It's no secret that caregivers often sacrifice their careers, happiness, and wellness for those they care for.
When caregivers are caring for parents, elderly friends or relatives, or children with long-term disabilities, those sacrifices can be almost insurmountable. The care only builds; the complexity multiplies; and the sorrows often increase too.
The flip side of this reality is that the Long Term Care that many older patients receive is characterized by being:
- Often one step behind.
To protect independence and limited resources, care often lags slightly behind the individual's needs.
- Carried out by a team of people with different skills and perspectives.
Whether it is a team of sibilings or a team within a Long Term Care facility, the team providing care in these situations is made up of people with different depths of training, different perspectives, and different abilities to communicate.
There are very few situations in which it feels like the resources available for Long Term Care are those that are needed.
One caregiver in the recent New York Times piece talked about the Family Medical Leave Act, saying that the ability to take three months of paid leave would be transformative, since "If you had a few siblings and each of them could take three months, you could care for a person with dementia." To us, it is a sobering thought when the best-case scenario is such fragmented care that a different individual, connected to other caregivers only by hit-or-miss phone calls, would be caring for a patient for weeks of months at a time and then trading off.
We believe that in any care situation in which the care is patchworked -- provided by multiple caregivers in ways that default to uncoordinated -- healthcare collaboration needs to be intentional and it often needs a technology solution. So many times, playing telephone tag just won't cut it. And sharing photos and videos becomes essential.
That's why we advocate for the use of a telemedicine solution to support healthcare collaboration among Long Term Care providers. When a telemedicine solution allows caregivers to share information ("Did Dad have a negative reaction to this pill?") with others on the team, and asynchronously (so team members don't all have to be available at the same time), then things can start to work. When team members can share pictures and videos, care gets more sophisticated and less invasive -- outcomes impove.
We don't need robots (yet), or videoconferencing, or even telemedicine medical visits. We just need to support these hardworking teams in communciating and collaborating with each other -- for the good ofthe person that they're caring for, not to mention the good of the caregiver's job and life.
We really value those who provide Long Term Care -- this ebook may help you find easier ways to collaborate with the other caregivers on your team: