory approach. •Constant comparative method used to identify prominent themes and relationships. •Notes and team members “checks” were used to ensure trustworthiness. Findings: Theme #1: Barriers to support group participation: Barriers associated with participation on traditional support groups included: transportation, distance, scheduling conflicts, lack of respite. There were no identified barriers regarding access to telephone support group. Theme #2: Beliefs and opinions regarding the use of technology as a service delivery method: Most participants reported not having have access to a computer at home or time to “figure things out” online. One participant reposted not feeling comfortable using the computer. However, all caregivers reported feeling at ease using the telephone. Theme #3: Benefits of telephone support groups: Convenient, informative, well-planned, allows for meeting new people. Impact: This exploratory study enhances our understanding about Hispanic dementia caregivers's participation in support services and their perception about using telehealth communications as a service delivery method.