Innovative New York Programs Increase Family Involvement
A new report issued by the United Hospital Fund concludes that implementing successful hospital-based family caregiver support programs requires nothing less than changing the culture of the health care institutions themselves.
The Special Report, Making Room for Family Caregivers, details the experiences of seven New York City hospitals that developed innovative caregiver support programs from 1998 to 2002.
The report found that hospitals with successful projects integrated four key elements into their programs:
involving family caregivers as key advisors;
providing hospital staff with adequate training;
building strong top-level institutional support for the initiatives; and
developing significant relationships with community-based organizations.
Caregivers report a lack of training on equipment and procedures, and say that health care professionals often dismiss their fears and discomfort about having to take on professional tasks.
During their relatives’ hospitalizations, caregivers say they routinely meet with staff resistance when seeking information about patients, and feel at best invisible, and at worst unwelcome. While hospitals are part of the problem, according to report author Carol Levine, they can also be an important part of the solution as sources of valuable aid for caregivers.
In implementing their individualized programs, hospitals found that tackling a number of logistical and programmatic issues was key to their success:
Copies of Making Room for Family Caregivers may be ordered for $35 plus $3.50 for postage and handling, by calling (888) 291-4161, or online at www.uhfnyc.org.
E-mail to a Friend