Caretaker mental health is absolutely critical.

If you are a caretaker for someone with cancer or another serious illness, it’s easy to become tired and burned out. Help with caregiving for chronic illness is challenging. And long before someone is eligible for hospice, it’s often difficult to know where to turn for help. Palliative Care is one option, but many folks still need education about the role palliative care teams can play. Fortunately, access to rural care is improving through the use of Telemedicine/Telehealth. And agencies like ours, delivering home care and care-coordination in a person-centered community based way, supported by value-based payment models, are increasing.

Still, much of the focus in service descriptions doesn’t speak enough about the experience of caretakers. Dr. Brian Mistler, ResolutionCare Network’s president, is doing even more to raise awareness about caretaker depression and ways we can support professionals in reducing the risk for suicide.

Suicide risk training is more likely to be needed than CPR training, yet many clinicians aren’t adequately trained to assess for suicide risk in their patients, colleagues, or loved ones. Understanding the dynamic nature of suicidal thoughts is critical to providing “mental health first aid” in a time of increasing isolation and hopelessness.

HPNA and SWHPN Logos

To that end, the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) are sponsoring a series of joint sessions with Brian Mistler, PhD, clinical psychologist and President of ResolutionCare Network, for a discussion on how clinicians can better understand suicide risk, methods for assessment, and how to reduce suicide risk for patients and families during times of anxiety and depression. If you missed the last one, March 9th, it is available in recoding through SWHPN by contacting info@swhpn.org.

If you are (or please consider forwarding this to) a social worker, nurse, physician, or other clinical professional please consider joining HPNA, SWHPN, and Dr. Mistler for the next training for clinical professionals, “Suicide Ambivalence Over Time – Advance Risk Analysis and Q&A” on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT.

The webinar is free to attend, but registration is required. You may register here.

If you’re a caretaker or someone who may benefit from our palliative care team, please consider taking our self assessment here.