Mission to Help Others like Me
Searching for Others Like Me
I enjoy helping others. When in a group, I feel most comfortable if I’m serving in some way. The jobs and projects to which I commit my time are service-oriented. Therefore, it’s no surprise that God gave me the desire to have a mission devoted to helping caregivers find the resources and support they need in their roles.
I first felt the desire to help other caregivers when Lynn was a patient in ICU. Therefore, you might say my mission project actually started as far back as 2010. During that long ICU stay, I felt God’s pull toward taking those first steps in reaching out to other caregivers by establishing my first caregiver blog.
During his first week of admission, I became very friendly with the nursing staff but became particularly close to one nurse whose husband also had multiple sclerosis. We shared war stories, and during those late-night talks, I realized how helpful it was to share the burden with someone else. The idea to start a blog about caregiving was born, and I began “MS Caregiver Sharing” after his discharge home a month later. I guess you could say it was my first caregiver mission field.
Caregiver Mission Field Expands
My blog became popular with the MS caregiver base, and https://Multiplesclerosis.Net picked up my writings in 2007, which allowed me to touch a broader MS audience. As my caregiver mission field grew, Lynn’s condition worsened, work demands grew, and I could not often write after a few years. Just before my retirement, I stopped writing altogether for a while. A job change occurred, and I wrote for a while before retiring, which sparked my interest.
With Retirement, Felt God Had a Plan, But What?
When I retired in 2018, I felt God had something else in store for me, but I wasn’t sure what. I knew it involved writing and thought it might be a book. I started writing but realized I wanted to connect with others and share what I knew. Over the years, I had gained so much knowledge that could help make life easier for other beginning caregivers. I was frustrated with hearing about hospitals and doctors’ offices not explaining to families what they needed to do when they got home.
Plumbers, teachers, students, elderly spouses suddenly became medical caregivers of family members barely labeled in stable condition in some cases before being sent home. They don’t have the
- emotional support they need for their well being,
- the training they need to problem solve the unexpected,
- knowledge to know how to prevent problems,
- resources available to safely perform their jobs at home
- contacts necessary to reach out for help, and
- time available to research where to go to find it.
Most caregivers were left to “figure it out” independently or called their nurse friends to help them.
Caregivers Have No Resources but Personal Friends
However, if they did not have a nurse friend like me, they had no one to call to ask what to do if something goes wrong; no one to get suggestions on where to go for supplies or ask how much something should cost. Caregivers listen to instructions thinking they understand what to do when they go home; however, after beginning a procedure, they discover the healthcare provider forgot to tell them something important such as there will probably be a foul odor present, a lot of bleeding, and how to handle pain concerns.
Healthcare Providers Give Hospital Procedures Not Home Instructions
Health care providers give instructions based on hospital regulations and with supplies readily at their fingertips. Once a caregiver gets home, there are no sterile bandages, no tape, scissors, sterile basins, sterile gloves, rolling tables, sinks, or good lighting in the room. The dog is running by nearly turning over the supply tray, the kids are trying to climb onto the bed, the wound is bleeding through the bandage onto the bed, and the caregiver can’t read what they wrote down as they try to do the bandage change. My mission is to help make that “bandage change” go smoother for the caregiver.
Partnering with Church Outreach
I’ve decided to promote my website by partnering with churches. Churches are great at providing outreach to their members. Who cares for God’s people better, and who wants to provide for the needs of others more than a church?
Jesus is the Ultimate Caregiver
Jesus is THE Healer. He’s THE Ultimate Caregiver. He Cares for His family, the Church, and the people of the world He wants to heal. His love and compassion know no end. He’s experienced the pain and suffering of carrying our burdens on His back and caring for our needs. Therefore, I am blessed to work with outreach ministries to extend a helping hand to caregivers who need help with the burdens they carry physically, mentally, and spiritually. That’s the caregiver mission of Becoming a Family Caregiver.
To provide specific instructions for patient care procedures potentially performed at home, including potential risks, troubleshooting, and tips.
Method: Provide links to YouTube videos that demonstrate patient care procedures. The visual presentation allows the viewer to see a successful demonstration, the type of supplies and equipment needed, and some techniques used to accomplish the tasks. Video also allows for instant replay. Written instructions may be provided in some classes, including tips about common mistakes, warning related to potential risks, ways to avoid infection, what normal vs. abnormal looks like, and other helpful information.
Caregivers may request to use Facetime or Duo to set up an observation or discussion session and a confidence or troubleshooting session.
To provide suggestions related to setting up life as a caregiver, including tips on finding resources, guidance on problem-solving, help with common daily routines, answers to dealing with outside agencies, etc.
Method: To provide informative articles and blogs on caregiving topics gained from research or personal experience.
To provide encouragement and emotional support to caregivers through sharing what I know, being a resource, sharing God’s love, introducing them to other caregivers, and avenues of support.
Method: Provide blogs and articles of encouragement, insights into coping with caregiving, and, if possible, virtual or in-person support groups or online communities (future dream).