More than 600,000 children in the United States live at home dependent on medical technology such as feeding tubes, oxygen, or ventilators to stay alive. Parents (most often mothers) provide their care, which requires constant monitoring, hard work, and focus that can be very stressful. Despite the significant stress parent caregivers of technology-dependent children face, few research studies have explored ways to reduce their stress.
Two research studies currently being conducted by Dr. Valerie Toly and her research team are exploring a stress-reduction method for parent caregivers of technology-dependent children called Resourcefulness Training© (Jaclene A. Zauszniewski, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, 1995). The goal of the intervention is to reduce stress and improve psychological and physical health outcomes over time by providing self-help and help-seeking skills.
Information gained from these studies will help researchers and clinicians to better understand the significance of the stress that parent caregivers of technology-dependent children experience and what strategies may help to reduce it. This information can be used in the future to improve the health outcomes of technology-dependent children and their parent caregivers.
Meet the Team!
Valerie Boebel Toly, PhD, RN, CPNP
Assistant Professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Dr. Toly is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. She is a nurse scientist interested in studying the health and well-being of parents caring for children dependent on lifesaving, medical technology such as mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes and supplemental oxygen at home. Her recent work investigates the effectiveness of a resourcefulness intervention that teaches parents self-help and help-seeking skills to promote parents’ physical and mental health as well as overall family functioning (ResourceTD Study) and health promotion behaviors such as sleep (Resourcefulness Intervention to Promote Self-Management) while they continue to provide vital care for these vulnerable children. Her work has been funded by the National Institute of Health/ National Institute of Nursing Research, Society of Pediatric Nurses, Sigma Theta Tau International-Nursing Honor Society, as well as other private foundations.
Project Manager: Sharon Cohen, BS, MA
Interventionist: Katie Russell
Sierra Clark, 216.239.3937
Marisa Fiala, 216.239.4946
Graduate Assistant: Sophie Shi
Research Study Projects
Does the Resourcefulness Training© intervention work? That's what this study seeks to test. Caregivers will be monitored during this study period to examine the impact of the intervention method over nine months.
Parent caregivers of technology-dependent children are often stressed from providing complex and demanding care for their child in the home. This study is one of the first to test ways of helping them manage this unique type of day-to-day stress while juggling their other family and household responsibilities.
Now closed to enrollment, the ReMIND Study compared the effectiveness of a two-part intervention to reduce stress in parent caregivers over six months.