Place4Carers: a multi-method participatory study to co-design, piloting, and transferring a novel psycho-social service for engaging family caregivers in remote rural settings

Guendalina Graffigna, Eleonora Gheduzzi, Niccolo' Morelli, Serena Barello, Massimo Corbo, Valeria Ginex, Valeria Maria Ginex, Roberta Ferrari, Andrea Lascioli, Carolina Feriti, Cristina Masella

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Background: Family caregivers are key actors in the ageing society. They are mediators between practitioners and patients and usually provide also essential daily services for the elders. However, till now, few services have been deployed to help caregivers in their care tasks as in improving their mental health which can experience sever burden due to caregiving duties. The purpose of the study is to implement a community-based participatory research project to co-design an innovative organizational model of social services for family caregivers of elderly health consumers living in remote rural areas in Italy. Methods: This is a community-based participatory research project in the remote area of Vallecamonica involving four main phases. These included a quantitative analysis of caregiver needs, a scoping review on existing services for caregivers, co-design workshops with local stakeholders and caregivers to create a novel service the piloting and a first implementation of the service and the assessment of project transferability to other contexts. Results: As the hours dedicated to elder care increases, both objective and developmental caregiver’s burden significantly increases. Conversely, higher levels of engagement were associated with lower physical and emotional burden, and caregiver engagement was positively correlated with their perceived self-efficacy in managing disruptive patient behaviours. Based on these preliminary results, four co-design workshops with caregivers were conducted and led to the definition of the SOS caregivers service, built on four pillars structured upon the previous need analysis: a citizens’ management board, training courses, peer-to-peer meetings, and project and service information. We found that co-design is an effective means of creating new services for family caregivers, whose experiential knowledge proved to be a key resource for the project team in delivering and managing services. Less positively, the transferability analysis indicated that local municipalities remain reluctant to acknowledge caregivers’ pivotal role. Conclusions: A dedicated support service for caregivers can ameliorate caregiving conditions and engagement levels. The service has resulted a successful co-productive initiative for a psycho-social intervention for family caregivers. For the future, we suggest that family caregiver should be considered an active partner in the process of designing novel psycho-social services and not just as recipients to enhance a better aging-in-place process.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-17
Numero di pagine17
RivistaBMC Health Services Research
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Active healthy ageing
  • Aged
  • Caregiver burden
  • Caregivers
  • Co-design
  • Co-production
  • Hard to reach populations
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Italy
  • Participatory action research
  • Patient engagement
  • Rural Population
  • Rural setting
  • Social Work


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