Development & Pilot Evaluation of an Online Peer Support Program for Family Caregivers of Ventilator-Assisted Individuals Living in the Community

Ventilator assisted individuals (VAIs) living at home are frail and generally cannot perform most daily activities. This is similarly the case for the palliative population of those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Although these individuals prefer to live and die at home, the family members who care for them often experience stress and poor health. Peer support can mitigate health declines by decreasing caregivers’ isolation/stress and increasing their sense of control. However, no peer support programs are designed to meet these caregivers’ complex and unique needs. Online support delivery is especially beneficial for caregivers given the geographic and time limitations they face. The proposed research aims to develop and evaluate an online peer support program for VAI and ALS caregivers. Caregivers will be asked about the online delivery of the program, how helpful/satisfactory it was, and if it affected their health and well-being. Differences in the needs and experiences of the palliative and non-palliative caregivers will also be explored. This peer support program can improve the well-being of caregivers and allow them to better care for their family members. TO BE CONT’D

Faculty Supervisor:

Louise Rose


Marina Wasilewski


University of Toronto




Medical devices




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