Passionate Amateurs as Inspired Innovators in Family Caregiving
April 26, 2011
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
Al Etmanski is co-founder and President of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network, (www.plan.ca), which assists families in Canada and globally in addressing the financial and social well-being of relatives with a disability, particularly after their parents die. He talks about his career and his own family’s experience with family caregiving. He discusses the especially challenging challenges faced by family caregivers and the way passionate amateurs with innovative instincts help family caregivers and their family members face these challenges. He gives some real-life examples. He compares passionate amateurs’ innovations for family caregiving with those of the big players in healthcare: government healthcare systems, for-profit healthcare organizations, and charitable healthcare organizations. He says what he would like to see done by academic and research sectors, healthcare systems and healthcare professions to encourage passionate amateurs to do more to help family caregiving.
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.