Family Caregivers Month: Health and Welfare a Top Priority

DODD salutes family caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month. The 2014 theme, ‘Care Comes Home,’ acknowledges that care does not always take place in hospitals, nursing homes, or doctors’ offices, and that a large percentage of caregiving occurs in a family home. Across the nation, nearly 90 million people play this critically important and sometimes exhausting role in the lives of people with developmental disabilities. And, many families headed by parents entering their senior years will be looking to their children and extended family members to step in when they are no longer able to care for a family member with a disability.

Helping to ensure the health and welfare of all family members involved in the caregiving process is a key priority for DODD, and is the purpose of DODD Health and Welfare Alerts. Ohio’s health and safety system for individuals with developmental disabilities is built on incident prevention, providing timely care when needed, and appropriate reporting. The periodic Alerts provide critical information to caregivers on specific subjects for which DODD has identified a risk to peoples’ health and welfare. Each Alert provides timely data, additional resources, and guidance to the field on what can be done to avoid or minimize a risk.

Toward that positive outcome, two DODD Health and Welfare Alerts, Preventing the Flu, and Winter Weather have been updated and reposted online. DODD Deputy Director Scott Phillips explained,

Health and Welfare Alerts are derived from Ohio data, and are created to give all Ohio providers of DD services an opportunity to have consistent and up-to-date information. Sharing it allows the system to be proactive in avoiding future negative outcomes.”

Phillips added, “Each time someone takes action as a result of critical information shared in a Health and Welfare Alert, a serious injury — or even a death — can be avoided.”

In addition, DODD supports key state agency initiatives such as Steady U, a program to prevent falls, led by the Ohio Department of Aging.  Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans aged 65 and older. See additional specific information in the DODD Health and Welfare Alert, Falls.  National Family Caregivers Month offers a good opportunity to think about home safety, as well as to thank those who help others stay safe and healthy all year.

For more information regarding DODD Health and Welfare Alerts, contact the MUI/Registry Unit at 614- 995-3810, and read Well-Informed Newsletter, October 20, 2014.