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Family Caregiving

Dr. Kniepmann mentors students interested in Family Caregiving, an important public health challenge for a growing portion of the population here and worldwide. Appropriately assisting or guiding a relative who had a stroke can support successful life at home and social participation. For family caregivers, this can be rewarding and fulfilling. It can also create difficulties that undermine health and quality of life. Many caregivers report a combination of positive and negative effects; they may neglect their own needs as they focus on their relative. Caregivers are often confused about the effects of stroke on everyday life and unsure how to balance assistance with encouragement for the relative to do some things on their own.

General Description of Student Activities

Students will review and critique literature, policies and resources to formulate research questions and concerns. They will be guided in the development of resources to support health promotion and self-management for family caregivers, including evaluation of effectiveness. Students may also have the opportunity to develop educational programs for clinicians. Attention also will be given to health inequities and underserved populations with a public health approach. Students are expected to contribute to publishable manuscripts, educational materials and/or presentations for local, regional and national venues.

Examples of Projects

  • Investigate how living with and helping relatives with a stroke can influence participation and quality of life for primary family caregivers and other family members
  • Identify information-seeking behaviors of family caregivers:
    • What knowledge and skills do they want?
    • How do they try to acquire the information or develop skills?
    • What do they find?
    • How do they rate its usefulness?
  • Develop self-management and health promotion resources to support effective, sustainable family caregiving and caregiver health
  • Construct educational resources for families with stroke and evaluate effectiveness, including effects on reducing the risk of readmission. Identify strategies to tailor such resources to address health inequities
  • Develop workshops or other educational resources for clinicians who work with families of individuals who have had stroke/s


Kathy Kniepmann, OTD, MPH, EdM, OTR/L
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Neurology
Phone: 314-286-1610

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