Family Caregiver Burnout
March 23, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
Physician Dr Wendy Graham and psychologist Dr David Travland discuss burnout in family caregivers. Burnout is widely known to be a risk which overtakes too many family caregivers as they grapple with the day-in, day-out challenges of family caregiving. The two Guests explain what burnout is, what causes it, and what its consequences are. They talk about the things that lead to burnout that they see in their professional practices. The sacrifices by and stresses on family caregivers—on their mental and physical health, on their quality of life, on their finances. They explore what is done to help family caregivers affected by burnout. How are they supported? How are they treated? How are they helped in preventing it? What should happen when the time comes that the condition of the person they are caring for is too much of a challenge? Then they say what they think needs to be done to develop more and better services to prevent and treat burnout for family caregivers.
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.
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.