Family Caregiving for the Medically Fragile

January 15, 2013
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

David Ashdown has been involved since 1990 in Community Concerns for the Medically Fragile, http://www.ccmfonline.com/. He describes his involvement and his own experience with family caregiving. He identifies the most common medical conditions that cause individuals to be medically fragile and the stages of life at which they are affected. He talks about the challenges faced by medically fragile individuals, by their families and family caregivers, and by healthcare and social systems that provide help. He says how CCMF helps with the challenges, and uses activity centers, outdoor activities, art and music therapies, and other services to enable a meaningful life for the individuals it cares for. He describes the challenges CCMF faces in generating funding. He says what more he would like to do and see done to help medically fragile individuals and their families and family caregivers, and shares his message for family caregivers caring for family members who are medically fragile.

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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