Doing TWO Assessments
To meet the needs of the whole family, principally the care receiver and the caregivers, GCMs need to begin assessing the caregiver as well as the care receiver. A caregiver assessment is defined by the National Center on Caregiving at the Family Caregiver Alliance as a systematic process of gathering the information that describes the caregiving situation and identifies particular problems, needs, resources, and strengths of a family caregiver. This new measure means that the care manager must see issues from a caregiver’s perspective and culture focuses on what assistance the caregiver may need, examine outcomes the family member wants for support and seeks to maintain the caregiver’s own health and well-being.
Create a Circle of Care
One resource that a GCM can bring to a caregiving family is what Gail Sheehy calls a circle of care. To create this supportive connection, the GCM needs to take her or his coaching skills and put together a support system around the formerly isolated, solitary family caregiver. The GCM can coach the family caregiver to ask for help so the GCM can assist in reorganizing the family so adult siblings can share in the care of the older client with the identified family caregiver. The GCM is what Sheehy calls a compassionate coach who can help the beleaguered caregiver attract and assemble a platform to keep on giving the care she or he wants to give the aging person.
A circle of care includes emotional resources for the direct family caregiver. These emotional resources could and should include adult siblings. Reconnecting midlife brothers and sisters, through the circle of care, is an important GCM task, as siblings are the longest and deepest relationships in any person’s life. The GCM may have to depend on his or her clinical skills in helping siblings with forgiveness or reconnecting siblings who live long distances apart to add them to a circle of care. Midlife siblings have often spent the last 30 years tending to their own families, so the point of reconnection of midlife brothers and sisters often happens when they are in middle age in the midst of a crisis in parent care. This is where the GCM needs to employ clinical skills in midlife sibling work or to find the resources for the family to help with this healing sibling reconnection.