Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Training Needed for Caregivers Is Lacking

Family caregivers and home health care professionals (collectively referred to in this article as “caregivers”) provide in-home care for family members or others who are chronically ill, disabled or elderly. Their goal is to help their loved ones or clients remain in their homes as long as possible, or in residential facilities rather than long-term care institutions.

Most caregivers typically have a genuine desire to help people, along with lots of patience and compassion. The job is often physically demanding and emotionally taxing.  Given all the complicated medical issues and day to day tasks, is there training available for caregivers?

Training can provide fresh ideas and new solutions, but according to a recent NY Times New Old Age blog article, sufficient training for caregivers is lacking. Susan Reinhard, senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, said there is "a huge gap," referring to an absence of available training in demanding caregiving tasks. Training that exists through local Agencies on Aging deals mostly with "activities of daily living", such as helping someone bathe, dress, eat, or use the bathroom -- not the demands of nursing-style care, Ms.Reinhard observed. That leaves the burden on caregivers to be assertive and ask for help or find out what training exists in their area.

These are some available caregiver training options:
The NY Times article suggests that the best way for caregivers to learn caregiving techniques is to ask a professional for help. Experts suggest that no videos or written manuals can substitute for one-on-one, hands-on instruction. If your loved one or client is in the hospital, make sure care instructions are clearly explained to you before discharge. If you don't get them to your satisfaction, don't sign the form that says you have been given instructions on what to do. The hospital is legally obligated to ensure that discharges are safe, and this operates in a caregiver's favor. The same goes for the pharmacy: don't sign that sheet that the pharmacist hands you indicating that you have been adequately informed about the medications you are purchasing if you haven’t been.

Caregiving can be rewarding, but it can also physically and emotionally demanding. The Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr advises that if you are a caregiver, don’t let your own needs or health take a back seat.  Many caregivers are at the age when they are developing their own chronic issues. Be sure to take good care of the person you are caring for and yourself too! Part of doing so is planning for your future and for your loved one's future. Call the Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

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