Caregivers

Episode 7: Finding Balance in Dual Roles

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. 

Episode 5: Caring for Caregiver

Episode 5: Caring for Caregiver

When caring for a loved one with serious illness, caregivers focus intensely on the patient. Without checking in on the caregiver, the health care team may be overlooking the importance this has. Laurelea was the caregiver for her husband Steve. As Steve was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer, he had to stop taking antidepressants to start treatment of his disease. Laurelea describes the mental darkness that Steve experienced, and how it was difficult for her to find the support needed. Since the death of her husband, Laurelea continues to advocate for system changes to provide psychosocial support for patients and caregivers.

Dori, Giovanna and Irene describe practical solutions for treating the patient as a whole person and acknowledging the caregiver. The doctors talk about how treatment of disease differs from providing good care; the consideration of psychological, social, emotional and spiritual conditions. The hosts discuss how the vocabulary and imagery of “fighting” can make a patient feel responsible for the outcome of their illness.

Episode 3: Looking Back

Episode 3: Looking Back

Susan shares her experience of taking care of her Dad as his cancer progressed. She learned the strong will he had. He was a person who didn’t complain, and appreciated the little things in his final days. In hindsight, Susan shares what was helpful for her as a caregiver.

Irene, Dori and Giovanna, have a conversation about paying attention to non-verbal cues of a patient and the difficulty when a person doesn’t open up. The doctors talk about their own experiences with caregiving for long-term illness and how that shapes their healthcare practice.

Episode 1: Gratitude

Episode 1: Gratitude

On their 22nd wedding anniversary, Sholom discusses the palliative care of his late wife, Erminia. Erminia made the graceful decision to transition to end of life care - motivated by spirituality. Sholom appreciates the care for his wife and talks about his gratitude practices.

Giovanna, Dori and Irene discuss whether empathy can be taught and how it can enhance therapy. Gratitude is talked about as a response to grief, and as a recognition for the lessons learned. The three doctors have a conversation about the lasting impact patients have when a personal connection is made.