You would think being a professional caregiver prepares you for becoming a personal caregiver for a parent. In some ways this is true. But if you don’t have a strong support system from the professional caregivers around you, you can find yourself floundering. And beating yourself up about it.
Connie Gropler was an RN with nearly 2 decades of experience, when she became a caregiver for her Dad and a support system to her Mom and the rest of her family. As her Dad began to deteriorate physically, she found herself lacking that support system from the medical community caring for her Dad. She doesn’t blame them, rather, she feels that the system is broken. That there are not enough resources to support THEM. And I don’t disagree.This is one of the many issues a family caregiver can face.
Another issue is the “hospice talk”. It is important to understand that requesting a hospice evaluation doesn’t have to mean death is imminent. The majority of patients are enrolled in hospice for 7 days or less, but services are available for 6 months, and that can be a rolling figure. Hospice can provide resources to provide comfort and quality for both patient and caregivers, that can be otherwise extremely difficult to acquire.
Until we makes some changes in the way the medical community addresses end fo life discussions and care options, we need to become advocates for our loved ones and ourselves. How can you do this when you are faced with becoming a family caregiver?
- Ask for help
- Be proactive–ask about alternatives to treatment options offered (think Palliative care and hospice evaluations)
- Call hospice yourself!
- Be aware that if you use FMLA to take an LOA to care for a loved one, you will need their physicians attestation and signature on these forms for your employer. It’s one of those little things that can put you over the edge!
Check out the good work Connie is doing at Nurse Pollinators.com