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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / A New Year's Resolution Revolution/   Editorial List

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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.

Although the 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. 


Gary Barg

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