A Statistician’s View from the Evaluation Desk: The VA Caregiver Support Program Partnered Evaluation Center
*Karen M. Stechuchak, Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Keywords: Veterans, evaluation, partnered research, family caregivers
The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers provides qualifying veterans and the family caregivers a series of benefits such as a monthly stipend, access to health care if uninsured, education, training, respite care, and caregiver mental health services. The Program of General Caregiver Support Services enhances support and services for family caregivers, including training and education. The VA Caregiver Support Program Partnered Evaluation Center is using multiple mixed method approaches to evaluate the short-term effects of the two programs, including use patterns, full delivery costs of the program, perceived financial and emotional strain of caregivers and their families, and perceived helpfulness of the programs and any unmet needs. This talk will discuss the challenges and rewards of transitioning from familiar research project approaches to the more flexible approaches required by rapid, partnered, client-based evaluation projects. Specific topics for discussion will be identifying appropriate control groups, data quality concerns, and communicating with nonresearchers about potential biases.