Program Origins and Development
Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) and all materials were developed over 3 years of pilot testing, refinement and evaluative research to assess the program’s effectiveness. Initiated through grant funding, the program has been offered since 1998 in the United States. There are 3,000 trained PTC Class Leaders in 40 states as of 2015. Since the program’s inception, Powerful Tools for Caregivers materials have reached over 80,000 caregivers.
Brief Description of Caregiver Class Content
In the six weekly classes, caregivers develop a wealth of self-care tools to:
- Reduce personal stress; change negative self-talk; communicate their needs to family members and healthcare or service providers; communicate effectively in challenging situations
- Recognize the messages in their emotions, deal with difficult feelings; and make tough care-giving decisions.
- Participants also receive a copy of The Caregiver Help book, developed specifically for the class.
Research and Outcomes
In the years since the program began, a great deal of research, evaluation and revision has been done to ensure its continued value and success. The 6-week PTC class has been shown to have a positive impact on caregiver health for a diverse group of caregivers including rural, ethnic minorities, adult children of aging parents, well-spouses/partners, caregivers at differing stages in their caregiving role, living situations, financial and educational backgrounds. Data from class participant evaluations indicates the PTC program significantly improves:
- Self-Care Behaviors: (increased exercise, use of relaxation techniques and medical checkups.)
- Management of Emotions: (reduced guilt, anger, and depression.
- Self-efficacy (increased confidence in coping with care-giving demands.)
- Use of Community Resources: (increased utilization of community services.)
In 2007, PTC received the National Family Caregiver Award for innovation, responsiveness and effectiveness from the National Alliance for Caregiving and the MetLife Foundation. In 2009, PTC received the Network of Multicultural Aging Excellence Award from the American Society on Aging/AARP. In 2012, the PTC program was recognized by the Administration on Aging as having met its highest level criteria for evidenced-based programs.