Enhance the health and quality of life for Oklahoma seniors by increasing access to geriatric healthcare, providing excellence in health education, an optimizing health and policy
story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer
The Family Caregiver Workshop reaches out to the community by means of senior centers, hospitals, clinics, home health, hospices and nursing homes said Nancy Brittain, RN/Nurse Liaison at the Northeast Center of Healthy Aging, OHAI region in Tulsa. “There are many caregivers in the community trying to care for loved ones, but they do not know about OHAI,” Brittain said. “Therefore word of mouth goes along way.”
The Family Caregiver Workshop consists of skills training to include how to transfer your loved from a bed to a wheelchair, medication management, nutrition, home safety, as well as disease process affecting Oklahoma Seniors. Some of these diseases include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Alzheimer Disease/Dementia and Diabetes.
This workshop is designed for the primary caregiver to enhance their caregiving skills and fuel them with knowledge needed to provide appropriate and safe care to their loved ones.
“We want to encourage caregivers to reach out and understand what their role is, “Brittain said. “ “The caregiver is a vital part of the health care team”
Kari Kennedy-Gregory, RN Educator/Coordinator at the Central Center for Health Aging offers workshops from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday and Fridays for the caregiver.
“Caregivers arrive and I assess their needs and discuss their struggles which are faced with caregiving,” Gregory said. There is a simulated senior apartment utilized in conjunction with a skills laboratory for training. “We talk about the importance of understanding DNR’s (Do Not Resituate) Advance Directives and Living Wills.
“The caregivers naturally create their own caregiver support group within the workshop”, Gregory said.
Another center is in the process of implementation said Joyce Small, RN Educator/Liaison at the Southwest Center of Healthy Aging, OHAI in Lawton. “We are the third region on board with starting the Family Caregiver Workshops; I have enjoyed the opportunity to observe the classes, Small said. They really do get involved and it is a platform for them to really start voicing caregiver needs.”
“People in the classes feel comfortable and freely discuss the challenges they face. Their interaction is therapeutic to one another,” Small said.