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Duke University

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Duke University
Durham, N.C.
Number of Employees: 32,000+

Program: Duke Employee Elder Care Consultation Service
The Duke Employee Elder Care Consultation Service has been operating since 2000. Any Duke employee or family member of an employee is eligible for a free, confidential eldercare consultation at their convenience at the central Duke Medical campus location. Consultations are done face to face, by phone or by email, according to the preferences of the employee. Employees are contacted no later than 24 hours after they request a consultation. Two social workers staff the program and consultations are from 60 to 90 minutes in length with follow-up email information or telephone consultation as necessary or requested. The consultation service staff also facilitate three ongoing support groups open to employees and the community, and provide presentations for employee groups, as well as “lunch and learn” events. The consultation service is staffed and supported by the Duke Center for Aging — experts in geriatric social work, family caregiving and Alzheimer’s disease. The consultation service grew out of an increase in requests for eldercare assistance on the part of Duke employees and was started as a pilot project in 1999 on the recommendation of a work-family advisory council. Funding is through a fixed price annual contract with the HR department, guaranteeing employee access. In addition to the consultation service, the HR department offers an array of services to employees through their employee assistance program (EAP).

Marketing / Utilization
Ongoing marketing is conducted by the human resources department and the consultation service social workers. New employees learn about the service during orientation and articles about the consultation service are included in the employee newsletter. Users are self-referred by word-of-mouth from previous consultation users, referred to the program by managers, or through presentations to employee groups such as Speech Pathology and Audiology, Medicine Grand Rounds, or presentations to Duke EAP social workers. Utilization peaks after holidays but averages about 80 unduplicated families per year.

Surveys are distributed to users of the service two months after their consultation to assess satisfaction and outcomes of the service. These surveys are modeled after those used in the Duke EAP program.

Benefits to Employer
The employer benefits from the program as a result of those increasing number of Duke employees with eldercare responsibilities that have a reliable and high quality work-site service that assists them in decision-making and planning. The fixed price allocated to the program is also viewed by the HR professionals as a modest, efficient use of funds.

Other Program Information
The consultation social workers also receive funding (since 1984) from the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services as a one-stop clearinghouse, crisis hotline and technical assistance center for those caring for someone with memory disorders. The state contract pays for a free caregiver newsletter and updated packet of information developed by the consultation social workers and available to any North Carolina resident and thus to any Duke employee family. The newsletter, The Caregiver, is the oldest continuously published family caregiver newsletter in the U.S.