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The Clinician's Role in Helping to Manage Family Caregiver Stress

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial— Lisa Milliken receives compensation from MedBridge for the production of this course. There are no other relevant financial relationships. Nonfinancial— No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Video Runtime: 51 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 9 Minutes

Prolonged periods of unmanaged stress can lead to multiple health issues, such as cardiovascular problems, lower immunity, a decreased response to vaccine, slower wound healing, and higher levels of chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, arthritis, ulcers, and anemia). We see the results of ongoing stress levels in the clients we support, their caregivers, who are often referred to as “the second patient,” and our own colleagues. These people are then at an increased risk of overwhelming physical, social, and financial burdens. How can we support caregivers and colleagues to manage their stress and prevent such negative physiological and secondary risks of chronic stress, resulting in improved care for the clients we serve? And how can we improve clinical outcomes of our clients by helping them to manage high stress levels that often occur with so many changing factors in their lives?

This course was developed for professionals and health care providers in multiple settings and will initially review the physiological response to ongoing stress, followed by the keys to recognizing the sources and symptoms of stress. Multiple types and levels of support strategies will be shared, including practical strategies and the rationales of how each one can be effective.

Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. The Physiological Evidence of Prolonged Stress

Initially, this chapter will review the types and sources of stress, ranging from fears to habitual behavior patterns leading to distress. Then the physiological reaction to stress will be explained, including the conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA), the resulting neuro-inflammatory sensitization to adversity, and the subsequent risks of health problems and secondary risks.

2. Keys to Recognizing the Sources and Symptoms of Stress

This chapter will provide research-based information on how to recognize the sources of stress as well as how to understand the strongest predictors of caregiver burden. Then the emotional and physical symptoms of caregiver stress will be reviewed to help identify reactions in people that are the result of their internal stress levels. Case studies will be shared from a variety of caregivers across the continuum of backgrounds and settings.

3. Why the Management of Stress Is Critical for the Caregiver and for the Client’s Clinical Outcome

This chapter addresses the significance of the caregiver’s mental and physical health, including why the caregiver's health status is so important to the care of the patient/client. This applies to all caregivers, from unpaid family members to the paid professionals who provide care in a clinical or school setting. Examples will be shared to support the points of this chapter.

4. Tools and Resources to Support the Caregiver and Client

Initially, this chapter will address some of the frequent secondary components of stress, such as depression and anxiety, as well as the types of help available for these conditions. Then multiple types and levels of support strategies for stress management will be shared, including practical strategies and the rationales of how each one can be effective. Recommendations will range from technology-based interventions to instrumental, emotional, and informational support strategies.

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