Research on Mindfulness for Caregivers Published in Home Care Journal

 SEIU 775 Benefits Group’s research on mindfulness-based interventions for caregivers was recently published in the journal, Home Health Care Services Quarterly. The study was influential in the development of our own mindfulness course series for caregivers, Tools for Calm

Mindfulness-based interventions are practices and treatments that promote awareness, acceptance and non-judgement of thoughts, feelings and sensations. Research has demonstrated their positive impact on emotional wellness for many populations. 

“We’re excited for this study to contribute to research-informed practices to support the emotional wellness of caregivers and others in high-stress professions.” – Sahar Banijamali, Director of Research Insights & Innovation

The study fills a critical knowledge gap about the effectiveness of mind-body  interventions for caregivers. Given the high-levels of stress and burnout among this profession, it aimed to compare the impact and implementation feasibility of two interventions: Mindful Awareness Practices (meditation) and Korean-style Tai Chi. 

“In an effort to better support caregivers, we wanted to understand if they would be interested in participating in classes focused on mind-body interventions. We wanted to know if these interventions would help them improve their stress and behavioral health outcomes – and if they’d be able to keep up these new skills after the classes ended,” said Sahar Banijamali, Director of Research Insights and Innovation at SEIU 775 Benefits Group. 

Caregivers in Washington state were recruited and randomly assigned to 1 of the 2 six-week interventions, and impact and feasibility was measured. The study’s 3 major findings were: 

  • Meditation and Tai Chi correlated with improvements in wellness outcomes for caregivers: After 6 weeks, caregivers in both interventions showed statistically significant improvements in anxiety, depression, perceived stress, insomnia and sleep quality. 
  • Meditation was rated by caregivers as easier to implement into daily life: Caregivers in the meditation intervention rated the practice as more practical to implement into their routine than caregivers in the Tai Chi intervention. Following the intervention, participants in the meditation group continued the practice on their own at notably higher rates than the Tai Chi group. 
  • The interventions led to a sustained positive impact over time for caregivers, especially for meditation: At the 3-month post-intervention measurement, both groups showed ongoing declines in negative emotions and self-image, with the meditation group showing a more steady decline. 

The study, led by Banijamali and former Senior Program Manager, Al Hansell, was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles. Findings from the study were vital to the development of SEIU 775 Benefits Group’s Tools for Calm course. 

Our initial online course pilots, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts’ Memorial Health Center for Mindfulness, showed notable reductions in scores for insomnia severity, depression and anxiety that were sustained up to three-months after the class sessions had ended. As a result of the early success of these pilots, SEIU 775 Benefits Group developed a 6-week, 6-hour mindfulness class teaching mindfulness practices that caregivers can apply in their lives and work. This instructor-led course is now offered online for caregivers multiple times each year. 

“This research has been crucial to the development of our current mindfulness course for caregivers which has shown incredibly positive results,” said Banijamali. “We’re excited for this study to contribute to research-informed practices to support the emotional wellness of caregivers and others in high-stress professions.”

To receive a copy of the full study, email