Case Studies

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – CG ASSIST Program

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – CG ASSIST Program

The Caregiver Assessment of Skill Sets and Individualized Support through Training (CG ASSIST) Program focuses on evaluating and assisting older Veterans with transfer impairments by delivering an in-home training program for dyads designed to teach Veterans how to safely, skillfully, & independently perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL) involving transfers to the extent feasible. Through a collaborative effort between the Atlanta VA Medical Center Rehabilitation Research & Development Center, Emory University’s Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation (CVNR), and the Georgia Institute of Technology Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA), CG ASSIST Occupational Therapists (OTs) conduct remote evaluations of Veterans performing ADL functions while evaluating the feasibility of installing and utilizing assistive technology devices to assist the Veteran. Research assistants also conduct home visits with the dyads to evaluate the effects of the program on Veteran and caregiver quality of life measures using multiple, clinically-validated survey instruments.

From July 2014 through August 2016, Govsphere supported the CG ASSIST program through the deployment of VITAL Telehealth tablets with embedded 4G LTE cellular connectivity and the VITAL Medical Video (MeVi) software application to deliver secure, encrypted, video connectivity between OTs located at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Emory University, and Georgia Tech, and Veterans participating within their in-home environment. Specifically, the VITAL Telehealth platform was used by the OTs to conduct remote evaluations of Veterans while recommending, providing, and installing assistive technology devices such as grab bars, bed rails, and toileting aids as needed. Research assistants also conducted home visits with the dyads pre and post intervention to determine the effects of the program on Veteran and caregiver quality of life measures (burden, depression, task efficacy, life space) through the use of the VITAL Telehealth platform.

Overall, a total of 126 Veterans were enrolled in the CG ASSIST program during the study period during which a total of 874 secure video calls were conducted with a total duration of 27,968 minutes of transmitted video. The mean video call duration was approximately 32 minutes in duration with the longest video call lasting 78 minutes (1 hour and 18 minutes). All video calls were conducted using 4G LTE mobile broadband connectivity with a default transmission rate of 256Kbps.

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