Doctors should be recognizing the role of family caregivers
In January of 2010 the American College of Physicians (ACP) published a position paper which recognized the pivotal role family caregivers play in the health and welfare of millions of those with chronic illness such as Alzheimer's. The National Family Caregivers Association posted the main points and recommendations in their Spring 2010 newsletter of TAKE CARE! They are:
"The physician should strive to ensure that the patient, family caregiver and other family members have a common, accurate understanding of the patient's condition and prognosis"
"Physicians should routinely validate the family caregiver's role and be sensitive to specific commitments the caregiver may have made regarding how her or she will manage the patient's care."
"Physicians should develop care plans that are patient-specific and caregiver-specific and provide information, training and referrals to support those plans."
"The physician should be alert for signs of distress in the family caregiver and suggest appropriate referrals."
"Physicians should recognize that geographically distant caregivers may face unique challenges."
"The physician should define a palliative care plan that focuses on maximizing patient and caregiver quality of life."
Wow is this exciting or what! Family caregivers can be a huge asset for doctors and hospitals who see their patients returning to their offices or hospitals for issues that could have been prevented with a little thought and effort. We just need to give these family members a little bit of help and understanding to get huge results. Because I am in the elder care business I know what and how to get services for my mother but what do all those millions of caregivers who are totally unprepared do? I will say that I take charge in my own life and health and have never had a problem talking to or getting what I need from a doctor and if I don't I keep looking for one that will help. Most stressed out caregivers won't. They don't have the strength or will to do what it takes to get answers and many of these caregivers are usually elderly women caring for even older husbands. They need their children or someone they trust to step in a say "hey what does that mean and how will this affect everyone concerned?" What has been your experience with doctors? Have you as a family member been treated badly or have you had great experiences with your doctor and his office? If you are interested in getting a list of resources that where published online at the ACP website Click Here
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