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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / The Philadelphia Experiment /   Editorial List

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The Philadelphia Experiment


As we approached our 61st Fearless Caregiver conference last month (our fourth Philadelphia event), I found myself thinking about what these days have represented to those in attendance at the previous 60 events.  As I conjured up standing in the middle of so many rooms in so many cities across the nation over the past ten years, filled with caregivers eager to share themselves with one another: their experiences, concerns and even fears, one answer was of course - the sense of shared community created within those four walls.

Yet, I think that there is actually another significant answer to consider.  It is that throughout the day, it becomes clear that we caregivers are actually our loved one's best advocates within the healthcare system and that we can truly be treated as full partners to those professionals caring for our loved ones.

 Sometime before last monthís event I also started thinking that caregivers need to be able to be easily recognized for our important position on the team.  Not wearing scrubs or white jackets, and in most cases not having advanced healthcare degrees, we still need to be able to be seen for our role as Fearless Caregivers and for good measure, let people know how strongly we feel about our position on the team.  So we developed our own uniform, which was quickly embraced by the attendees in Philadelphia.  There are two versions of this uniform, one which states our position loud and clear and one a little more subtly. (Guess which one is embraced, 10 to 1 by the caregivers who request them.)

One caregiver told me she bought two, one type to wear in public and one to wear whenever she takes her loved one to a medical appointment.  Now, thatís someone not to mess with!



Gary Barg