An Emergency Room Intervention for Family Caregivers


An Emergency Room Intervention for Family Caregivers

I started a quest to put family caregiver stress on the front page in 2014 after two eye-opening experiences:

In 2015, I decided to create a campaign to encourage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track another epidemic in our communities -- family caregiver stress. I tweeted, petitioned, emailed. (Read 7 Reasons Why We Need the CDC to Track Family Caregiver Stress.)

While I didn't make progress with the CDC, I did become more and more convinced that we need to focus on family caregiver stress and its source. Since the CDC doesn't track family caregiver stress, I decided in late 2015 to do it myself. Earlier this month, I shared the latest results of my Family Caregiver Stress Survey, now completed by more than 1,000 family caregivers. I also decided to do an on-going Five Day Stress Share to give family caregivers the opportunity to share how their stress changes from day-to-day. Check out the comments in this Five-Day Stress Share (click on each day to read the comments). (Our next Five-Day Stress Share begins July 29. If you're caring for a family member, we'd love for you to share your day-to-day stresses.)

As I worked in 2015 to create awareness of family caregiver stress, I regularly blogged about the solutions and opportunities we could create when we track caregiving stress and its source. One blog post, At Midnight, Your Hand Held, I shared how an intervention in the Emergency Room that supports the family caregiver could change that family caregiver's stress.

Four years later, I'm finally making progress in introducing an intervention in the Emergency Room. Two of our Certified Caregiving Consultants (Beth Suereth and Louisa Stringer) are in discussions with a hospital system in the Boston area to pilot an intervention. I'm in discussions with an Emergency Room doctor at a hospital system in the Midwest to pilot an intervention as well.

It's taken about a year to get this far. I've had lots of starts and stops trying to fund these interventions. I'd love your help in minimizing the stops so that we can get these programs started. Check out the two-page description of our Hospital Intervention for Family Caregivers. (Note: Our Care and Share moveable support groups can be another solution introduced during the hospitalization.)

Here's how you can help:

  • Tell us in the comments section if you know of any intervention used in an Emergency Room that supports family caregivers.

  • Tell us in the comment section, below, if you are familiar with any potential funding sources for these programs. Funding sources could be foundations, individuals or government agencies.

  • Tell us about your caregiving stress in our Stress Survey. In addition, please tell us how your stress impacts you. Please also participate in our next Five-Day Stress Share which begins July 29 and tell us how your caregiving stress changes from day to day.

  • Tell us about your experiences in the Emergency Room and how you would have felt being connected to support that's just for you. (You also can write a six-word story about your ER visits.)

  • Reach out to the presidential candidates we've invited to join us for four Town Hall meetings, including one at our Fourth Annual National Caregiving in November in Chicago.

Thank you so much for any and all help!! I will keep you posted.


  • The stress results inspired my webinar series, Coping with the Fatigues. We grow weary of bad luck, coping, supporting, grieving. The webinar series offers ways to help from each specific fatigue. We currently offer nine webinars in the series which you can watch as often as you need. (We'll be adding more webinars in the series so feel free to check back regularly.)

  • We have three daily chats at 9 a.m. ET, 2 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET for anyone caring for a family member or friend. We also have a weekly chat on Sundays at 7 p.m. ET for anyone adjusting to life after caregiving ends. Learn more about our caregiving chats.

  • If you are in the ER or hospital with our caree, please feel free to join our "I'm in the ER or Hospital" chat room to connect with others also managing a careers hospital stay. (Please note: This chat is an open, unmoderated chatroom. If no one is in the chatroom when you first join, please feel free to keep the chatroom up in case another joins after you. If you'd like to volunteer to man our Hospital chatroom, please feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me with an email to denise @

  • Read my two series about caregiving stress, The Path to Stress, and Imagine.

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