Southern Illinois Rural Caregiver Telehealth Project (Chwalisz/Dollinger)

Name of Intervention: SIU Rural Caregiver Telehealth Intervention Trial

Principal Investigator (s): Kathleen Chwalisz & Stephanie Clancy Dollinger

Institutional Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Description of Intervention:

1. Summary of Intervention

The Southern Illinois Rural Caregiver Telehealth Project is designed to specifically meet the needs of informal caregivers in a rural area. Supportive services and resources through the Tele-Help Line for Caregivers are provided during structured telephone counseling sessions. Caregiver knowledge, problem-solving skills, and help-seeking behavior and affect are the major components addressed during the intervention. An eight-session structured telephone intervention, and a call-in helpline (in which all components are available but tailored to individual participants based on caller presenting concerns and assessed needs) are being compared.

Caregivers who have completed the intervention report significantly less stress and improved social role functioning support that is still evident at 6 months. These positive effects are especially true for highly distressed and overwhelmed caregivers.

Key search terms:

Rural Caregivers, Skills training, Telehealth, Caregivers

2. Intervention Materials

A flexible training manual is utilized for the intervention. For further information and materials, please contact:

Kathleen Chwalisz, Ph.D. & Stephanie Clancy Dollinger, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901, 618-453-3521,;

3. Implementing the Intervention

Training for delivering the intervention is provided by a Doctoral level Psychologist. The intervention administered by Masters level Psychologists. Estimation of the costs of implementing the intervention is in progress. Estimated cost currently unknown (Manual + Training Time).

Please note that recruitment of caregivers in a rural area has been the greatest limitation in implementing this intervention.

4. For more information

Professional Articles and Chapters:

Clancy Dollinger, S.M., Chwalisz, K., Zerth, E.O. (2006). Tele-help Line for Caregivers (TLC): A comprehensive telehealth intervention for rural family caregivers. Clinical Gerontologist, 30, 51-64.

Chwalisz, K., & Clancy Dollinger, S. M. (in press). Evidence-based practice with family caregivers. In R. G. Fran, B.R. Caplan, & M. Rosenthal (Eds.), Handbook of Rehabilitation Psychology (2nd Ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Conference Presentations:

Clancy Dollinger, S. M., Chwalisz, K., Hand, K., Zerth, E.O., & Ashley, J. (2007, November). Factors Related to Attrition in a Multi-Component Telehealth. Paper accepted for presentation at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, San Francisco, CA.

Chwalisz, K., Clancy Dollinger, S.M., Hand, K., Zerth, E.O. (2007, August). Caregiving Engagement: Potential Barriers and Techniques for Successful Retention. Symposium presented at the 115th American Psychological Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA.

Clancy Dollinger, S.M., Chwalisz, K., Zerth, E.O., Hand, K. (2007, March). Improving Physical and Mental Health Outcomes in Caregivers: A Multi-Component Telehealth Service Intervention. Paper presented at the 2007 American Psychological Association’s Division 22 Mid-Year Meeting, Charlotte, NC.

Clancy Dollinger, S. M., Chwalisz, K., & Zerth, E. O. (2006, March). A multi-component telehealth service intervention: Health outcomes in caregivers. Paper presented at the 27th Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, San Francisco, California.

News Releases:

Tele-help Line for Caregivers Offer Support (2007, September 28). Salem Times-Commoner, p. 7A.

Telephone help line relieves stress for caregivers (2005, November 23). SIU News.

SIUC unveils Telehelp Line for Caregivers: A Lifeline for those who Care for Elderly Friends, Relatives.. (2003, September 17). Southern Windows.