November is National Family Caregivers Month, when we reflect and pay tribute to the gifts caregivers have given family members, patients, friends, and others support during their most trying moments. This year, we support the theme of #CareGivingHappens because taking on the role of a caregiver is not always planned or expected, but it impacts nearly 65.7 million people, according to Family Caregiver Alliance.
Fortunately, the support of UzObi and the medical BLUEPRINT, as well as other advanced planning tools, helps to provide caregivers what they need to support personalized health, well-being, and values of care.
Our team of doctors and ethicists dives deeper into how we can support people and their caregivers during the most challenging times.
1. REDUCES STRESS
No one knows when you will need to see a doctor or become the decision-maker for a loved one. The role of a caregiver can become the most stressful time in one’s life, and being a proactive caregiver can be the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and those we care for. Over the years, we have seen many caregivers crumble under the weight of responsibility because of not knowing for sure what a loved one would have wanted. We have seen families fall apart over who was right in “knowing Mom the best.” It is hard enough dealing with a disease, accident, or illness as a family.
Taking the pressure off to “get it right” is one of the main reasons we created our medical BLUEPRINT™. We understand the stress relief that comes with an informed and clear-minded caregiver. We know how grateful they are not to have to guess what someone wanted, but to be their advocate and ensure what they want happens.
Reducing stress is an incredible and essential benefit of directive care.
2. PROVIDES CLARITY & DIRECTION
Does Mom want this? Would Dad prefer that? We never talked about this situation, so what would my wife want? I don’t know what my brother would ask for! These questions cause anxiety and distress when trying to be a caregiver for someone who hasn’t informed you of their values, beliefs, and personal choices. Clarity on what someone wants reduces anxiety around decision-making.
3. REDUCES INTRA-FAMILY ARGUMENTS & DISAGREEMENTS
Everyone has that one family member you know will make a big deal about a situation and intentionally go left when everyone else is going right. That is the nature of families. But when this kind of disagreement happens around healthcare decisions, it can be devastating and impossible to recover from. Having clarity around what your loved ones want reduces in-family arguments and disagreements. With UzObi’s medical BLUEPRINT™, we ensure that the answers are up-to-date so there is no question around if these values are what your loved one wanted to express – even if that family member tries to challenge it, everyone was already informed at the same time.
4. PROVIDES A SMOOTHER EXPERIENCE WITH THE HEALTHCARE TEAM
A trusting relationship with the healthcare team is vitally important to have the best outcome for you and your loved one. With directive care, plans like our medical BLUEPRINT™ creating those smoother patient-provider experiences are a tremendous side effect. It makes communication smoother and helps convey important context to your providers based on lived experience that augments their standard work plans, which is so critically important to your loved one’s clinical outcomes.
5. PROVIDES PEACE OF MIND AND REASSURANCE
We have discussed the decrease of stress on caregivers but another side effect of having our medical BLUEPRINT™ is the peace of mind it brings just knowing if something happens, you are prepared for it. When someone fills out our directives, they get the chance to share it with everyone, especially the person who would be their caregiver. Gifting them not only the “heads up” about essential values they want to be considered in their healthcare, but with the knowledge they need to serve in this capacity is truly invaluable. Allowing your caregiver to have the chance to discuss your thoughts and understand your direction better before something happens gives them incredible peace of mind.
6. REDUCES BURNOUT
With peace of mind and decreased stress, caregivers avoid the pitfalls of burnout and moral distress. These are genuine causal relationships when serving as a caregiver for someone who has not clarified what they would like. Moral pains occur when the caregiver knows what is right to do but doesn’t feel empowered to do so, and this happens when they do not have the ability to say, “this is what I know they wanted – look at their words.” Reduction of burnout is paramount to keep caregivers engaging in meaningful conversations with providers to improve the care for their loved ones.
7. IT GIVES YOU QUALITY TIME BACK
Knowing the path you want to walk allows for healthcare decisions to be made easier. That often frees you and your loved ones to focus on the important stuff – like spending quality time together and living your best for as long as possible. Having your medical BLUEPRINT™ not only gives you the ability to direct your care in line with your values, but it also makes it clear what is essential to you for your quality of life and helps navigate choices to keep you at the center of the decision-making. Caregivers can focus on spending time with loved ones and not worrying about questions they didn’t have the time to get answers to.