Thursday, May 23, 2013

Follow-Up is VITAL...


Today's issue:  Follow-up is critical to resolving caregiver and vet/warrior problems.

Yet, it is so very, very difficult to “encourage” follow-up or to escalate the issue(s) because it’s often a case of “Shoot the Messenger”.  Not good. 

There are many unresolved issues we could write about here, but our goal is not to point fingers.  We do, however, want to voice that most problems are best solved while they are small and manageable.  Left hanging, caregivers and vets/warriors become increasingly frustrated, with some descending into depression and high anxiety with no way to receive an answer to a question.  When caregivers direct their questions to a superior, they are often told that they are overstepping, that they should accept that the system is slow, and to “wait their turn”.  Problems grow and ferment. 

 Not good.  There is a better way to manage this for both sides.

We implore the system to consider making customer service a priority – for medical and mental health reasons.  A callback or email is proof that someone cares.  Most of the time, the healthcare provider would not receive 4-6 reminder voicemails if they made a quick return call or email to alert the caller that they are looking into their problem and when to expect a response.    And, if a response time is provided to a caregiver or veteran, they should then refrain from repeat calls and messages and await the response.  Just think, fewer voicemail boxes full and not accepting messages!  Setting expectations is both a courteous and safe alternative to a stressed system.

We all have 24 hours in each day and make choices on how to spend that time.  If overall communication is improved, it would go a long way toward making more of those work hours productive and efficient.  Can we please make a commitment to work on this?

Thanks to countless caregivers and vets for their input and feedback to providing a potential solution to this growing challenge.

Warm regards,

Linda Kreter & the VeteranCaregiver Team

Monday, May 6, 2013

Caregiving Monday Musings

Caregiving is both a loving and a draining experience.

Love can wax and wane and the caregiving experience feels different depending on your phase.

Being thoughtfully pensive is different than being mired in a recurring mental spiral.

Fairness has varying definitions depending on your perspective; learn to raise or lower your expectations depending on your mental outlook of the day. Life is not always fair...

Peers and friends who “get it” are priceless.  It is lonely and isolating to walk this path alone, so please don’t!

As much as possible, give patient, educated responses when coping with the muddle of bureaucracy.  You’ll sleep better when you're less agitated.

Find your “anchor” (a friend, your faith, your journal, your dearest pet…) or a quiet place and give yourself permission to hold still when needed.  Your work will wait.

Finally, know the people that care for YOU in your life and lean on them when necessary. They fervently want to help you.

You matter so much to those that depend on you.  Do you really need to wonder why you’re tired? 

Please be kind to yourself.  You do a huge job, and you’re not going to be perfect, but you are going to do your best.  

You always do.

Caregivers, you are a gift to those you support.

Blessings to you,

Linda Kreter & the VeteranCaregiver Team