OFC Expands to Three New Sites

J&J Funds Expansion of OFC

Military Caregiver Program Reduces Depression and Improves Satisfaction with Life; Will Grow To Three New Locations in 2015

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015–-AMERICUS, GA –- A program that aims to help the caregivers of returning service members and veterans is showing signs of success. Johnson & Johnson, which has supported the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving‘s (RCI) programs for many years, will support the program’s expansion to three new sites this year.

Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), RCI’s signature military caregiver program, provides one-on-one support and training for caregivers of newly returning service members and veterans with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, and/or physical disability. Caregivers who have completed the program in its early implementations report being more satisfied with life, accompanied by measurable progress in areas such as:

  • Reduced depression
  • Fewer health complaints
  • Increased ability to take care of their families
  • Greater confidence in solving their own problems

“Operation Family Caregiver provides me the tools to identify stress, create options for solutions, and provides support which allows me to solve problems,” said Crystal, whose husband began showing signs of post-traumatic stress after returning from Iraq. “With the constant moves and frequent deployments that come with the military lifestyle, these tools allow me to maintain a positive attitude while caregiving.”

OFC launched in 2012 with catalytic funding from Johnson & Johnson. The health care company’s latest grant will support new program sites in three areas of the country with high concentrations of military families – North Carolina, Virginia, and a second location in California – growing the program to 10 sites in just 4 years.

OFC was piloted in Johnstown, Pa., and has expanded rapidly. While the program can be delivered anywhere in the United States via Skype, caregivers can receive support in person in San Diego, Calif.; Killeen, Texas (Fort Hood); Buffalo, N.Y.; Houston, Texas; Augusta, Ga.; and Tallahassee, Fla., in addition to the original location in Pennsylvania. In each location the program is managed by a local organization. RCI plans to continue adding new locations where there is a need and would welcome additional funding partners.

“Caregivers play a critical role when service members return home. We are proud to partner with RCI and inspired by the life-changing differences they make for so many families,” said Sharon K. D’Agostino, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship at Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson has partnered with RCI for nearly 15 years, supporting the Institute’s efforts to provide evidence-based programs that can ensure the health, skills, and well-being of the vitally important family and informal caregivers. During this time, RCI has emerged as the preeminent training center for caregivers. Its most recent grant of $990,000 will fund the RCI Training Center for Excellence, as well as implementation sites for OFC and for RCI REACH, which supports caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Georgia Southwestern State University is grateful for the long-term support provided by Johnson & Johnson,” said Charles Patterson, PhD, Interim President at Georgia Southwestern University, which houses RCI. “This collaboration allows the RCI to help implement critically important evidence-based caregiver programs to better meet the needs of family caregivers in their own communities.” RCI’s executive director Dr. Leisa Easom continued, “We are so pleased to be able to expand this program and ensure that more families can receive support.”