When a loved one chooses home to die: how the family caregiver and the family doctor work together

May 25, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Dr Sandy Buchman is an experienced family physician specializing in home-based, end-of-life care. Don Fenn is Publisher of the Family Caregiver Newsmagazine, which he founded after 11 years as family caregiver for his parents with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Dr Buchman describes his medical practice. Mr Fenn highlights his experience as family caregiver. They talk about the discussion within a family that occurs when it is confronted with the option of the family member’s dying at home. They point to important matters that should be considered by the family. They explore the organization of end-of-life care. They examine the ways in which the team work between the family caregiver and the family physician can be most successful. They talk openly about the stresses and the peace that home home-based, end-of-life care brings. They say what additional support and help they would like to see for family caregivers when a loved one chooses to die at home.

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.

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