Trualta, an online caregiver training platform, recently added New York to the list of 26 other states it partners with in its quest to help family caregivers bolster their skills and self-confidence while lessening the risk of burnout and improving results for those who are aging in place.
“We hope to see confident and empowered family caregivers who experience less stress and burnout,” Jonathan Davis, CEO, told TriplePundit. “We also hope to see care recipients living healthier lives at home with their loved ones.”
Family caregivers need support
Although caregiving often starts out simple – with mundane tasks such as grocery shopping, meal preparation and household chores – care needs generally become more extensive over time, requiring more skills and training to be performed safely. For example, improper medication and diabetes management can have disastrous effects—from missed doses to blood sugars that alternately spike and bottom out. Likewise, improper transfers can injure both the caregiver and their loved one, leading to strained backs and even falls. In addition, dementia and Alzheimer’s can present unprecedented challenges the average family caregiver is not automatically equipped to deal with.
Unrealistic demands and expectations can cause caregivers to neglect their own health and well-being, which – along with stress from trying to manage too much – can quickly lead to burnout—something Davis addressed in regards to the company’s recent partnership:
“The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) and the Association on Aging in NY (AgingNY) decided to partner with Trualta, along with a few other innovative companies, to address social isolation, caregiver burden and other health issues … We will make sure that every caregiver in New York has access to valuable training and support resources to reduce stress, build confidence and feel less alone.”
Meeting the need
Trualta is focused on making caregivers more successful and less stressed by teaching the importance of self-care, offering community support and events, and providing usable training.
“With new skills and a place to turn for help, they’ll feel less helpless when new situations arise,” Davis said. “We help people caring for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, intellectual and developmental disabilities, a recent stroke, diabetes, and many other conditions.”
With lessons available in English and Spanish, the online learning platform offers a variety of courses, including the following subjects:
- Medication management
- Diabetes management
- Transfers, mobility and fall prevention
- Toileting, showering and other bathroom care tasks
- Hospital-to-home care
- Communication and behavioral changes
- Agitation and aggression
- Setting boundaries
- Caregiver wellness
According to its website, Trualta’s lessons aim to “reduce caregiver burden, improve family satisfaction and extend aging-in-place.” A big part of doing so is preparing caregivers to bring their loved ones home after a hospital discharge, as Davis explained:
“Many families find themselves in new care situations after an acute care stay,” he said. “Their loved one may have increased needs, or different needs than before. Especially after a stay in the hospital, families are motivated to do anything to keep their loved one comfortable at home. Trualta offers content to address any new or changing needs. By empowering families to provide the best care, Trualta can play a part in reducing readmissions.”
What caregivers are saying
New York had good reason to contract with an online family caregiver training service: Of the 4.1 million unpaid caregivers in the state, 70% reported a minimum of one mental health symptom during the pandemic, and 61% agree they worry about providing care for a loved one.
Research from 2021 found that 84.4% of caregivers who logged onto the platform during the study period went on to use the skills they had learned, with the highest utilization rate being for behavior-related skills. More than half of caregivers also reported making more time for self-care after their training.
Trualta user and caregiver Laura Wood raved about the platform:
“Caregiving can be a scary thing … But Trualta has taught me that the fear of the situation is so much worse than the actual situation; that the scary things about caregiving aren’t as scary as I think they are. No situation or issue is a catastrophe. Trualta has done such an incredible job of calmly, kindly and concisely presenting information. Having the ability to learn something, maybe before you really need it, is such an advantage to us caregivers, and knowing where to revisit it and dig deeper if/when you need is powerful.”
So far, Trualta is contracted with 27 states and parts of Canada, and is available to caregivers free of charge in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Carolina
Trualta is also available in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Vermont.