a significant stressor often contributing to a caregiver's emotional distress is difficulties in medical staff-patient-family communication around the illness.
Philadelphia, PA (Vocus) July 20, 2010
Dana Gionta, Ph.D., psychologist, life coach and consultant will appear on the Coping with Caregiving Internet radio program on Saturday, July 24th. Dr. Gionta will be discussing the many emotional and practical demands of caregivers. This radio appearance is a natural fit for Dr. Gionta who combines her own personal experience of caring for mother along with her professional expertise in the field as a mental healthcare provider and published author. Specifically, Dr. Gionta blogs for Psychology Today and is the author of Enhancing Provider-Patient-Family Communication: Theoretical, Ethical, Clinical and Sociocultural Considerations, a continuing education course available at HealthForumOnline, a nationally-approved provider of online CE courses for psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other allied health professionals. Her book Medical Staff-Family Health Communication in Cancer: Psychometric, Model and Mediational Testing, was recently published by VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.
In Dr. Gionta’s radio interview she will elaborate on the emotional world of caregivers. While the financial and physical demands caregiving involves may place a significant burden on caregivers, the greatest challenge may be the emotional effects on the caregiver and the family – aspects of caregiving that may be less obvious and publically discussed. The range and intensity of emotions, especially guilt, fear, anticipatory anxiety and grief, anger, sadness, joy can feel overwhelming and frightening, particularly because they may occur simultaneously. The unexpected nature and rollercoaster experience of such feelings add to the challenge of coping effectively. It is essential to nurture the nurturer. With regard to supporting caregivers, it is important to normalize the experience of their range of feelings, to reinforce they are not alone in this experience, and to strongly encourage them to make their own self care a priority.
Further, Dr. Gionta notes that, “a significant stressor often contributing to a caregiver’s emotional distress is difficulties in medical staff-patient-family communication around the illness.” Factors such as medical staff/provider accessibility, use of medical jargon, and health-related attitudes and fears can contribute to this. Among the several self care tips that Dr. Gionta recommends to caregivers is the importance of getting their communication needs met with medical staff.
The challenges that caregivers face must be understood and addressed to directly facilitate the health of the caregiver, but also to positively influence the health of the system that is composed of the patient, provider, and caregiver. For these reasons HealthForumOnline’s resource library incorporates continuing education courses that reflect a sensitivity to caregiver demands and an understanding of the importance caregivers play in a patient healthcare across the disease continuum -- whether it be in promoting health-related behaviors to prevent disease (e.g. adherence to cancer screening, weight management, smoking cessation), assisting with long-term management to improve adjustment to disease as is the case with illnesses such as diabetes, MS, or Alzheimer’s Disease, or facilitating coping with end-of-life issues and bereavement. Specifically, HealthForumOnline’s extensive library provides health professionals with nationally-approved online CE courses that are easily accessible and cost-effective, enabling them to assist patients and their caregivers in coping with illness. Specifically, in addition to Dr. Gionta’s course, HealthForumOnline’s CE library includes courses such as Anticipatory Mourning in Alzheimer’s Family Caregivers, Bereavement: A Comprehensive Guide for Health Professionals, Cancer in the Couple: Clinical and Ethical Considerations within the Dyad, Experiencing Infertility: The Psychological Care of Individuals and Couples, Facilitating Adjustment in Families with a Chronically-Ill Child, Preparing Young Patients and Their Parents For Medical Procedures: Strategies To Reduce Distress And Promote Coping, and Self Care for Professional Alzheimer’s Caregivers.
The Internet-based radio program Coping with Caregiving, hosted by Jacqueline Marcell an international speaker and author of the bestselling book Elder Rage, features four healthcare professionals and is heard live worldwide from 3-4:00 pm Pacific Time. To listen in, simply click on the appropriate On Air Listen Live button at the top of the web page. If you miss the live broadcast you can listen-on-demand to the archive anytime after July 26th.
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