100801: Internet Healthcare Support Interventions for Family Caregivers

About the Course:

The purpose of the project was to emulate face-to-face psychosocial support group process in an Internet videoconferencing environment and explore the benefits for 34 family caregivers of persons with neurodegenerative disease. Caregivers were provided with computer equipment and trained to access a password-protected Web site. Using videoconferencing software, each group of 6 members met with a facilitator online weekly for 10 weeks. Each caregiver was interviewed at 6-month follow-up. Participant response data were generated through qualitative analysis of group process and follow-up interviews. The analysis showed that the virtual group process closely paralleled face-to-face group interactions. At follow-up, 90% of the caregivers reported that the online group experience had been “very” or “overall” positive and that the group had helped them cope with the stresses of caregiving. The professional and ethical implications of providing a clinical intervention using the Internet are discussed. COURSE SYLLABUS I. Background II. Effectiveness of Support Groups for Family Caregivers III. Technology-Based Support for Clients and Family Caregivers IV. Caring for Others: Theoretical Framework VI. Methods VII. Results VIII. Discusssion

Publication Date:

2005/ Vol. 86, No. 3


Elsa Marziali, PhD; Peter Donahue, MSW; Gillian Crossin, MSW

About the Authors:

Professor Faculty of Social Work University of Toronto

Assistant Professor School of Social Work University of Calgary

Social Work fellow The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre Toronto , Canada

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for social workers, counselors, psychologists, and other human services and behavioral health professionals who seek knowledge about internet healthcare support. It is appropriate for participants with all levels of knowledge about the topic.

Course Objectives:

  1. describe the effects of the interventions and describe practice implications.

  2. describe the theoretical framework and operational procedures for a web-based videoconference support group for family caregivers of persons with neurogenerative disorders.

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