Chronic Grief Management: An Intervention for Dementia Caregivers in Transition

Research Team

Olimpia Paun, Principal Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing
Fawn Cothran, Co-Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing

Award Period


Funding Source

College of Nursing Research Fund - Faculty Pilot Grant


Evidence indicates that dementia family caregivers suffer long-term mental and physical health effects that place them at risk for premature death. They do not relinquish their role after placing relatives with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in long-term care (LTC). In fact, these caregivers were found to experience increased depression, anxiety, and chronic grief post-placement. In the LTC environment, caregivers’ chronic grief is exacerbated by their sense of loss and guilt. Interventions targeting improvement of dementia caregivers’ mental health have focused overwhelmingly on in-home care. We tested a Chronic Grief Management Intervention (CGMI) with dementia caregivers in LTC and found it feasible (recruitment, retention, and attendance) with significant effects on caregiver knowledge and mental health outcomes (grief). Our proposed pilot study, Chronic Grief Management: An Online Video Intervention builds on these results and on caregiver feedback indicating a need for fewer sessions and flexibility in delivery. We propose to test the feasibility of delivering the adapted CGMI content (8 weekly group sessions) in an online, real-time, videotaped group format (CGMI-V). We will use Adobe Connect as a delivery platform accessible through digital tablets provided to each participant. We will recruit a diverse sample of 6-8 dementia family caregivers from across 10 long-term care facilities located in the Chicago metropolitan area. Specific aims are to test the feasibility of the CGMI-V and explore caregivers’ technology experience. We will track and document participant recruitment, retention, and attendance with an online CONSORT chart. Participants will be assessed at baseline for sociodemographic information and at the end of the program with a participant satisfaction (intervention content) survey. A focus group will be conducted at the end of the program to assess participants’ technology experience in our online group based intervention. Results will contribute to a future R01 that will test the full intervention.


For more information about this project, please contact Olimpia Paun.