4. Doctors and caregivers



The Relationship between Doctors and Family Caregivers

Having said that caregivers should feel comfortable going to see their health professionals for help. There is a literature that tells us that physicians in particular, have difficulty at times relating to family caregivers. Some of that difficulty reflects ignorance or lack of experience in how to respond to caregivers. The recognition that responded to caregivers is not something that is a two or three minute intervention. It requires a lot of active listening. It requires a lot of response to caregivers that is individualized. It requires a lot of ability to empathize and where appropriate, to sympathize. Health professionals have difficulty because sometimes they’re faced with conflicting agendas they have in front of them, the care receiver and also the care recipient. I’m sorry that’s the same thing. They have in front of them the care recipient and the caregiver and the agendas of the two people, the caregiver and the care recipient may not always be the same, and so doctors are often faced with a conflictual situation in their office for which there may or may not be a solution, and in addition doctors are not well trained to deal with conflict within their offices, and so what we recommend for health, professionals were looking to try to develop programs for health professionals to learn explicitly how to deal with conflict between caregivers and care recipients that occurs in the office. Because in some cases the agenda of both is equally valid and sometimes it’s difficult to know really who is the patient. In my own practice, when I think it’s the care recipient, who’s the patient today. In fact, it may be the caregiver who is the patient who is more distressed, because she he or she is more distressed than the care recipient.

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