Episode 7: Finding Balance in Dual Roles

When faced with serious illness, patients and caregivers take on new roles. Those who work in health care are in a unique position when becoming a caregiver for a loved one. Melodie cared for her parents in their final days. Her health care training as a nurse helped her to receive information from the doctors and pass it on to her family, but Melodie found it very emotionally difficult. Only dying a few months apart, Melodie felt a tremendous sense of emptiness. Her siblings kept close communication to help each other during the grieving period and Melodie allowed herself to rest. Looking back, Melodie really appreciated the health care providers shared encouragement and asked about their wellbeing.  

Dori, Irene and Giovanna talk about the importance of checking in with the patient’s caregivers. The importance of finding balance to include both the patient and caregiver in conversation is discussed. The doctors are reminded that patients should give consent about what is shared with caregivers, even in situations where there is a language barrier. Melodie’s story brought up many personal feelings for the hosts caring for their own families – both the pressures and the privilege of having a medical education.