Gundersen St. Joseph's develops new program for area caregivers
Caring for a loved one at home is one of the most difficult tasks many people face. On top of the physical demands of providing care at home, there is also emotional strain experienced by caregivers as they give round-the-clock care to their parent, family member or spouse.
Caregivers wear many hats when it comes to providing care at home – often playing the role of a nurse, therapist, cook, cleaner and much more – all in one day.
The staff at Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics have come together to develop a five-week program to provide area caregivers with information and resources to help them provide care. Each one-hour session will consist of guest speakers from Gundersen St. Joseph's addressing a specific topic related to caregiving.
The program is the brainchild of Debbie Arndt, patient liaison at Gundersen St. Joseph's, who has been her mother's caregiver for nine years. "At Gundersen St. Joe's we're all caregivers to our patients, but some of us go home and continue giving care to our loved ones. We have so much talent and knowledge in our organization that I felt it would be useful to connect that talent with those of us out in our communities who provide care at home," says Arndt. "I feel lucky as I am surrounded by healthcare professionals all day, and I learn things from them that I can use when I give care at home. I feel like all caregivers should have the opportunity to learn as much as I have."
Arndt began the process of building the program alongside Paul Gasser, a family and behavioral therapist at Gundersen St. Joseph's. "I just think this is such a great idea," says Gasser. "We're going to be able to provide support and information to the caregivers in our region which will ultimately make a difference in their lives and the lives of those they care for."
This free program will begin Wednesday, April 19 from 5-6 p.m. in the meeting room of Hotel Hillsboro with a presentation on mental states by with Leah Cornell, MD. Here is the full schedule:
- April 19, 5-6 p.m. – Mental States with Leah Cornell, MD, sharing her unique perspective as a doctor and a caregiver
- April 26, 5-6 p.m. – Understanding Medications with Scott Larson, BS Pharm, Pharm D, BCGP, FASCP, Director of Pharmacy and Emergency Services
- May 3, 5-6 p.m. – Insurance and Financial Assistance with Rachel Wilson, Patient Account Rep/ Handling Depression with Paul Gasser, Gundersen Behavioral Health
- May 10, 5-6 p.m. – Power of Attorney and Advanced Care Planning with Rev. Roger Miller and Christine Dean, APSW, MSW, ME-PD, Gundersen Social Services director
- May 17, 5-6 p.m. – Safety in the home and in the community with Mark Sullivan, PT, Gundersen Rehab Department
For more information and to register, please call Debbie Arndt at (608) 489-8150.