By Deborah, our SNP Coordinator and LPN
As Mother’s Day came, I thought a lot about how valuable you all are. Not just mothers and fathers, but all of you who may have stepped up to the role of caregiver day in and day out in the lives of our individuals. No one knows your family member like you do and no one is better equipped at making their needs known to others. Maybe these pointers from Exceptional Parent Magazine will help remind all of us how vital a role family members play in the lives of the individuals we serve at DRTC:
- Have confidence in your ability to advocate for your family member. No one knows him/her better than you and no one is as motivated to see them achieve their optimal potential.
- Identify your family member’s strengths. Develop outcomes that focus on competencies rather than deficits.
- Get to know case managers, program coordinators, and other members of the team. Learn all you can about the system/program that provides services.
- Understand your rights as caregiver and/or guardian. Understand the systems’ procedures and policies.
- Ask for information about support groups. Develop relationships with other families who can relate to you.
- Keep a notebook of information and phone numbers related to your family member’s medical and developmental issues for quick reference. Keep documentation regarding progress, set backs, injuries, behavior, etc.
- Prepare for evaluations and assessments. Schedule these at times your family member will be awake and rested, and when you are able to concentrate and participate.
- Prepare for the annual Individual Plan meeting by reviewing last year’s goals/plan. Compare those old goals to how they are doing now. Think about future goals. Know what is important for you, your child, and your family. Know what is realistic, given your schedule and routines. Identify available natural resources and supports.
- Anticipate and plan transitions for your family member. Help the team identify necessary steps in assisting when changes occur.
- Promote effective communication with your program coordinator/case manager and other team members. Return phone calls; keep appointments and call ahead to cancel when necessary. Help prepare your family member by reminding them of upcoming appointments.
- Give positive feedback to team members when things go well and work out disagreements in a respectful manner. Keep the lines of communication open.
- Work to establish a bond of mutual respect with the professionals involved with your family. Remember you are part of the team!
I found these pointers good reminders for me. They are things we’ve heard before but are worth repeating from time to time.