Tag Archives: grief

5 Tips for the Primary Caregiver Hospital Visitor

Let’s face it visiting an aging or chronically ill loved one in the hospital is stressful. If you are a primary caregiver or a potential primary caregiver it helps to get prepared in readiness for the surprise emergency visit or an upcoming planned hospitalization. These five tips can help you be a bit less stressed.

1.  Familiarize yourself with the Hospital Visit Scale 

The Hospital Visit Scale will help you to understand the different types of visits and the potential stress aspects.

2.  Be Mindful of Your Things

Know that visiting a hospital means experiencing stress and emotional discomfort. Be most careful when you are doing ER, emergency visits or having first-time entry to a new specialized area in a hospital or experiencing the loss of a loved one. These times are when you are likely to be experiencing the most stress and emotional upheaval. These are the times you are likely to do such things as losing your keys, locking the keys in the car, or forgetting your phone, bag or wallet.

3. Create a Hospital Visit Bag

Over the years, I started to create a go-to hospital bag list that included a plastic disposal carry bag (sometimes you have to put your bag on the floor as space is limited). Don’t plan on using this bag again. Hospital floors are regularly cleaned but they are not always as clean as you think. Bring a few water bottles, Advil, granola bar, a book to read, tissues, notepad and pen and phone/computer chargers. In some cases, I brought in my Caregiver Binder to keep track or convey information to hospital staff.

4. Practice your Stress-reducing Behavior.

Take a deep breath and count to ten before exiting your vehicle in the hospital parking lot. Bring water and your “Go To Hospital Bag” to every visit. Take a moment to think about where you parked your car. Remember weather changes over the hours, be prepared with a jacket or umbrella into the facility if the weather seems questionable. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

5. Learn about your loved one’s In-plan Hospitals.

Become familiar with the resources your loved one’s hospital has for visitors. You can often search for their websites which often give helpful information. Many have cafeterias or coffee bars. Some have quiet or reflective green interior or exterior spaces. Others have “individual family” waiting areas that are designated for family groups to gather. Hospitals are often large confusing places with many corridors and wings. This creates confusion for even the most directionally able individuals. One hospital I visited frequently gave newcomer visitors a colorful welcome sticker to put on their clothes. This enabled hospital staff or knowing and caring experienced visitors to help with directions or provide more friendly and timely assistance. Most hospitals also have small chapels for prayer or meditation. In-house Hospital chaplain resources are generally focused on the patient, however, some hospital chaplains provide services on a limited or case by case basis to family members.

 

 

A few hours of preplanning can help you be more comfortable and less stressed during a loved one’s hospitalization. This hospital readiness exercise can make a huge difference for you and your loved ones.

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Caregiving, Knowledge, Organizing, Terms

The Hospital Visit Scale

Dear Readers:

Because of my many  trips to the hospital to visit family member or other loved ones,  I started to think about my variety of stress levels I experienced upon making an entry  or upon departing the hospital. One (1 ) being least stressful of visits, five (5) being most. My perspective is from being the primary caregiver of the hospitalized patient. General visitors are likely to be less stressed, except when they have first time entry into specialized units such as Burn Centers, Cancer Units, Pediatric NIC units.

 

I created The Hospital Visit Scale by Terry Prince 2016© to help visualize this.

 

hospital-visit-scale-v1

 

 

I am calling myself a Covert Hidden Hero. Covert because end stage caretakers of military disabled veterans are not necessarily the ones at the onset of a military disability.  From 2002 to 2013,  I served as my father’s primary caregiver. My father was a WWII veteran who lost his leg at age 20  (as well as hearing ability in one ear) in military service in 1944 from a V2Rocket while in Belgium.  He was British and in the RAF and deemed 80 percent disabled but was able to live a full life (marrying, pursuing a career in aerospace engineering, having 3 children, sailing and motorcycling). However in his late 70’s  his medical care became much more complex when his meniscus in his only “real” leg tore and he had to have surgery. In his later years he had stage 4 kidney disease with dialysis for 2 years (likely caused by high use of over- the- counter pain medication for his osteoarthritis in his remaining leg and normal use of prescription medicine when he had phantom pains in his missing leg), neuropathy, steroid induced type II diabetes and heart issues. My father in his last 4 years of life had an annual average of 2 major hospital visits (all exceeding 1 week), with follow on transitional care in rehabilitation facilities and follow on skilled nursing either in home or in a facility.  He had at least 12 doctors or specialist services  (primary PPO Doctor, Cardiologist, Neurologist, Nephrologist(kidney)  Pulmonary, Orthopedist, eye doctor, audiologist, dermatologist, US Veteran System Primary Doctor, Sleep Apnea Specialist, Wound Care Clinician, Anticoagulation Clinic)  as well as many revolving hospitalists each time he was hospitalized.  

