Voice for Family Caregivers in the Mental Health System

January 28, 2013
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Kathy Walker, a registered social worker, was a mental health case manager for 15 years. She’s a single parent and mother of a son with schizoaffective disorder. Dr. Lisa Doupe’s medical practice includes forensic psychotherapy. She specializes in care for family caregivers and their family members whose high-risk behaviors involved them with the justice system. They discuss situations in which family caregivers caring for family members with serious mental illnesses experience challenges in getting their questions answered by physicians and in providing information to them. To overcome the challenges, they propose a procedure for good consultations in mental healthcare. They discuss ways in which physicians, their patients and family caregivers could be encouraged to use it. They say what more they would like to do and see done to increase help for family caregivers in getting their voices heard as individuals and as a community, and they share their messages for 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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