School for Caregivers: Starts in September

Family caregivers, who provide care to a chronically ill, disabled or aged family members, neighbors or friends; deal with challenging medical situations on a daily basis. The Family Caregiver Education Series is a new, free program developed by VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice in response to a 2012 research study of family caregivers done by the AARP Policy Institute that found more than half of 1,677 caregivers polled were expected to perform medical/nursing tasks (such as wound care, incontinence care, medication management, using medical equipment) at home without much teaching or support. While the family caregivers in the study found doing these tasks rewarding and helpful to their loved one, they also felt stressed and worried about making mistakes. Many did not have contact with medical professionals who could provide information or support.

For the past six months, a team of expert clinicians from VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice have held community focus groups and tested classes. With the data collected they created The Family Caregiver Education Series. It’s goal, to help coach family caregivers in a variety of specific issues and challenges. “We (VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice) are passionate about helping family caregivers who are struggling and feel like they are all alone. We (VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice) want them to know that we have mobilized our resources and are reaching out to help them in a new way,” comments Barbara Katz, RN, Director of Clinical Program Development at VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice who spearheaded the idea for the Family Caregiver Education Series. VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice has had a Family Caregiver Support Network since 2003 and has helped more than 1,200 family caregivers to date.

Family caregivers are encouraged to attend all classes in the series or just those that pertain to their particular situation. At each session, participants will receive tips, tools and guidance from a VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice clinician or outside expert, such as Gerontologist and Founder of Borrow My Glasses, Donna Fedus.

Coordinating Medical Care
September 9, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Body Mechanics & Assistive Devices
September 16, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Coping with Incontinence and Skin Care
September 23, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Dealing with Challenging Behaviors & Dementia
September 30, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Creating a Positive Home Environment (Dementia Care)
October 7, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. – featuring Donna Fedus

All programs will be held at VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, 753 Boston Post Rd., Guilford. The program is funded entirely by charitable gifts and donations. To learn more or to register call VNA Community Healthcare’s toll free Helpline at 866.474.5230 or email.