Dressing the Part: Family Caregiver, MD

Denise

Dressing the Part: Family Caregiver, MD

Denise
Earlier this week, I attended the Science of Caregiving in Bethesda, Maryland.

Throughout the two-day event, panelists and attendees spoke about the invisible role of family caregivers in the health care system. On the second day of the conference, an idea clicked for me.

A few years ago, one of our members created an identification badge we could wear to the hospital, the doctor's office and during interactions with health care professionals. The badge identified us as family caregivers and our relationship with our carees. One of our members wore the badge to his mother's doctor's appointment. The doctor's office staff immediately asked him to remove the badge as it violated HIPAA regulations. (It didn't but we couldn't convince the staff otherwise.)

This interaction with the staff took the wind out of our sails about our badge.

On Tuesday, I had another thought about how we can identify ourselves as being a critical part of our caree's health care team.

What if we wore a lab coat?

Lab coats are affordable (check out allheart.com and uniformcity.com) and immediately place us on the health care team. We can personalize our own lab coats with emblems, labels and names and choose a color for our lab coat which stands out.

After all, physicians and health care professionals provide once-in-awhile care. We provide all-the-time care. We care at night, on weekends, on holidays. We care every day. We are the health care system.

Consider:

Because we're in the system, we need to dress the part.

What do you think? Would you wear a lab coat during doctor's appointments, hospitalizations and interactions within the health care system?

And, what would think of a Caregiving Lab Coat week where we all show up in the health care system wearing a lab coat we've personalized to reflect our experiences? I'm also thinking about adding a Lab Coat fashion show during our fashion show segment on November 11 at our Second Annual National Caregiving Conference. During our fashion show, we can show off how we've personalized and decorated our lab coats.

I'd love to know what you think. Share your thoughts in our comments section, below.