Landmark Celebrates Social Workers
March is National Social Work Month.
As life expectancy increases, the number of people living at home with multiple chronic illnesses grows. Many people now find themselves in the role of “caregiver” for a loved one with serious chronic illness.
On average, family caregivers spend about 24 hours each week providing care to a family member. Nearly one in four caregivers spend 41 hours or more per week providing care.1 This is often in addition to formal employment, taking care of children, and other household chores. As such, many caregivers find themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Caregiver burn-out occurs when caregivers try to do too much. Many caregivers feel stress, anxiety, or depression ― and even guilt when taking time for themselves.
Landmark takes a holistic approach to caring for patients and their caregivers. While assessing the patient’s needs, our interdisciplinary team also considers the home environment and what caregiver supports are in place. Keeping the patient’s goals as the primary focus, we help ensure that added supports are available when needed. A Landmark social worker can help assess the patient’s supports and what outside resources may be available.
Using a “person-in-environment” approach, Landmark also considers the needs of the caregiver. Does the caregiver seem overwhelmed, exhausted, or stressed? Are community resources, such as caregiver respite programs, available to provide family caregivers a much needed and well-deserved break? By considering both the patient’s needs, and the caregiver supports, we help address caregiver burnout.
The following story shows how a Landmark social worker addressed the needs of a family caregiver.
Sally* is an 88-year-old female who lives at home with her husband, John*. Sally has Alzheimer’s dementia, a history of stroke, and falls frequently at home. Sally is minimally verbal, so her dedicated husband anticipates her daily needs. The Landmark provider requested a social work referral, because she noticed that John appeared overwhelmed by Sally’s growing care needs.
The Landmark social worker completed an in-home assessment of Sally and John’s needs and support system. John expressed how much he loves Sally and is happy to care for her, yet admitted feeling exhausted by the 24/7 duty of caregiving.
The social worker referred Sally and John to a local senior services organization who approved Sally for an in-home stair lift and a weekly care assistant to provide caregiver respite. John can now safely transport Sally up the stairs to the bedroom and can leave the house for a few hours weekly with assurance that there is a caregiver at home. The social worker also helped connect John to the Alzheimer’s Association for disease-specific education and access to the 24/7 support line.
Reach out if you need help.
If you are feeling overwhelmed as the family caregiver of a Landmark patient, or if you are a Landmark patient and you feel that your caregiver is exhausted, request to talk with a Landmark social worker.
*Patient and caregiver names changed to protect their identities.