News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Christine Grant
Commissioner
For Release:
October 23, 2000
For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan
(609) 984-7160
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Commissioner Pays Tribute to Family Caregivers
Training Programs Help Families Care for Frail Elderly, Disabled

FLEMINGTON - Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant today recognized the vital role of family caregivers in providing high quality, loving care for their elderly or disabled family members during a visit to a skills-building training program for caregivers at Hunterdon Medical Center.

The program is one of three new training courses initiated by the department to help families provide safe and appropriate care for their loved ones.

"Family caregivers are among our state's most important resources. They ensure the needs of loved ones are met while reducing the demands placed on the formal health care system," said Governor Christie Whitman. To honor the more than 700,000 family caregivers in our state, the governor has designated November as National Family Caregivers Month in New Jersey.

Commissioner Grant added, "The training programs we have launched give caregivers the skills and emotional encouragement they need to continue providing effective care for their frail elderly or disabled family members."

The three new training programs launched by the department include the Caregivers Skills Training Program visited today by the commissioner, the In-Home Caregiver Education and Support Program and the Caring for You, Caring for Me Education and Support Program.

The Caregivers Skills Training Program is a 2-day, 10-hour course offered in an approved nurse aide or home health aide training laboratory setting. Program participants receive hands-on instruction in the use of specialized assistance equipment and devices. They also learn such skills as communicating with care recipients and providers, infection control and physical care, personal care, body mechanics, medications, and stress management. This program is currently being offered by 7 agencies in 6 counties, including Cumberland, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean and Warren.

The In-Home Caregiver Education and Support Program provides one-on-one education in the caregiver's home in order to enhance the caregiver's ability and effectiveness. A registered nurse works with the caregiver to assess needs and develop an individualized, comprehensive teaching plan that may include such subjects as lifting, personal care, nutrition, bathing, disease prevention and accessing community resources. This program is currently available in 9 counties including Atlantic, Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Mercer, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union.

Caring for You, Caring for Me is offered in all 21 counties. It is a 10-hour course developed by the Rosalyn Carter Institute of Georgia Southwestern State University. This program addresses caregiver needs, how to build cooperative relationships, preventing and solving problems, and accessing and developing community resources.

Grant said interest in the caregiver training programs is growing and more than 300 individuals have been trained to date. To learn more about caregiver training, residents are urged to call NJEASE toll-free at 1-877-222-3737.

The caregiver training programs are part of Governor Whitman's $65 million Senior Initiatives launched in the SFY 2000 and 2001 budgets to help New Jersey's seniors stay in their homes and communities rather than in nursing homes by providing easier access to community-based services. Funding for caregiver training is currently $250,000.

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