Caregiver program lands grant funding
Barbara J. Duryea, director of the Conemaugh Health System¿s Research and Development Neuroscience and Pain Institute/Diabetes Institute, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter. (Submitted photo / April 18, 2013)
In published interviews Carter said as the oldest of four children she helped her mother as a caregiver for her father who died when she was 13. The following year her grandfather came to live with the family and she helped care for him as well.
The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, part of the Georgia Southwestern State University, is the only national institute to integrate both professional and family caregiver issues in research, education and advocacy agendas. The Rosalynn Carter Institute partners with Johnson & Johnson to award grants to various organizations.
Previously the institute focused on organizations helping people who are caregivers for others who have Alzheimer's disease. Last year the institute decided to award a $150,000 grant to an organization that helps caregivers of service people injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. That award has been given to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center's Wounded Warrior Family Caregiver Program.
Barbara J. Duryea, director of the Conemaugh Health System's Research and Development Neuroscience and Pain Institute/Diabetes Institute, said she thinks the reason that the Wounded Warrior Family Caregiver Program was chosen is because Cambria and Somerset counties have done a wonderful job of rallying around returning soldiers.
"We've done work with the Defense Department in the past and I'm sure that helped, too," she said in a telephone interview. "And I'm sure that Congressman (John) Murtha is smiling down on us now."
The late congressman was a Marine during the Vietnam era and was dedicated to helping wounded service men and women and their families.
Leisa Eason, executive director of the institute, said in a written statement that the movement of research from clinical trials to community settings has great importance and impact on care giving families.
"The strength of the American health care system is keeping people at home," Duryea said. "We want to empower the caregiver with a problem-solving skill set of abilities and to give them the tools they need to reduce stress."
Many service members come home with physical disabilities, traumatic brain injury and combat stress. The free program will be brought to the caregivers in their homes for six months.
"The biggest challenge will be getting the word out," she said. "This is available for residents of Cambria and Somerset counties."
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Family Caregiver program call 814-269-5241.