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Beyond respite: designing effective wellness programs for caregivers

A/Prof Christopher Poulos, Prof Elizabeth Beattie, Ms Meredith Gresham
Research Centre DCRC Carers and Consumers
Partner Institution HammondCare
Project Description


Wellness involves not only physical and psychological wellbeing, but wellbeing in a number of other domains. These other domains include intellectual fulfilment, social connectedness, the ability to participate and enjoy work, hobbies and other interests, and spiritual wellbeing. 

Caregivers of people with dementia often experience poor overall wellbeing because of deficits in one or more of the wellness domains. However previous caregiver research and caregiver intervention programs have generally focussed on only improving one or two wellness domains.

This project will examine how the multiple domains of wellness are affected by the caregiving role with the aim being to develop multi-faceted wellness programs that meet the specific needs of caregivers of people with dementia. This project will be carried out in four phases:

  1. Survey of the literature, examining: the wellness needs of caregivers; the morbidity associated with caregiving; the lifestyle constraints preventing caregiver participating in wellness activities; and previous wellness interventions for caregivers.
  2. Direct evidence gathering via focus groups to ascertain the day-to-day wellness needs of caregivers and the constraints they might experience in participating in wellness interventions.
  3. Synthesis of the evidence gained from phases 1 and 2 to summarise the determinants of caregiver wellbeing, the wellness needs of caregivers, the constraints caregivers face in participating in wellness programs, and the evidence for the effectiveness of caregiver intervention strategies.
  4. The development of a multi-faceted wellness improvement intervention which will be tested in future research for uptake, adherence and effectiveness.
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