New Initiative Helps Caregivers, Lends a Hand to Daily Responsibilities...
For the more than 50 million people who provide daily care for a family member or friend, care starts with good hygiene: preventing skin breakdown and guarding against infection helps protect the patient and make them feel comfortable. Concerns over elder care are rapidly growing as the baby boomer generation ages. By 2030, it is estimated that one in every five Americans will be over 65 years old.
Innovative healthcare manufacturer Sage Products, Inc., is proud to launch the Your Care Matters initiative, an online community offering support and simple solutions to make caregiving less complicated and more manageable. Recognizing the vital role of the caregiver, Your Care Matters provides a one-stop resource wherein caregivers can seek advice, share stories, and be directed to products and services that help to simplify the role of the caregiver.
"After my father-in-law suffered a stroke, we decided to move closer to him so we could help. What was to be a temporary role became a full-time job - and with no healthcare background, we felt helpless," said Maria Meyer, author of The Comfort of Home: A Complete Guide for Caregivers. "There is a need for both education and moral support, but searching for this information requires time; a luxury that caregivers just don't have."
Through the Your Care Matters site, www.yourcarematters.com, caregivers can access tips and resources to organize and be more efficient with their time. Medication charts, nutritional meal planners, home safety checklists, and trip planners make everyday tasks easier and reduce the stress involved in caring for someone else. To further increase their efficiency, caregivers can find nurse-preferred products to assist with oral hygiene, skin care, incontinence issues and the prevention of pressure ulcers, a condition that can arise in people who are bed ridden or have impaired mobility.
"Your Care Matters offers a unique benefit to caregivers by providing guidance in relation to product usage and resources available," said Gloria Blankenburg, Family Caregiver Support Program Coordinator from the Central Indiana Council on Aging. "Nurses who have knowledge of how to improve clinical outcomes by reducing the risk of infection are ensuring that the same quality of care can be given at home. This is a relief for many caregivers who fear their medical support and advice ended with the discharge planner."
Although caregivers have strength in numbers, the role of caregiver can be extremely isolating. Caring for another person presents new challenges daily: there is no training and plenty of uncertainty of how to best protect loved ones from further injury and infection.
Deborah Trau, RN, Director of Volunteer Services at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Illinois, is lending her voice to the community as both a medical professional and caregiver herself. "While taking care of my mother-in-law, I realized how much worry comes with this role. I started writing down checklists, like how to provide proper skin care, with the idea in mind that most caregivers are taking on a job with no prior experience, and how concerning that must feel for someone who only wants to do the right thing. For those that live each day making a difference in someone else's life, a support system is a vital reminder for caregivers to take care of themselves."
Trau encourages caregivers to visit www.yourcarematters.com, or become a fan of Your Care Matters on Facebook, to connect with other caregivers and to find relevant guidance as well as basic hygiene and infection prevention solutions.