Camarillo, CA, November 8, 2017--The Camarillo Health Care District’s Wellness & Caregiver Center of Ventura County (Caregiver Center) is the national winner of the prestigious 2017 Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award. The Caregiver Center was selected as this year’s winner for its outstanding community work in public awareness, evidence-based programming, and advocacy on behalf of caregivers. Former First Lady Mrs. Carter presented the award, which has become known as the nation’s highest award given in the caregiving field, at the 30th Anniversary of the Rosalynn Carter Institute (RCI) Summit and Gala Awards in Georgia; the Institute is embedded on the campus of Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, Georgia. As a reflection of the award’s prestige, the statuette given to recipients is executed by the renowned sculptor Frank Eliscu, designer of the Heisman Trophy.
Several years ago, the RCI received funding from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to train and certify 20 sites around the country, in the evidence-based RCI REACH intervention. To become a trained site and provider of the REACH intervention, agencies needed to succeed through an application process involving an assessment of the agency’s readiness, including data management ability, budgeting plans, ability to reach and recruitment caregivers, and history of providing evidence-based programs, among other criteria. The Camarillo Health Care District was selected and is the only provider in the State of California; there were more than 200 applicants nationwide.
“Family caregivers are the backbone of the long term care system in the United States”, says Kara Ralston, chief executive officer of the Camarillo Health Care District, “and are the sustaining force for frail, older, and disabled older adults.”
“It is essential for family caregivers to recognize that what they are doing is caregiving, and to identify as a caregiver”, says Ralston. “The benefit from resources, education, training and services is life-changing.”
The Caregiver Center is intentionally designed as a comprehensive resource for caregivers, providing access to education, training, and support, and engaging the caregiver in a dignified and respectful setting. In addition to the award-winning RCI REACH program, the Center offers a broad variety of evidence-based educational programs such as, Stanford University School of Medicine’s Chronic Disease, Diabetes, and Pain Self-Management, Boston University’s Matter of Balance, Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease, among others. The Center also offers consultation with licensed social workers, a resource library tailored to material on caregiving and chronic disease, support groups, one-on-one coaching programs, and evidence-based classes for building caregiving skills and enhancing resource awareness.
The RCI REACH (Resources Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health) program is an evidence-based program providing education, a focus on safety for the patient, support for the caregiver, and skills building to help caregivers manage difficult patient behaviors and decrease their own stress. RCI REACH is an in-home, tailored, caregiver support intervention consisting of 12 individual sessions in the home and by telephone, with the objectives to improve overall caregiver health and depression, reduce feelings of burden from caregiving, improve caregiver management of troubling behaviors of the care recipient, and to delay institutionalization.
“To receive national recognition for this work to which we are deeply committed is both humbling and invigorating”, says Ralston. “The magnitude of Mrs. Carter’s vision 30 years ago and what it means for Ventura County’s health care district, and the magnitude of the hope it brings to families and generations of families is breathtaking”, says Ralston.
For more information about the Wellness & Caregiver Center of Ventura County, please call (800) 900-8582.