Virtual Caregiving Summit, Day 6


Virtual Caregiving Summit, Day 6

Our Virtual Caregiving Summit introduces you to our presenters and panelists at our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference (NCC18). Our conference will take place on Friday, November 9, and Saturday, November 10, at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare, conveniently located minutes from O’Hare and a subway ride from downtown Chicago. Our agenda features family caregivers and former family caregivers sharing their experiences, insights and solutions.

Today we introduce you to Helen Bauer, Jerry Fenter, Diane Glittenberg and Dr. Sam Harrington.

Meet Helen Bauer
Helen has been an RN for over 25 years, and a hospice RN for over 8 years. She holds the distinction of being a Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Nurse. In 2017 she unexpectedly became a personal caregiver & MPOA for a family friend. This experience increased her understanding of the role of the personal caregiver, including the importance of advance care planning, and strengthened her desire to encourage healthy self care for caregivers. In the past 1 ½ years, Helen helped launch The Heart of Hospice project, providing education about end of life issues, caregiving, and self care. She writes the blog for The Heart of Hospice website, and co-hosts the weekly and monthly podcasts. Helen has served as a hospice case manager, providing education for patients and caregivers, and a director of nursing, providing hospice professionals with tools and training to improve the quality of care for their patients. She is a current member of the education committee of the Texas New Mexico Hospice Organization, and has been a presenter at their annual conference for the past 2 years.

Helen will lead a presentation about Advance Care Planning. In 2017, Helen Bauer was surprised to discover that she had been named as the MPOA for a family friend. This friend had never communicated her healthcare wishes to anyone, so Helen was left to navigate unknown waters without a map. Due to her work in end of life care as a hospice certified RN, she was able to make appropriate care decisions that included electing hospice and signing an Out of Hospice Do Not Resuscitate document. The numerous caregiving decisions were challenging, such as finding a new living environment for a totally dependent person, making funeral arrangements, calculating expenses, managing finances and creditors, and dealing with complicated family dynamics. In the current healthcare climate that seeks to initiate extreme life-saving measures in every case, it’s more important than ever to discuss advance care plans with the people who are important to you. Advance Care Planning involves making your healthcare wishes known while you’re able to make those decisions, before something occurs that renders you incapable of making your own healthcare choices. This may not seem important until the time comes when it’s too late, and life-altering decisions are now in the hands of someone else. Consequences of the lack of Advance Care Planning can impact the life of caregivers, depleting health, energy, and finances. The benefits of Advance Care Planning are innumerable, and relieve so much of the caregiving burden.

Meet Jerry Fenter
Jerry has worked in hospice care as a spiritual counselor for the last 8 years. During his time working in hospice, he was a caregiver for his terminally ill mother, experiencing all the aspects of anticipatory grief along with the daily caregiving challenges. Over the last 1 ½ years, Jerry has launched The Heart of Hospice project, designed to provide education about end of life issues, caregiving, and self care. Jerry works diligently to make The Heart of Hospice website, blog, and podcast a source of information and encouragement to personal and professional caregivers. He has a work history of over 30 years in counseling and faith-based ministry. The time Jerry spent his mother’s caregiver gave him unique insight into the mindset and struggles that personal caregivers face every day. His current position as a System Director of Spiritual Counselors allows him to share that knowledge with his hospice colleagues. His work as a spiritual counselor has allowed him the opportunity to come alongside multiple personal caregivers from the beginning of their caregiving journey all the way through bereavement. Jerry was the founder of the Southeast Texas Chaplains Alliance, a community organization for spiritual counselors. He has also spoken at the Texas New Mexico Hospice Organization conference multiple years, speaking on self care, professional boundaries, and diversity.

In his presentation, Jerry will discuss Diversity Competency which focuses on helping the family caregiver practice self awareness for both explicit and implicit biases that can influence the caregiver’s ability to provide unbiased care. Explicit biases are observable, known biases that each person has based on life experiences. Implicit biases challenge our self awareness skills as part of our subconscious minds.
Every person carries identified characteristics that help to define who he or she is. Labels based on gender, age, sexual orientation, generation, economic status, education, gender identity, race, family role, health status, military service, faith beliefs, and political ideation help to shape our biases. We tend to seek out connections that share our identity labels. This can create intolerance of those who wear different labels. These biases, or prejudices, can invade our caregiving actions. Whether explicit or implicit, the type of care we provide can become provider-centered actions rather than patient-centered interventions. The trick is to create a sense of self awareness so we as caregivers realize how our biases might lead us to provide less than the best care that our loved ones or clients deserve.
Harvard University has a self awareness tool specifically designed to identify personal biases. By identifying where our prejudices lie, we can create tolerance in ourselves as we recognize that our shared humanity unifies us more than our differences divide us.

Meet Diane Glittenberg
Diane studied vocal music at the University of Illinois and continues to sing in her church choir and at other events. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner, a Certified Caregiving Consultant, and a Certified Caregiving Educator. She cared for her father, who had dementia, and currently cares for her mother who has Lewy Body Dementia. After losing her position as a manager at a jewelry store, she decided to take a different direction for her career. In addition to caring for her mom, she works for Comfort Keepers and help other family members take care of their loved ones so that they can remain in their homes for a long as possible. This past July she got promoted to the Continuing Education Administrator position at Comfort Keepers. She enjoys being able to train and share her experiences with the caregivers. This has been the most rewarding career choice she has ever made. She looked for ways to bring comfort to her mother and began looking into music and how it would help. She shares her vocal talents with the resident's at a local nursing home once a month. She enjoys seeing the residents' faces brighten up when singing their favorite Hymns and songs. Diane hopes to be able to help other caregivers to create personalized music playlists for their carees and for themselves.

Music therapy is a new and exciting treatment in the area of dementia. The use of music with persons with dementia shows promising results, giving them some sense of clarity in recalling memories. In her session, Diane will share how to bring music into your own personal situation. Personalized music can also be a source of comfort for the family caregiver as well, helping the family caregiver to be their best in the worst of times.

Meet Dr. Sam Harrington
Dr. Harrington is the author of "At Peace: Choosing a Good Death After a Long Life." Through his own experience with his parents and patients, Dr. Harrington describes the terminal patterns of the six most common chronic diseases; how to recognize a terminal diagnosis even when the doctor is not clear about it; how to have the hard conversation about end-of-life wishes; how to minimize painful treatments; and when to seek hospice care. Currently, the estimated population of Americans who are 65 and older is well over fifty million strong. AT PEACE is a relevant and necessary resource for families across the board. Samuel Harrington, MD, a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Wisconsin Medical School, concentrated his practice at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC. His work as Sibley's patient safety officer representative to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Board of Trustees and his service on the board of a nonprofit hospice in Washington D.C. informed his passion for helping aged patients make appropriate end-of-life decisions.

During his presentation, Dr. Harrington will share his perspectives on the American healthcare system, disease trajectories, end-of-life decision making, and distinguishing between treating and caring, so that we can find peace for ourselves and our carees. He will be available to answer your questions.

Conference Details

We are so very grateful for the support of the following sponsors of our National Caregiving Conference, especially AARP, this year's title sponsor:

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