Better, Safer Care Through Clear Communication (BeST)
(Stage 1 Research Project)

BeST is a project that promotes health communication skills in caregivers of older adults.  It involves a program called CareTalks - an intervention to improve patient-initiated patient-provider communication.



Green County, along with several other Wisconsin counties, identified health literacy as a common concern among the older adults in their communities, especially caregivers.  There were no community health interventions being done that could address this need.  At the same time, our University of Wisconsin-Madison academic partners (including an expert in health literacy) expressed interest in making an impact in our communities on this issue.  CAARN then matched UW-Madison researchers with the Aging & Disability Resource Center in Green County and facilitated the partnership and idea-formulation for developing a health communications intervention for caregivers in Wisconsin.



The intervention is a workshop consisting of 8‐10 caregivers at three weekly sessions of 90 minutes each, a “booster” fourth session about one month later, and a follow-up telephone evaluation one month after the fourth session. Free respite care will be provided to encourage participation. Prior to the first workshop, information will be sent to subjects including a request for them to think about their top two issues they would like to address with a health care provider. This information will be collected during the first session and used to shape the subsequent session content and format. The educational program will be a combination of didactic and skill-building exercises to include problem solving and role‐playing.


Research process:

Stage 1: Development and pilot testing of intervention.
Funding: UW-Madison Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
Community Partner:
Aging & Disability Resource Center - Green County


Stage 2: Gather additional data and develop and implement leader manuals and a leader training mechanism.  Will seek additional funding and add additional community partners. 


Stage 3: Randomized-Control Trial through federal funding sources.  Further additional community partners will be involved. 


Stage 4: Ready for statewide (and future nationwide) dissemination through the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging.



Shannon Myers
Community Research Specialist
Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging
(608) 852-0813