MedicAlert and Family Caregiving

March 2, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Ramesh Srinivasan and Robert Ridge are, respectively, Senior Vice President of the US MedicAlert Foundation and President and CEO of the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation. In MedicAlert and Family Caregiving, they explain the services that MedicAlert provides and how these help family caregivers as well as the persons who receive care from family caregivers. They discuss the types of medical and personal emergencies that MedicAlert focuses on, the way these occur, and the challenges these bring to family caregivers. Of these challenges, they talk about those that arise in connection with medical conditions for which there is no cure and which progressively undermine the health and wellbeing of persons with these conditions. They explain how MedicAlert services help with these types of challenges. Drawing on their personal experience, they say what changes they would implement if they were appointed by their governments to lead the development of family caregiving in their countries.

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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