REACH in Rural North Texas




Bourgin, Sarah


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Background: Prior studies have shown Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH), a program delivered by Alzheimer's Association to be efficacious in improving feelings of burden and depression for caregivers living in urban settings. This study was designed to examine the impact the REACH program has for caregivers living in rural areas. Methods: Data was collected from 49 caregivers, living in north Texas rural zip codes, who completed the REACH program between 2015-2018. Participants were assessed for caregiver burden using the 12-item Zarit Caregiver Burden survey and screened for depression with the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. The surveys were completed upon initial enrollment and at the end of the 6-month program. The initial and final survey responses were compared using paired t-test analysis with p< 0.05. Results: Composite scores for depression and caregiver burden showed significant reductions from baseline to program completion. Upon initial enrollment, 53% of participants were considered depressed using the CES-D scale. At program completion, 79% of participants were no longer considered depressed. Similar results were found with the Zarit Caregiver Burden survey. Initially, 55% of participants scored in the high burden range. After completion of the program, 67% of participants were considered to have no to moderate burden. Conclusion: Completion of the six-month REACH program revealed statistically significant reduced feelings of caregiver burden and depression. Data claims that the REACH program does have a positive impact on caregivers living in rural areas, warranting wider scale implementation.