Thursday, December 30, 2010

Midwives or doulas for ill seniors

This may be a silly post for a senior healthcare post, but it makes sense.

Listening to stories of seniors unable to go home from hospital, and family members sighting for supports, it occurs to me that stories of midwives and home births truly make a difference in childbirth.

newborn Isabelle
It may be time for society to create doulas for ailing seniors. Surely, with countries like Japan experimenting with robots to provide PSW and nursing support (I kid you not!), we can manage to find support for families that goes beyond having a nurse pop in to the home, and a PSW to vacuum and change linens.

A doula provides support, and encouragement, with training and expertise, for women giving birth. My daughter's last childbirth was done at home with two midwives and a midwifery student. It was a beautiful experience for all.

Ontario's midwives - bless them all
Family members do not realize how limited the support is for those discharged. It affects many people, primarily wives and adult daughters. Home care depends upon family resources.

Those with money to pay for extra support find it easier to cope with ill family members at home. I was exhausted physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially with the care I was giving my parents.

If I could have had someone to help. Someone experienced with the healthcare system, who could help me navigate through, finding resources, it would have eased the situation. Case managers are caught up with the bottom line. Only able to deliver minimal services through medicare, many caregivers are burned out.

As a Hospice volunteer I try to provide education and support to my families. But, I find a huge number of volunteers are well into their 70s, and some in their 80s. With experience caring for their family members we try to give back. It is not easy for many juggling ill family, and a professional, a patient navigator and advocate, who be a huge help to a family. We rely so much on volunteers and a volunteer can be hard-pressed to provide information, as our role is that of support.

This is an area that needs much research. We must be willing to provide supports to those who need help in their homes.


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