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Balance between Caregiving and Your Job
In This Issue
What's New
Beth Israel Medical Center Programs
New Medical Developments
Advance Directives
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 


1. What's New

National Family Caregivers (NFC) Month
NOVEMBER is Family Caregivers Month. This month, there are ongoing activities designed to draw attention to the challenges facing family caregivers, to promote effective legislation to address caregiver issues, and to raise awareness about community programs that support caregivers. In honor of NFC month, What’s New would like to recognize and thank family caregivers for their hard work and dedication. We hope you find the following information and resources helpful:

  • Beth Israel’s Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative
        Care: Celebrating 10 Years of Excellence in Pain and
        Palliative Care
  • Support Groups at Beth Israel’s Family Caregiver
        Program
  • Federal and State Legislative Updates Supporting
        Caregivers
  • Caregiver Conferences and Workshops
  • New Diabetes Caregiver Guide

Congratulations to Beth Israel Medical Center's Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care for 10 Years of Excellence!
The Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care (DPMPC) recently celebrated its 10th year anniversary as the nation’s first academic department devoted to the two specialties of pain medicine and palliative care. Founded in September 1997 by its chairman, Russell K. Portenoy, MD, the program has gained prominence due to its quest for excellence in research, education, and first-rate clinical care.

Beth Israel’s Family Caregiving Program was established by the DPMPC in its second year with initial funding from the Mayday Fund. The Altman Foundation provided support for this website. Led by Myra Glajchen, DSW, Director of the Institute for Education and Research in Pain and Palliative Care, the program offers overburdened family members services and resources needed to navigate their caregiver role, including the Caregiver Resource Directory. For more information on this program, or to request individual or group counseling, please contact Denise Flynn, LMSW at (212) 844-1281.

Please visit the DPMPC’s website, StopPain.org, for in-depth educational resources on pain and palliative care for patients, caregivers, and professionals. Learn about accomplishments of the DPMPC and the dedicated staff that have contributed to its success at www.stoppain.org/10thAnniversaryFund.pdf

New York State Legislation: Paid Family Leave Legislation Passes Assembly
In June, a Paid Family Leave bill (A. 9245) passed the New York State Assembly. The legislation, first proposed by Governor Eliot Spitzer, will expand the state's workers' compensation program to allow employees to take 12 weeks off to care for an ill family member or to bond with a new child. To fund this policy, employees will contribute an additional 45 cents a week from their paycheck enabling them to take up to twelve weeks off and receive up to $170 per week in wages. The bill is pending Senate approval. For more information on this bill at https://www.ny.gov/programs/paid-family-leave-strong-families-strong-ny

Federal Legislation: Safety of Seniors Act of 2007 (S. 845)
A new piece of legislation aimed at expanding falls-prevention research for America’s senior citizens is being introduced by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Maryland) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming). Falls cause serious decline in health for many seniors and often leads to death for those 65 and older. This legislation is also meant to assist family caregivers by providing them with useful tools to reduce or prevent falls within the home.

Support for Injured Service Members Act
On August 3, 2007, the Senate unanimously approved an amendment extending the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for up to six months for the families of wounded service members. The amendment, offered by Senators Dodd and Clinton, had bipartisan support. The measure, titled the Support for Injured Service Members Act, was included as an amendment to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill, which passed but was vetoed by President Bush.

Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act of 2007 Approved in Committee
The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has approved The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2007 (S. 898). Co-sponsored by Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the act takes significant steps in providing real relief for patients and families suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The Act doubles funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health from $640 million to 1.3 billion and will create a national summit on Alzheimer’s to look at the most promising breakthroughs. The bill also creates a system for caregiver support that provides updated news, resources, and tools for caregivers, families, and physicians.

Senate Committee Approves $58.6 Million Increase for Administration on Aging Funding for National Family Caregiver Support Program
On June 21, 2007, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 (S. 1710), which includes funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) and all other Older Americans Act (OAA) programs. The legislation would increase 2008 funding for the Administration on Aging (AoA), which administers the OAA, by $58.6 million, or about 4.2% over the current year, bringing AoA's budget to a total of $1.44 billion. This legislation is still pending.

For more information and updates on federal legislation, visit www.thomas.loc.gov

Caregiver Conferences

The following is a list of important events for National Caregivers Month and other conferences:

November 1-2, 2007
National Caregivers Conference
Iseline, NJ

November 7, 2007
Fearless Caregiver Conference
Estero, FL

November 9, 2007
Free Telephone Education Workshop Sponsored by Cancer Care: "Caregivers of Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer"
To register call 1-800-813-4673

November 10, 2007
"Tools and Talk for Young Caregivers"
San Francisco, CA
To register call 1-800-445-8106, Ext. 411

November 13 - 16, 2007
3rd Annual Tribal Family Caregiver Conference: "Honoring Our Circle of Tribal Caregivers"
Phoenix, AZ
To register call 602-258-8822

November 14, 2007
Fearless Caregiver Conference
New Haven, CT

November 14, 2007
Free Telephone Education Workshop Sponsored by Cancer Care: "Coping with a Loved One's Cancer During the Holidays"
To register call 1-800-813-4673

December 5, 2007
Fearless Caregiver Conference
Treasure Coast, FL

January 15, 22, and 29, 2008
A Space All Your Own: Using Link2Care Online Journal To Capture Your Caregiver Journey
To register call 1-800-445-8106 or visit www.caregiver.org

Helpful Caregiving Resources

American Pain Foundation Publishes New Pain Resource Guide
The American Pain Foundation has created a new booklet (.pdf) designed to help patients and their caregivers with the management of chronic pain. The booklet includes information about pain and advice regarding appropriate care.

