Hopefully you know by now, that November is National Family Caregivers’ Month. It’s an entire month devoted to the celebration of those who provide care for family members every day.
Do you know how many of your patients are family caregivers? You should, and they should be monitored closely for signs of compassion fatigue and burnout, because without them our entire long-term care system would collapse! You read it right; our long-term care system would actually collapse.
The latest figure posted by the National Association of Family Caregivers is that family caregivers now provide $577 billion in uncompensated medical care on an annual basis. Yes, it’s a staggering figure.
The ACA has 17 provisions for family caregivers in its text. Do you know what they are? More importantly have the medical facilities at which you have privileges implemented them according to the timeline? Healthcare has changed and it is necessary for us to stay ahead of the curve in order to provide basic medical needs
The Caregiver Action Network now claims that there are 90 million family caregivers in the US; another sobering figure. Without proper care, overwhelmed family caregivers end up in emergency rooms with illnesses that could have been avoided for the most part.
Take care of our caregivers. Acknowledge their contribution to society. Urge them to identify as a caregiver and seek support where it is needed.
Please, take a moment to consider the impact of the family caregiver:
- Collectively, they are a force to be reckoned with.
- Without them and the care they provide, their loved ones (also your patients) would, for all practical purposes, have a much depreciated quality of life.
- By virtue of being a family caregiver, they are showing others that age and illness are part of life and as such require compassion, kindness and respect.
- They make delicious lemonade out of life’s lemons!
- And with an attitude of “taking your oxygen first” this could also be a special time of awareness, transformation and self-love in your life as well.
- They are your greatest supporters!
I’d like to send a special shout out to those of you who are professionals working in care occupations, as well as serve as family caregivers. You are the true heroes of this story. Without you we truly would be lost.
I challenge all MD’s, in honor of this month devoted to caregivers, realize that you are also and do one thing for yourself every day. You deserve it and you are worth it!
By Jamie Huysman, PsyD, LCSW