Physician Home Visits for Seniors and the Family Caregiver

January 11, 2011
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Dr John Sloan specializes in home visiting with the elderly. Noralyn Smiley is a senior who is family caregiver for her mother, a patient of Dr John’s. He calls his patients Sunshiners. They discuss collaborative caregiving and the importance of the family caregiver as a member of the collaborative team. They explain the circumstances that brought Dr John into Noralyn’s Sunshiner caregiving, and generally what family caregivers need from a family physician. They talk about the ways in which the family physician, the collaborative team and the family caregiver work together in meeting the numerous challenges that caring for Sunshiners so often brings. They talk about the questions that family caregivers ask, and the answers that family physicians can and cannot answer. They both say how a home-visiting physician and the collaborative team can provide better care than the hospital, and what they would like to see done to bring more collaborative team work to the homes of Sunshiners.

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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