Gundersen St. Joseph's 'caring for the caregiver' program returns
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, a spouse or other family member. 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.
In April 2017, Gundersen St. Joseph's hosted a new program aimed at providing free information and support to area caregivers. The program covered many areas including coping with emotional strain, understanding medications, insurance and finance. As a result of the program's success, Gundersen St. Joseph's is hosting another series in 2018.
This free program will expand on last year's content and will run for seven consecutive weeks. Topics covered in the series include understanding emotional states, medications, emergency care, power of attorney, social services, spiritual care, finances, safety in the home and community, diet and nutrition care, and palliative care.
The program is informative and informal, a sharing of information from those in healthcare to help improve care provided at home. It was created in part by Debbie Arndt, patient liaison at Gundersen St. Joseph's, who has been her mother's caregiver for 10 years. Arndt began building the program alongside Paul Gasser, a family and behavioral therapist at Gundersen St. Joseph's, and is excited about the return of an expanded program this year.
"It prepared me for the future," says Rose Briskey, who participated in last year's program.
"I wish I had known more of this information when I was a caregiver. Each presenter spoke to you on a level you understood," says Nancy Breidenstein, another attendee from last year's program.
This free program begins Wednesday, April 11, from 5-6 p.m. at Hills Manor, 118 Madison St., Hillsboro with a presentation on emotional states by Paul Gasser and Leah Cornell, MD.
For more information and to register, please call Debbie Arndt at (608) 489-8150.
The schedule of presenters is as follows:
- April 11, 5-6 p.m. – Emotional states with Paul Gasser and Leah Cornell, MD
- April 18, 5-6 p.m. – Understanding medications and the emergency room with Scott Larson, BS Pharm, Pharm D, BCGP, FASCP, director of pharmacy and emergency services
- April 25, 5-6 p.m. – Power of attorney and spiritual guidance with Grover Wooten, spiritual care coordinator at Gundersen St. Joseph’s.
- May 2, 5-6 p.m. – Finances and financial assistance at Gundersen St. Joseph’s
- May 9, 5-6 p.m. – Safety in the home and in the community with Mark Sullivan, PT, physical therapist at Gundersen St. Joseph’s
- May 16, 5-6 p.m. – Self-care adaptations for the caregiver and your loved one with Cory Frederick, OTR, occupational therapist at Gundersen St. Joseph’s
- May 23, 5-6 p.m. – Social services, Hospice and palliative care with Heidi Cornell, social services director at Gundersen St. Joseph’s and Marsha Hall, certified social worker at the Bland Bekkedal Center for Hospice Care, Viroqua.