Having experienced hospitalization exceeding 10 months of a loved one in many ways, in many different times and hospital settings, I feel confident that this scale reflects most of the instances of hospitalization. But I am open to suggestions, any thoughts out there?

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Caregiving, Client Management Strategies, Communication, Knowledge, Terms, Thinking

The Three Losses in Five Years Syndrome

Over the past 10 years, I have come across a subset of individuals who begin a sudden onset of chronic disorganization. These are individuals who are serving as family caretakers who have experienced at least three significant losses in their life over the span of 5 years. This subset has usually served as primary caretaker for either parent(s), spouse or sibling(s). Many of them also serve as the executor of one or more of these estates. Many of these individuals seem to take about 7 to 12 years after the final loss to come to terms with this in their life.

What I would like to see is a more active approach to treating this, more on the onset prevention than as an after effect treatment.

It would be beneficial to have physicians and their staffs work to identify caretakers who are already at two losses in five years, and encourage them to get additional support through grief counseling, caretaker support group participation and for those financially able, consider the services of a skilled professional organizer. A skilled professional organizer can do wonders to help the “primary caretaker client ” in terms of time management, goal setting, project planning and management. Many professional organizers can help establish bill paying and document management systems to handle the growing paperwork that complex and long-term medical conditions usually entail as well as documents for estates probate. A professional organizer can help the client simplify his or her life and environment as well as serve as a body double for difficult and often procrastinated tasks.

While a professional organizers services are not inexpensive, they are a valuable tool that may help the primary caretaker live a more vibrant and fulfilling life while and after experiencing heavy losses in their life.

The Three Losses in 5 Years are primarily death losses. For some, however, one of those losses can be the loss of a pet, divorce or significant job loss.

I believe more research and education is needed in this area. Let’s hope that this syndrome can be more clearly understood and helpful strategies for success developed and promoted to the general public.

 

This is a best of post

2 Comments

Filed under Caregiving, Client Management Strategies, Communication, Communication Strategies, Knowledge, Organizing, Philosophy, Productivity, Techniques, Terms, Thinking, Time

Three Losses in Five Years

The Three Losses in 5 years Syndrome

Over the past 10 years, I have come across a subset of individuals who begin a sudden onset of chronic disorganization.  These are individuals who are  serving as family caretakers who have experienced at least three significant losses in their life over the span of 5 years. This subset has usually served as primary caretaker for either parent(s), spouse or sibling(s). Many of them also serve as the executor of one or more of these estates.   Many of these individuals seem to take about 7 to 12 years after the final loss  to come to terms with this in their life.

What I would like to see is a more active approach to treating this,  more on the onset prevention than as an after effect treatment.

It would be beneficial to have physicians and their staffs work to identify caretakers who are already at two losses in five years, and encourage them to get additional support through grief counseling, caretaker support group participation and for those financially able,  consider the services of a skilled professional organizer.  A skilled professional organizer can do wonders to help the “primary caretaker client ” in terms of time management, goal setting, project planning and management. Many professional organizers can help establish bill paying and document management systems to handle the growing paperwork that complex and long-term medical conditions usually entail as well as documents for estates probate.  A professional organizer can help the client simplify his or her life and environment as well as serve as a body double for difficult and often procrastinated tasks.

While a professional organizers services are not inexpensive, they are a valuable tool that may help the primary caretaker live a more vibrant and fulfilling life while and after experiencing heavy losses in their life.

The Three Losses in 5 Years are primarily death losses.  For some, however, one of those losses can be the loss of a pet, divorce or significant job loss.

I believe more research and education is needed in this area. Let’s hope that this syndrome can be more clearly understood and helpful strategies for success developed and promoted to the general public.

 

This is a best of post from 2010.

2 Comments

Filed under Caregiving, Client Management Strategies, Communication Strategies, Knowledge, Organizing, Productivity, Terms, Thinking, Time

Possession Disposal – Intentional versus Unintentional

This is the third installment of the residential possession cycle. Today I’d like to focus on another element, intentional versus unintentional disposal of possessions.

Intentional disposal is when our clients make a concerted effort to dispose, donate or recycle a product. Unintentional usage is when an accident or incident causes the product to be disposed without their (or a household member’s) specific intent.

How do your clients dispose of their possessions? Is their disposal intentional or unintentional? Here are some examples:

Intentional Disposal

Example 1 – Your client wants to have her first yard sale (tag or garage sale). She identifies a variety of household goods, including clothes, and a substantial quantity of vases. You help your client plan and prepare for the yard sale. You help your client develop a plan for storing the remainders or unsold items overnight with a scheduled drop off trip (the following Monday) to her local Goodwill Express store.

