Promising Results Prompt Johnson & Johnson to Fund Expansion of the Rosalynn Carter Caregiving Institute Military Caregiver Program to CA, NC and VA

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Operation Family Caregiver, which helps the families of returning service members, is reducing depression and improving satisfaction with life among military caregivers. The program, which currently helps families in seven locations, will add three new sites in 2015.

“Caregivers play a critical role when service members return home. We are proud to partner with RCI and inspired by the life-changing differences they make for so many families,” said Sharon K. D’Agostino, VP Corporate Citizenship at J&J.

A program that aims to help the caregivers of returning service members and veterans is showing signs of success. Johnson & Johnson, which has supported the Rosalynn Carter Institute’s (RCI) caregiving programs for many years, will support the program’s expansion to three new sites this year.

Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), RCI’s signature military caregiver program, provides one-on-one support and training for caregivers of newly returning service members and veterans with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, and/or physical disability. Caregivers who have completed the program in its early implementations report being more satisfied with life, accompanied by measurable progress in areas such as:

  • Reduced depression
  • Fewer health complaints
  • Greater confidence in solving their own problems
  • Increased ability to take care of their families

“Operation Family Caregiver provides me the tools to identify stress, create options for solutions, and provides support which allows me to solve problems,” said Crystal, an OFC participant, whose husband began showing signs of post-traumatic stress after returning from Iraq. “With the constant moves and frequent deployments that come with the military lifestyle, these tools allow me to maintain a positive attitude while caregiving.”

OFC launched in 2012 with catalytic funding from Johnson & Johnson. The health care company’s latest grant will support new program sites in three areas of the country with high concentrations of military families – North Carolina, Virginia, and a second location in California – growing the program to 10 sites in just four years.

OFC was piloted in Johnstown, Pa., and has expanded rapidly. While the program can be delivered anywhere in the United States via Skype, caregivers can receive support in person in San Diego, Calif.; Killeen, Texas (Fort Hood); Buffalo, N.Y.; Houston, Texas; Augusta, Ga.; and Tallahassee, Fla., in addition to the original location in Pennsylvania. In each location the program is managed by a local organization. RCI plans to continue adding new locations where there is a need and would welcome additional funding partners.

“Caregivers play a critical role when service members return home. We are proud to partner with RCI and inspired by the life-changing differences they make for so many families,” said Sharon K. D’Agostino, vice president, Corporate Citizenship at Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson has partnered with RCI for nearly 15 years, supporting the Institute’s efforts to provide evidence-based programs that can ensure the health, skills, and well-being of the vitally important family and informal caregivers. During this time, RCI has emerged as the preeminent training center for caregivers. Its most recent grant of $990,000 will fund the RCI Training Center for Excellence, as well as implementation sites for OFC and for RCI REACH, which supports caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

”Georgia Southwestern State University is grateful for the long-term support provided by Johnson & Johnson,” said Charles Patterson, PhD, Interim President at Georgia Southwestern University, which houses RCI. “This collaboration allows the RCI to help implement critically important evidence-based caregiver programs to better meet the needs of family caregivers in their own communities.”

RCI’s Executive Director Dr. Leisa Easom said, “This collaboration with Johnson & Johnson allows the RCI to help implement critically important evidence-based caregiver programs to better meet the needs of family caregivers in their own communities.”

About the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving

Located in Americus, Ga., the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving is a division of Georgia Southwestern State University. RCI was established in 1987 in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a GSW alumna who serves as president of the Institute's Board of Advisors. RCI supports caregivers – both family and professional – through advocacy, education, research, and service. It establishes local, state, national, and international partnerships committed to building quality, long-term, home and community-based services.

For additional information about the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving or the REACH program, visit http://www.rosalynncarter.org. For more information about Operation Family Caregiver, visit http://www.operationfamilycaregiver.org.

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Ellen Hartman

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