May 7, 2018, by Paul Cavanagh, caregiverexchange.ca
That’s a quote from Dr. Jay Baruch (associate professor of emergency medicine and director of the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Scholarly Concentration at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island) in an article he wrote for Stat.
What makes the article refreshing is Baruch’s critical reflection on how he could be doing a better job of supporting family caregivers who are often near the breaking point. In his early years as an emergency physician, he was angry with families who abandoned their elderly relatives in the emergency department with suitcases packed. Since then, he’s grown to appreciate the desperation that leads some caregivers to take such drastic measures. He takes us through a case study that shows us how he now talks with stressed families while taking into account the daunting tasks that many of them face on a daily basis.
For family caregivers, the article provides insight into how emergency physicians think and behave. For health service providers, it offers an example of how they can reflect on their own practices.
Here’s another article about emergency departments that family caregivers may find useful (previously posted on caregiverexchange.ca):
If you’re bringing an older relative to the hospital, it’s helpful to realize that many emergency departments in Ontario have geriatric emergency management (GEM) nurses, nurses with specialized knowledge of health issues faced by older adults. If you’re having a hard time getting your concerns as a caregiver heard, you may want to ask to speak with a GEM nurse. Here’s a sample service listing for St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
To find out whether a particular hospital has GEM nurses, simply type “geriatric emergency nurse” into the search box in our Find Services feature. You can do it on your smartphone while in the hospital, if need be.
Have you had your own experiences in the emergency department? Join the discussion in our online caregiving forum.