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Supporting family caregivers at the end of life: they don't know what they don't know

Even for patients receiving complex, intensive medical care for serious and life-threatening illness, family caregiving is typically at the core of what sustains patients at the end of life. The amorphous relationship between physicians and the families of patients at the end of life presents both challenges and opportunities for which physicians may be unprepared. Families play important roles in the practical and emotional aspects of patient care and in decision making at the end of life. At the same time, family members may carry significant burdens as a result of their work.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:18

The good doctor: the carer's perspective

Carers are family members, friends, and neighbours who perform medical tasks and personal care, manage housekeeping and financial affairs, and provide emotional support to people who are ill, disabled, or elderly. From a carer's perspective, the primary requisite for a good doctor is competence. Assuming equal technical skills and knowledge, the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ doctors comes down to attitudes and behaviour-communication. An important aspect of communication is what doctors say to carers, and how they interpret what carers say to them.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:17

Working with carers: guidelines for good practice

There are at least six million unpaid carers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and 1.25 million provide at least 50 hours of care a week.1 One in five households contains a carer.2 Sixteen per cent of carers are over 65, and half of those being cared for are 75 or older.3 Many are ‘round the clock’ carers. Carers are the bedrock of the care and support system; the vast majority of care needs are provided by unpaid carers at home.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:11