FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
A New Year's Resolution Revolution/
A New Year's Resolution Revolution
At the end of each
December, as the pages close on yet another calendar year, I
find myself trying to elicit a defining theme from the
events of the previous twelve months. This year I have heard
many stories from caregivers reminding me there is still one
issue of great importance to the relationship between family
caregivers and health care professionals— communication.
Recently, Fred, a close
family friend who has been living with Parkinson’s disease
for the past five years was rushed to the hospital
complaining of extreme dizziness and nausea. An eighty-four
year old former Navy commander, Fred is used to being if not
in charge, at least in the know. He and his wife, Anita,
have been involved in all aspects of his care, learning all
they can about his diagnoses and even discussing new
treatment options with his physicians.
So it became worrisome
when after a night in the emergency room hallway, as he was
being admitted to the hospital, Fred was told that a spot
was discovered on his lung. From Wednesday night to Monday
morning, they were not told another thing until an attending
physician appeared in Fred’s room to announce to the couple
that Fred’s condition was terminal and due to his advanced
age, there would be no medical options available for his
treatment. He then turned and left the room. Fred and Anita
have gone from too little information to information
overload within the course of a few short days. The truth
is that the medical care this couple received was exemplary,
but above and beyond that, all they needed was to be “kept
in the loop”, to be given information in a considerate
manner and to be treated as partners in care.
professionals who care for our loved ones do a remarkable
job under unimaginable circumstances, a good additional new
year’s resolution must be made to take an extra moment and
consider the effects that little, no or inappropriate
communications have on both patients and caregivers.
After all, we need all
the partners we can get.
Happy New Year.