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Someone To Lean On
By Barbara Ivanko

Family Hospice Caregiver Training is customized to the needs of the patient and caregiver."Lean on me when you're not strong, and I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on. For it won't be long, 'til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on." – "Lean on Me", Bill Withers (1972)

For parents, caring for your kids' basic needs is part of life. After all, they spend 18 years or so caring for their "bundle of joy" in a variety of ways. Caring for another adult through the course of a life-limiting illness – that's a whole other story.

The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that nearly one in three adults in the United States cares for a loved one who is sick, elderly, or has special needs. Chances are you know someone who is an adult caregiver. It could be a member of your family, a friend, neighbor, or co-worker.

Sadly, many adult caregivers don't have the knowledge or training they need to be responsible for the day-to-day comfort, support and care of their loved one.

Family Hospice and Palliative Care has taken a proactive approach to this important issue with our innovative Caregiver Training sessions. Family Hospice Caregiver Training supports caregivers by providing them with hands-on, personalized training in the skills needed for daily home care of their loved one This training is free to those with a loved one under our care,. With knowledge comes confidence. A confident caregiver is poised to meet the needs of those for whom they care.

We are proud to report that our Family Hospice Caregiver Training program was a finalist for the 2013 Fine Awards for Teamwork Excellence in Health Care. Bestowed in partnership with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, the Fine Award was established to encourage problem solving and quality improvement in health care.

Over the years, Family Hospice has seen the positive outcomes of this program; improved safety for both patient and loved ones, fewer perceived "emergencies", greater confidence among caregivers, and decreased hospital readmissions for patients.

Adult caregiving is a daunting task, but at the same time is a huge part of many lives. Because we love those who are in our care, we want only the best for them. Equipping our caregivers with the training and knowledge they need enables them to be someone to lean on.

Barbara Ivanko is President and CEO of Family Hospice and Palliative Care. She may be reached at bivanko@familyhospice.com or (412) 572-8800. Family Hospice and Palliative Care is a non-profit organization serving nine counties in Western Pennsylvania. More information at www.FamilyHospice.com and www.facebook.com/FamilyHospicePA.

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