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RESCUE Website en Español for Caregivers of Veterans Post Stroke

Freytes IM, Uphold CR. RESCUE Website en Español for Caregivers of Veterans Post Stroke. Paper presented at: VA Caribbean Healthcare System Annual Research Day; 2012 Apr 25; San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Project: Web-Based Informational Materials for Caregivers of Veterans Post Stroke, Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research and Development QUERI, Service Directed Project. #SDP 06-327. Objectives: Our goal was to improve Hispanic American stroke caregivers' knowledge and skills by developing, implementing, and evaluating a VA website in Spanish to serve as a patient education resource for providers and family members. Methods: We used the 4-stage, NIH health communication model to guide our 3-site study. In the development phase, we used community-based participatory research methods and partnered with VA and non-VA organizations in Puerto Rico. We used evidenced-based "best practices" to create a low-literate, senior-friendly VA website that is written in Spanish. We pretested the website in multiple ways: a) focus groups with providers, b) in-person interviews with culturally-diverse family caregivers living in Puerto Rico, c) expert panel of clinicians and d) cognitive "think aloud" usability study with caregivers and providers in Puerto Rico. We conducted a multi-prong, social marketing campaign (VHA Twitter/Facebook, eBlast emails, health fairs at 13 VA medical centers (including the VA medical center in San Juan), consumer/professional publications) to motivate caregivers and providers to use the website. We evaluated the website by conducting online and telephone surveys with providers (total n = 53) and using Webtrends analysis. Results: After development and pretesting, we created the RESCUE (Resources and Education for Stroke Caregivers' Understanding and Empowerment) website ( in Spanish. The website consists of a library of 45 factsheets, a problem-solving learning module, self-help tools, resource list, patient education newsletters, and a glossary with phonetic spellings. Survey results indicate that providers are using the website for educating caregivers and view the website as informative, comprehensive, credible and up-to-date. Webtrends analytics found that there were over numerous visits to the Spanish-language website . Implications: Implementations science methods, social marketing approaches, and evidence-based principles for designing web-based health information led to the creation of a senior-friendly website for Hispanic American stroke caregivers. Ensuring that information for caregivers is consumer-oriented, culturally-sensitive, and at a low literacy level is a positive strategy to improve the home care of Hispanic American Veterans with stroke. Impacts: The RESCUE website is a resource to inform and empower Hispanic American caregivers, and ultimately to improve outcomes of Veterans with stroke. The website is a tool that providers can use for patient education and support interventions for caregivers.

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