Photo by Vlada Karpovich

“At some point in their journey, every caregiver will ask themselves, ‘When did I go from being the adult child to the parent?'” -excerpt from Gaccetta’s One Caregiver’s Journey.

Hospice is in a state of flux. The industry is evolving with the changing healthcare landscape in terms of practice, payment models, and the pervasive presence of technology. Hospices nationwide are leveraging technological advancement to improve their workflows, improve efficiency and enhance patient care.

Technologies such as predictive analytics, telemedicine systems, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality are gradually changing how hospice care is delivered. Technology, from this standpoint of it, allows you to add another layer of care, whether that be telephonic, whether that be a centralized view of your charts, or being able to count on call center technology or data analytic techniques to understand what is going on with a patient’s illness and when they have the highest probability of exacerbation. Hence, technology has a huge role to play in that. Telemedicine is also becoming increasingly important in hospice care for communities nationwide. Still, the technology is making its most significant impact in rural areas where clinicians may have to travel substantial distances to reach the patient or in regions that are not accessible to hospice or palliative care clinicians.

Now, confronted with an ever-aging population, more and more Americans find themselves caring for the individuals (s) who once were wholly responsible for taking care of them. Gaccetta wrote in her book, One Caregiver’s Journey, that “At some point in their journey every caregiver will ask themselves, “When did I go from being the adult child to the parent?”

One Caregiver’s Journey

“There are times when the isolation of being a caregiver sends you outdoors and makes you think you’ve gone bonkers.”

After a forty-year career with state and county government in Colorado, author Gaccetta found herself in the position of providing round-the-clock care to her 92-year-old mother, twenty-four hours a day. This journey occurred the last nine and a half years of her mother’s life. The stories intimately shared in this book are a personal documentation of that decade of her caregiving experiences and a comprehensive guide for anyone new to the primary, full-time caregiver role. It is a caregiver’s blueprint. Reading this book, you will feel like you are in the author’s living room, and she is telling her story and offering great advice and information.

Eleanor Gaccetta takes the reader through detailed considerations of many matters. These include documentation (medication lists, power of attorney plans), handicap placards (if applicable), doctor and all medical visits, and the like. Of particular consideration is honest communication and maintaining a healthy sense of humor. Further, Gaccetta discusses diversions (including trusted fallback people who can lighten the load from time to time), germs and keeping the house clean and disinfected (Mr. Clean and Mr. Clorox quickly became two of her best friends, she jokes), discouraging visitors when they are under the weather and safety in and around the home.

Author’s Profile

Gaccetta, a second-generation Italian, grew up in a community of small family farms where she writes, “the village was close-knit, and the success of one family equated to the success of them all.” She does not shy away from using humor and employs the device liberally and intelligently. This is true both in the writing of her memoir and caregiver guide and throughout the day-to-day interactions with her mom. For example, chapter titles such as “100 Ways to Repeat the Same Question” and “How to Ensure Brain Damage and Help a Neighbor” capture attention with their witty phrasing. She shares her tale and that of her mother with dignity, openness, an abundance of practical information, and anecdotes of both the blessings and the difficulties of full-time caregiving.

Check out Gaccetta’s One Caregiver’s Journey in Amazon or visit her website to know more about her book.