Skills Transferred – Educating client on yard sale basics (date selection, pricing, promoting, display, site security, boundaries with attendees), Selecting suitable time for yard sale,  Discussing components of set up and clean up of a yard sale, Selecting appropriate donation site for left over items.

Example 2 – Your client has worked with you on organizing her linen closet. The client decides to get rid of her older towels, saving only a few for rags. The towels are not in the best of shape, but are clean and still usable by your local animal shelter.  Your client agrees to let you drop the towels off at the shelter.

Skills Transferred – Review of towel inventory, Discussion on regional recycle or reuse potential of household discards.

Unintentional Disposal

Example 1 – Your client has a flood on the lower level of her home, due to a surprise rising of a local creek during unseasonable rains.  You help your client by helping her locate her homeowners and flood insurance policies, and having her call her agent. She uses a reputable restoration company recommended by the insurance company, but they are unable to save her undeclared vintage doll collection.

Skills Transferred: Basic insight into the homeowner insurance claim process, Acknowledging loss, Suggestion for future storage of collections and better inventory and appropriate appraisal of collectibles items, and importance of policy review. Planing and re-purposing of space in lower level due to potential for future flooding.

My earlier segments on Possession Acquisition  and Possession Usage can be found here. By understanding your client’s possession patterns you can develop helping strategies as well as measure their success in the overall possession cycle.

Leave a comment

Filed under Client Management Strategies, Communication Strategies, Goal Setting, Knowledge, Organizing, Techniques, Terms

Three Losses in 5 Years Syndrome

The Three Losses in 5 years Syndrome

Over the past 10 years, I have come across a subset of individuals who begin a sudden onset of chronic disorganization.  These are individuals who are  serving as family caretakers who have experienced at least three significant losses in their life over the span of 5 years. This subset has usually served as primary caretaker for either parent(s), spouse or sibling(s). Many of them also serve as the executor of one or more of these estates.   Many of these individuals seem to take about 7 to 12 years after the final loss  to come to terms with this in their life.

What I would like to see is a more active approach to treating this,  more on the onset prevention than as an after effect treatment.

It would be beneficial to have physicians and their staffs work to identify caretakers who are already at two losses in five years, and encourage them to get additional support through grief counseling, caretaker support group participation and for those financially able,  consider the services of a skilled professional organizer.  A skilled professional organizer can do wonders to help the “primary caretaker client ” in terms of time management, goal setting, project planning and management. Many professional organizers can help establish bill paying and document management systems to handle the growing paperwork that complex and long-term medical conditions usually entail as well as documents for estates probate.  A professional organizer can help the client simplify his or her life and environment as well as serve as a body double for difficult and often procrastinated tasks.

While a professional organizers services are not inexpensive, they are a valuable tool that may help the primary caretaker live a more vibrant and fulfilling life while and after experiencing heavy losses in their life.

The Three Losses in 5 Years are primarily death losses.  For some, however, one of those losses can be the loss of a pet, divorce or significant job loss.

I believe more research and education is needed in this area. Let’s hope that this syndrome can be more clearly understood and helpful strategies for success developed and promoted to the general public.

1 Comment

Filed under Client Management Strategies, Communication Strategies, Thinking

Predictors of Backsliding

Backsliding, it occurs frequently to us all and especially to our clients. Use this checklist to see if your clients are candidates.

□ Does your client have chronic physical health issues?

□ Has your client mentioned a history of depression or the start of new treatment for a mental health concern?

□ Does your client have a special needs or medically fragile family member?

□ Is your client taking care of, or responsible for elderly parents or aging relatives?

□ Is your client expecting a new child or adding a family member to their household?

□ Is your client having relationship problems or divorcing?

□ Is your client’s financial state a serious concern in hiring a professional organizer?

□ Are your clients in the middle of or planning a remodel or major home improvement project in their home?

□ Has your client just begun to work from home?

□ Has your client or their significant other recently lost a job?

□ Has your client just begun a new job or taken on more responsibility at work?

□ Is your client planning or involved in a major celebration such as a family wedding, big number anniversary or birthday party, or hosting a family reunion?

□ Is your client actively grieving a recent or series of recent family, friend or pet losses?

□ Are you approaching a “traditional” seasonal season – such as summer or entering the November/December holidays?

□ Has your client worked with a professional organizer before?

Most of the previous predictor questions when answered yes, relate to the common reasons for backsliding. When your client answers yes to one of the predictors, it helps to bring this item to the forefront and let the client know they meet the criteria for backsliding and they should not expect fast or instant transformation.

Terry Prince (c) 2008

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving, Client Management Strategies, Organizing, Productivity, Techniques, Terms, Time