Hope for Family Caregivers Caring for Family Members with Schizophrenia

May 29, 2012
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Dr. Chris Summerville, a non-government director of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, is also CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. He explains his work in schizophrenia and describes his personal experience of family caregiving. He compares the policies on family caregiving of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Health Council of Canada. He says how family caregiving’s role and value in schizophrenia is seen by the mental health care system. He examines the challenges for family caregivers arising with high-risk behaviors of family members with schizophrenia. He discusses attitudes to family caregiving from a historical perspective. He identifies needs for help for family caregivers involved with the social, justice and mental health systems. He distills messages relative to care for schizophrenia which he sees in the class actions now certified against the Province of Ontario. He gives his messages to healthcare systems, governments and family caregivers.

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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