Patients benefit when caregivers receive support

In a recent article “The Critical Role of Caregivers in Achieving Patient-Centered Care” author Gillick writes:

For caregivers (family caregivers) to make patient-centered care a reality for frail elders and those with advanced illness, they will need unprecedented education and assistance. In addition to supporting policies designed to reimburse caregivers for some of their services… the medical establishment needs to incorporate caregivers at every step of patient care. This will entail a fundamental shift from individual autonomy to family- and caregiver-centered care.

Gillick cites interesting research that shows that patients with dementia whose caregivers were enrolled in a coaching program exhibited fewer behavioral and psychological symptoms than control patients.  So, not only the caregivers benefited, but so did the people with dementia!

For caregivers who are reluctant to invest in themselves, this research may help them to prioritize attending a support group or reaching out for mentoring support if they realize that their loved one could benefit as well.