Caretaker stress: You need to take care of yourself tooBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caretaker-stress/MY00569
- With Mayo Clinic oncologist
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.Edward Creagan, M.D.
"The magic of the electronic village is transforming health information. The mouse and keyboard have extended the stethoscope to the 500 million people now online." — Dr. Edward Creagan
The power of the medium inspires Dr. Edward Creagan as he searches for ways to share Mayo Clinic's vast resources with the general public.
Dr. Creagan, a Newark, N.J., native, is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice medicine and palliative care. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1973 and in 1999 was president of the staff of Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Creagan, a professor of medical oncology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, was honored in 1995 with the John and Roma Rouse Professor of Humanism in Medicine Award and in 1992 with the Distinguished Mayo Clinician Award, Mayo's highest recognition. He has been recognized with the American Cancer Society Professorship of Clinical Oncology.
He describes his areas of special interest as "wellness as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual-financial model" and fitness, mind-body connection, aging and burnout.
Dr. Creagan has been an associate medical editor with Mayo Clinic's health information websites and has edited publications and CD-ROMs and reviewed articles.
"We the team of (the website) provide reliable, easy-to-understand health and wellness information so that each of us can have productive, meaningful lives," he says.
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Caretaker stress: You need to take care of yourself too
By Edward T. Creagan, M.D.
Each of us at MayoClinic.com has been profoundly touched by the struggles of case managers, patients and families trying to navigate through the bewildering minefield of the healthcare delivery "system." We each know that this is a non-system with fragmented care; crushing bureaucracy; and poor communication between many healthcare providers. So what can we do for ourselves, our families and our patients?
Colleagues often ask me what has been the biggest change I've seen in my 32-year career. Without question, it is the disintegration of the American family and the isolation of many patients, especially the elderly. Decades ago, the patient was admitted to the hospital for an acute event, managed as well possible and then typically returned home to the support of family and community. Today, that simply does not happen.
The family support network is a thing of the past, as divorces, blended families, step-families and professional responsibilities take their toll. As a result, the elderly patient typically leaves the hospital for an empty house or a nursing home. Those who do well in this environment have an advocate — a friend, a confidant, a social worker or a member of the clergy who acts on the patient's behalf. But here comes the challenge.
If the advocate is worn down, frazzled and distracted, the patient rarely will do well. For myself I know that the times when I was the most frustrated — with the system or our technidigital world, for instance — are the times when I was sleep-deprived. As simple as it sounds, a good night's sleep empowers and energizes us to tame the demons threatening our wellbeing and that of our patients and families.
I am not proposing that a good night's sleep is the panacea for life's miseries. But from my own experience and that of friends and colleagues, I've learned that compromising on sleep can compromise our thought processes and our judgment. And it has a ripple effect on our patients. We caretakers simply must take care of ourselves, and a big part of that is making sure we are rested and rejuvenated for the work we do.
Am I completely off base? Or can others relate to the clarity and the peace that a good night's sleep can bring? What else helps you keep going? Please speak up. As some poet said, "No person is an island." We are here to learn from each other.blog index