Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Retired folks helping caregivers at a New York hospital.

(picture from Yahoo News)
A hospital in New York has started training retirees to help support caregivers whose family member is hospitalized. Caregivers can be overwhelmed in any situation but when a loved one is in the hospital and you can't get information or don't know who to turn to for help, it can be too much. So Montefiore Caregiver Support Center trains retirees to listen, show support, show family members where to get information, etc. They are not there to take the place of a social worker or nurse. They are there for support - even if it is only to find a quiet place for the caregiver to sit. All in all, the program wants caregivers to be better prepared for when the loved one goes home as well as better rested and reassured in their resources. In this program they are called volunteer coaches who "with no background in health care undergo training to support caregivers in hopes that families will let their guard down with a peer. They make daily rounds through Montefiore's waiting rooms and nursing stations to offer the services of the support center, where families can talk with a coach or a social worker, research caregiver resources online, or just relax in a quiet room. Montefiore put its 21 volunteers through a training course that stresses those boundaries, teaches nonjudgmental listening and lets them role-play difficult situations. The support services don't expire when the patient goes home (from Randi Kaplan, social worker). Caregivers still can call or come in indefinitely, but there are no home visits." While the article states that there are no statistics to see if this helps, they are working on an 'pilot study' on whether chemo patients stick better to their program when their caregiver is coached in providing support. All in all, a good program for any medical center as far as I am concerned.

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