November is National Caregivers Month. So, in this post, I celebrate caregivers. If you are a caregiver, thank you for all you do. The call to be a caregiver can come at any age. Stats show us that most caregivers are adults, and most are women, but children and men also fill the void for people who need care. Caregiving is usually uncompensated and takes its toll on the caregiver, families, and the patient.
As a nurse, I always knew that caregivers were important. But it was not till I became a patient that I realized how much caregivers do. My husband was my caregiver in the early stages of my healthcare journey. As I could not care for myself, my husband was there to be my voice, listen, and share information with healthcare professionals, family, and friends. He also made decisions on my behalf because I could not. He helped me stay safe and helped me with basic things that I could not do. He helped me recover from a severe and complex medical issue, which I will be eternally grateful for. So yes, today, we thank Caregivers.
In honor of caregivers, I wanted to share a new project I am working on with a colleague, Judith Sands. We were talking one day and found that we shared a common passion. As Nurses who have had our own challenges, we know how important it is for consumers (YOU and ME) to take an active role in our health and healthcare. With the healthcare system being fragmented, complex, costly, and at times unsafe and even unfriendly, everyone needs to be educated and empowered to use their voice to ensure they get “safe, quality, cost-effective care when they need it, in the least restrictive environment for the most cost-effective price.” This is a mantra that I have believed in since becoming a case manager in 1988 – but I did not fully appreciate it till I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014 and found out for myself, how complex the healthcare system was.
So, what started as a conversation between two nurses has blossomed into a project to educate consumers on how to become their own best advocate when they are thrust into the complex healthcare system.
The project is titled The Judith and Anne Show! The program covers a variety of topics all can relate to. We aim to provide insight and resources people can use to advocate for themselves. We post a new podcast every few weeks. You can find them on Facebook or LinkedIn under the Judith and Anne Show.
I hope you will take the time to listen to them and share them with your family and friends. We am anxious for your comments and ideas for future podcasts. Put a comment in the comment section or email me at [email protected]
- The Judith and Anne Show: Caregiver Support
- National Alliance for Caregiver
- American Association of Caregiving Youth
Have a good week!