New Online Course on Caregiver Stress at HealthForumOnline

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HealthForumOnline (HFO) adds a new online continuing education (CE) course, The Many Faces of Caregiver Stress, to their library of courses for mental health professionals and allied healthcare providers. This online CE course enables mental health clinicians to better identify different types of caregiver burden, assess caregiver stress and apply evidence-based psychosocial interventions to this important population.

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The caregiving situation may be an unrelenting chronic stressor that negatively impacts immune function, physical health, and leads to symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as a sub-standard, quality of life.

HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC) provider of convenient, cost-effective online continuing education (CE) for counselors, psychologists, social workers and allied healthcare providers is pleased to announce a new CE course entitled, The Many Faces of Caregiver Stress, to its extensive library of online CE courses for mental health professionals.

HFO’s new online CE course on caregiver burden is timely as approximately 18% of the U.S. adult population will spend an average of 20 hours a week being a caregiver – defined as someone who provides unpaid care to an adult or child with special needs (1). Moreover, the demand for family caregivers is projected to rise by 85% due to shorter hospital admissions, changes in insurance reimbursement, limited hospital discharge planning, an increase in home care technology and an aging U.S. population (2). By 2030, one in five adults will be 65 years or older and will be living at home with chronic conditions or disabilities, potentially placing a higher obligation on a family member to provide care (2). Informal caregivers often allow care recipients to use fewer or no formal health-related resources, remain in their home/community and possibly, avoid institutionalization.

Caregiving occurs at every phase along the life span and is a multi-faceted, complex process involving a diverse tasks from providing personal care and advocating with health care professionals, to administering difficult medical/nursing tasks. However, most caregivers are ill prepared to manage the overwhelming responsibilities and have very little experience or training. Many have no choice in taking on this role. Not surprisingly, although caregiving can bring personal fulfillment, caregiving can also be associated with physical, psychological and financial burden (e.g., 2,3). Moreover, it is not uncommon for the significance of the caregiver role, as well as the strain and compromised health that frequently parallels this role, to be minimized and/or overlooked by the care recipient, other family members and health professionals as there is typically little or no routine assessment of caregiver well-being (1).

Thus, the caregiving situation may be an unrelenting chronic stressor that negatively impacts immune function, physical health, and leads to symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as a sub-standard, quality of life (e.g., 2,3). Paradoxically, caregivers incapable of taking care of themselves who personally experience these negative health-related consequences are less able to provide care to another. In fact, care recipients may be at increased risk for caregiver abuse when caregivers experience ill health, depression, and distress. Since informal, unpaid caregivers are a critical link in the continuum of care, better efforts must be taken to identify their needs and provide them with a range of support services to optimize their caregiving skills, protect their own health, and maintain their multi-faceted caregiving role.

Mental health providers can play a pivotal role in alleviating the negative impact of the caregiver role. Toward that goal, this online course will guide mental health professionals to better identify the potential psychological and physical sequelae associated with caregiving, with a focus on the different types of caregivers. In addition, the formal assessment of caregiver stress will be discussed and evidence-based psychosocial interventions for this important and growing population are provided.

Mental health professionals can chose from HFO’s over 20 categories of continuing education (CE) topics related to psychology and behavioral medicine, including other CE courses related to caregiver stress in our Caregiver Category. For a complete listing of our convenient and cost-effective online CE courses, visit

1.    National Alliance for Caregiving (2015). Caregiving in the U.S. Executive summary. NAC and AARP Public Policy Institute. Retrieved from
2.    Collins, L.G., & Swartz, K. (2011). Caregiver care. American Family Physicians, 83(11), 1309-1317.
3.    Do, E.K., Cohen, S.A., & Brown, M.J. (2014). Socioeconomic and demographic factors modify the association between informal caregiving and health in the sandwich generation. BMC Public Health, 14, 362-374.

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Michelle Rodoletz, Ph.D.
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