Forging Partnerships Between Family and Professional Caregivers

The talk, from a caregiver to professionals, makes the point that family caregivers are an essential part of the health care system. Cooperation between them and health care providers is required if the patient is to receive optimal care.

The needs of caregivers are explained, along with suggestions of ways in which professionals can assist us to do our job. (“I need information. You professionals don’t have to do it all yourselves, but you can direct me to the appropriate resources.”) Examples of good interaction (“the social worker who got the necessary papers moving through the system”) and bad interaction (“the social worker from hell”) are provided. The stories strike home with the audience.

But as a caregiver, I also have obligations. Among them:

- I need to be sensitive to the pressures under which many professionals labor;
- I need to respect the cultural diversity of the professional staff;
- I need to remember that my parent (or spouse or uncle or cherished neighbor) is not the only patient being seen.

This workshop has been well received by professional audiences across the country.

“Thank you for speaking to our home care professionals. We have been attempting to raise the level of understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease in the community. When we have speakers who are as knowledgeable, personable, and articulate on the subject as you, it makes it easy to carry out this objective."

--Robert E. Lee, Jr., Director, Arden Courts, Roanoke, VA.