New Diabetes Caregiver Guide on Caring Today Website
Caring Today Magazine has added a Diabetes Caregiver Guide to its website. The online guide offers information on a range of topics including communicating with the person in care, diet, insulin, health conditions, and resources.

Care.com Launches Online Caregiver Directory for "Sandwich Generation"
The Sandwich Generation is a term used to describe people who provide care to both a parent and a child. These individuals are often left scrambling to find helpful resources for their loved ones. Care.com, developed by the Senior Care Directory, offers a universal online network of care providers including senior care, child care, pet care and tutoring. Visitors can also get state-by-state local resources for their loved ones ranging from legal assistance to home health care. Launched in May 2007, the website gives complete access to care provider profiles including babysitters, nannies, tutors and senior care.


2. Beth Israel Medical Center Programs

Support Groups for Caregivers and Patients
The Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care is offering a caregiver support group for family members and friends of medically ill patients. This group will meet every week for 6 weeks beginning Tuesday, November 6, 2007 until Tuesday, December 11, 2007.

Caregiver Support Group: For Caregivers of Medically Ill Patients
Karpas Health Information Center
311 First Avenue (corner of 18th Street)
New York City
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 PM, Tuesdays for six weeks, starting November 6, 2007
Contact: Denise Flynn, LMSW, at (212) 844-1281

This program is made possible by grants from The New York Community Trust and the Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation.

Ongoing Support Groups for Caregivers of People with Parkinson's Disease (Dept. of Neurology)
Phillips Ambulatory Care Center
10 Union Square East, (between 14th and 15th Streets)
New York City
Afternoon groups meet in the 2nd floor conference room
Evening groups meet in Suite 5H conference room
Time: Thursday afternoons 2 - 4 PM and
         Wednesday evenings 6 - 8 PM
Contact: Call (212) 844-6134 to register

After-Stroke Support Group for Caregivers and Patients (Dept. of Neurology)
Phillips Ambulatory Care Center
10 Union Square East, 2nd Floor, (between 14th and 15th Streets)
New York City
Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM, every other Thursday
Contact: Daphne Gerson, LCSW, at (212) 844-8114 or Valerie Holden, MSW, at (212) 844-8127

At Beth Israel's Karpas Health Information Center:
For a listing of workshops that are available to caregivers, please call Karpas Health Information at (212) 420-4247 or follow this link.


3. New Medical Developments

Lung-Cancer Blood Test
A pharmaceutical company is developing a highly sensitive test that could catch a deadly disease--lung cancer--in its early stages. Researchers at Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Gaithersburg, MD, say they have found detectable levels of a certain protein in the blood of patients with all stages of lung cancer which is not normally detected in healthier patients. This discovery is a breakthrough for this particular cancer which currently has no approved screening procedure. For more information visit http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/19407


4. Advance Directives

End-of-Life Decisions
African-American Women Providing Care for a Family Member or Friend with Cancer
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a federal agency that is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the George Washington School of Public Health, would like to talk to women who are providing care for a family member or friend with cancer. They would like to learn about your caregiving experience and how you have coped. If you are

  • Female
  • African American
  • Between the ages of 31 and 80
  • Currently providing care for someone over the age of 20     with cancer, or you provided care for someone over the     age of 20 with cancer at end-of-life within the last year

Please call toll-free 1-888-249-0029 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm EDT)

You will be asked some questions about yourself and your caregiving experience. Participating in this study involves a total of 15-20 minutes by phone. If you qualify, eligible participants may be asked to provide additional information about their caregiving experiences in a follow-up telephone interview that will last approximately 45-60 minutes. For further information, see this Caregiver recruitment flyer (.doc).


5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: I’m 55 years old and am in perfectly good health. However, my elderly mother, who is 85, recently moved in with me. I understand the importance for her getting the flu shot, but would it be necessary for me?

Answer: Anyone can be at risk for getting the flu. It is particularly important for you as a caregiver to get immunized for a couple of different reasons. First, should you get the flu, you will be less likely to perform your caregiver duties, and second, you also run the risk of infecting your mother. You could be a carrier of the flu and not exhibit any symptoms, but still leave your mother vulnerable to exposure. Consult your physician or a health expert for professional advice on flu immunizations.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers detailed information on basic information regarding the flu, how to prevent yourself from getting it and what to do if you get sick. Please visit www.cdc.gov/flu

For the nearest clinic that offers flu shots in your area, see www.findaflushot.com

Your local state health agency or state aging agencies should also offer additional information on where to receive flu vaccinations. To locate your state health agency, visit Eldercare.gov.

Question: My husband recently returned home after serving in the Iraq War for two years. He is more irritable with our three kids and me, and he doesn’t sleep well. I’m not sure if he is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Where can I get information on the signs and symptoms of this disorder?

Answer: The Veterans Administration’s National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder would be a good place to start for helpful information. The center is located in Boston, MA; however, you can access needed information for veterans and their family members by visiting www.ptsd.va.gov

This newsletter is made possible by grants from The New York Community Trust and the Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Inc. in support of the Beth Israel Caregiver Resource Center. 

Have a question? Have caregiver news? Please contact us.