Can a network health care tool prevent caregiver burnout and patient isolation?
The process of caregiving for a loved one in their final days is both precious and potentially traumatizing. When I first became a primary caregiver for my mother, I often became burnt out and isolated. I have also met many other caregivers who had similar experiences.
On September 6th 2012, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson addressed the dangers of isolation in a story titled, Tackling isolation starts at home.
“The emotional burden of isolation is obvious. But there are additional costs we all have to bear. Isolation impacts people's physical and mental health, lowers productivity, breeds alienation and crime, and erases the contributions isolated people could be making to our city's daily life.” explained Robertson.
Shifting Vancouver to a Network Health Care Model
The city of Vancouver is overflowing with innovative ideas and groundbreaking technology. I know that we can repair the broken pieces of our palliative care system. I know that we can do better.
When I discovered Tyze in 2011, I was able to shift out of an isolated reality of caregiving and build a network of support that functioned as a lifeline. This process was described in my previous post titled, Social media tool helps a mother fight cancer.
I become a facilitator of care and engaged with our network of family and friends as a source of connection, community and assistance. I used my Tyze network to alleviate isolation as a caregiver and it directly helped to improve the quality of life for my dying mother.
On October 22nd, Tyze and the PLAN Institute are hosting, Caregiving - Up Close and Personal. This event will allow caregivers to discuss ways to facilitate networks of care. I will be speaking alongside Donna Thomson about the value of using a Tyze network when caring for a loved one.
This event is part of an important shift in how we think about health care. In the current “individual model of care” we are seeing patients and caregivers become isolated as they fall through cracks in our fragmented health care system. In the “network model of care”, we can build community around patients, caregivers, community and health care providers.
I believe that we (as a city) have a responsibility to strengthen our communities and care for caregivers. If we do not find ways to support one another through disability, illness, aging and dying, we are allowing unnecessary harm to occur. We need to break the reinforcing cycle of damage that occurs amongst isolated of caregivers. This collective negligence is destructive to our culture and our economy.