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ARTICLE | CAREGIVER TRAINING

Engaging Family Caregivers With Hospice & Palliative Care Training

Navigating Palliative & Hospice Care: Empowering Family Caregivers through Training

Key Takeaways:

  • Caregivers receive practical advice and information, including how to document loved ones’ wishes effectively,
    how to effectively interact with the clinical team at every stage of palliative and hospice care, managing family dynamics, addressing estate planning considerations, and more.

  • Over 135 family caregivers attended this live training, engaging in the chat with peers and asking questions throughout the 60-minute duration.

  • Caregivers find these sessions deeply practical and supportive: “I took care of my father with MS for 12 years. I wish I had these helpful webinars back then. I felt worn out and stressed all the time and felt guilty for it.”

Family care teams caring for a loved one, especially in more advanced illness stages, shoulder enormous responsibility. Today, these caregivers aren’t typically considered essential to the outcome of the patient. In reality, the role these caregivers play could not be more significant. Unfortunately, along with the lack of recognition, these caregivers are typically not offered reliable and streamlined information– and especially not training.

Without training, caregivers are currently taking on decision-making during critical moments, adherence to care plans, managing medication regimens, and tracking important symptoms and side effects. And these are still just a fraction of the challenging tasks faced by family caregivers. In this context, caregiver training becomes not just a necessity but a lifeline.

This piece will offer a look into our caregiver training program, with a session on Palliative and Hospice Care. This training was led by our Director of Caregiver Navigator Program, Bahamia Ulysse. Bahamia has extensive experience in the healthcare industry, with over 18 years of experience as a licensed practical nurse, certified dementia practitioner, and more. Bahamia has built our Navigation program, supporting caregivers 1-1 with their practical and emotional needs at every point in their journey.

These training sessions are not merely informative; they foster active engagement, with caregivers returning for several sessions on new topics. Our training program has become a place caregivers come to learn, share stories, ask questions, and connect with a supportive community.

Engagement & Trust With Family Care Teams

Our network of family caregivers have come to anticipate and rely on these trainings for valuable information and peer support. For this particular live training, we had over 135 family caregivers register, engaging through chat with our trainer and each other throughout the 60-minute session.

Among the highly attended and engaging training sessions, heavier topics such as “Navigating Palliative & Hospice Care for Aging Loved Ones” stands out. This topic in particular is so often misunderstood, and can be the source of incredible stress and confusion for family care teams.

Hospice and palliative care can often be seen as “giving up” on a loved one as they enter a new, more advanced stage of care needs. In these trainings, caregivers are able to see and learn that in fact, hospice and palliative care are two very key parts of the care journey, and should be considered well before a loved one may be in need of them. To be familiar with these options and the comfort they can bring to patients makes the difficult and overwhelming moments easier, offering more clarity.

Key Points & Takeaways Shared With Caregivers

This training in particular is so well-attended and engaging because the content is informative and practical vs. a more traditional approach to caregiver training, which can be clinical and overwhelming. The approach Bahamia takes to explain this content helps to unravel the emotional and logistical intricacies of difficult moments like palliative and hospice care. These trainings equip caregivers with practical strategies and actionable solutions such as:

  1. Documenting loved ones’ wishes effectively.
  2. Interacting with the clinical team at every stage of palliative and hospice care.
  3. Posing the right questions to ensure comprehensive understanding.
  4. Managing family dynamics during difficult conversations.
  5. Addressing estate planning considerations.
  6. Empowering caregivers with the legal and safe decision-making tools they need.
  7. Navigating insurance-related challenges.
 

The Value of Community in Caregiver Training

Beyond the wealth of practical content, these training sessions highlight the intense need for community among caregivers. The shared experiences and challenges, and the ability to connect with both trainers and fellow caregivers play a vital role in alleviating the isolation that often accompanies caregiving.

Caregivers have consistently shared how much the trainings help them in their own care journeys. Below are some of the real-time chats and comments received during this training session:

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