Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The medical community continues to disappoint!

I've been keeping an eye on Dad for many years; particularly his finances. But keeping an eye on Dad now includes assistance with his medical needs. Dad's 90 years old and in relatively good health following a hospital stay last Christmas due to a small heart attack and stroke. I'd received a tell tale call one evening. It was Dad, speaking in a slurred voice. My caretaker duties were expanded significantly on that fateful day.

Since then, we've had a number of reasons to call on our local hospital for assistance. But this hospital hasn't lived up to its own super medical center hype. And every new need turned into another sad incident where this unwitting caregiver was left to ferret out answers and probable solutions. Each failure of the medical community brought back memories of the failures before, until I'd finally had it! And so, I put pen to paper and fired off a letter of complaint.

My letter to the prez, of the hospital that is, hasn't been ignored. It took nearly a week, but an assistant to the president called, acknowledged my letter, and set more follow-up in motion. To date, I've heard from the Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehab Center department head. Though he began by reciting his department's mission statement, he ended by considering the implemention of a simple procedure I'd suggested. It's a start. There was a telling moment during my conversation with this young member of the hospital staff, however. I'd said that more and more Baby Boomers, now assuming responsibility for their elderly parents, would not be willing to accept the status quo. "As members of the Sandwich Generation", I began, but noticed the words had fallen on deaf ears. I asked if he was familiar with the term Sandwich Generation. He was not! This tells me more than I care to know about my local hospital.
"More than 25% of American families are involved in some way with elder/parent care."
"Recent studies say there are already about 10 million people in the U.S. who are members of the Sandwich Generation....and that their ranks will continue to swell as the population ages."
Quite obviously, I'm not alone in learning that some members of the medical profession are not on top of their game. And we, a huge wave of boomers as caregivers, are clearly ahead of the curve. The best we may be able to hope for is to lay the groundwork of change, for the caregivers who will follow. It's a sad commentary, but may be an even sadder truth.


carol stanley said...

I can see where this is truly a challenge today..People are living longer..tho not necessarily better. This need will bring about more reforms for elderly people...After all they have put their time in raising families and being productive citizens...carol stanley author of For Kids 59.99 and Over"

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