Double-Duty Family Caregivers

February 16, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Dr Catherine Ward-Griffin is a Professor of the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at the University of Western Ontario. Judith Phillips is Professor of Gerontology and Social Work in the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea University, Wales. They discuss family caregiving, in which both of them have done extensive research, when the family caregiver is also a woman, often a nurse, employed in healthcare. They call this double-duty caregiving. They describe the types of care double-duty caregivers provide, who they provide it to, what it involves, and what challenges it creates for the double-duty family caregivers. They discuss the challenges to for the double-duty caregivers themselves--to their health, to their quality of life, to their finances: what support is needed and given? They examine the impact on the healthcare system of double-duty caregiving, and tell us about improvements they want in government policy for better support for double-duty caregivers.

Family Caregivers Unite!

Family Caregivers Unite!

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Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.

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Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.

Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.

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