Methods: The study was linked to a parent study that employed a multisite randomized design, in which researchers examined the impact of the Tailored Caregiver Assessment and Referral ® Protocol (TCARE®) on caregiver outcomes. For this study, the sample included 21 care managers who used the TCARE® protocol to serve 113 family members. Care managers completed a pilot questionnaire that included an inventory of items to assess practice skills and questions pertaining to the education and degrees of participants. Data pertaining to care plans and service use were obtained from forms that were completed for each caregiver. Bivariate correlational analyses were used to test the association between the three types of practice skills and type of degree held by the care manager with their abilities to compose viable care plans. Multilevel modeling techniques were used to test the relationship between the three types of practice skills and degree held by the care manager with caregivers' levels of compliance with recommended services.
Findings: Results of the correlational analyses revealed a significant association between the three practice skills and the creation of viable care plans. Communication skills and age of the care manager were positively linked with utilization of services by caregivers. No association was found between the type of degree held by the care manager with composition of care plans and service use by caregivers.
Conclusions and implications: These findings provide initial insights concerning the influence of practice skills within care management for family caregivers of older adults. This information is particularly important for community service provider organizations. Understanding the link between practice skills that facilitate effective care management puts provider organizations in a better position to train and hire qualified care managers. Additional implications of these findings with regard to practice and education are discussed.