Development and evaluation of the 90-minute group
Despite the high level of need, which may exceed that of patients, the provision of services for carers is at best patchy and unevaluated. Dr Richard Harding, Alison Pearce and Professor Irene Higginson’s original programme of research has made a significant contribution to the field of informal care research using the MRC Framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions.
Our outputs from a collaboration of Camden and Islington palliative care service and St. Christopher’s Hospice home care, have:
- Systematically reviewed the current evidence for specific models of support for carers (Harding and Higginson 2003)
- Using a qualitative methodology, explored the barriers that carers create and perceive in meeting their own needs, defining a previously unrecognised concept of ambivalence (Harding and Higginson 2001). Using these results we have proposed a set of service guidelines for effective support
- Designed an original intervention formulated for the research evidence, the “90-minute group" – avoiding the use of the terms “support” and “carer” and emphasising the short amount of time (Harding, Leam, Pearce et al. 2002)
- Evaluated the intervention comparing in two clusters carers attending the group with those not in attendance. Our findings identified the nature of individuals who find a group most beneficial and make recommendations with respect to design, content, delivery, uptake, and evaluation methods
- Reported subsequent analysis of the impact of patient status on carer psychological status and made recommendations on delivering balanced provision for both.
Following roll-out of the "90 Minute Group" evaluation, further studies have addressed assessment procedures, the provision of welfare rights advice, and comparing outcomes across disease groupings.