Living with an ICD

University of Michigan Health System promotes ICD peer-mentoring program and a personal connection

Jeanette McDonald - solo blog

Jeanette McDonald’s trip to Yellowstone National Park last September marked the first time in nearly three years this ICD patient was far from medical resources. Today, she is ready to reach out to other patients.

What if you were told you had a condition that required you to have a device implanted in your body to save your life? It would be a hard reality to accept — one filled with uncertainty and fear. But if you met someone who was living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and had a full, happy life, that person might alleviate some of your fears by sharing their story and proving that life isn’t over — just changing to adapt to a new reality.

This is the concept for a unique peer-mentoring program at the University of Michigan Health System designed to help those facing life-changing procedures, such as an ICD.

The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center has paired up with the Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) Program to pilot peer-mentoring initiatives aimed at helping patients with specific health challenges. The U-M outpatient implantable cardioverter defibrillator clinic has been selected as one of the first five sites to pilot such a program. Continue reading

Preventing caregiver burnout

Take care of yourself for caregiver success: 10 tips

Caregivers all agree: Focusing on yourself when you’re caring for a loved one is difficult at best. But caring2blogcaring for yourself and doing what’s needed to stay happy and healthy are important to your success as a caregiver and in avoiding caregiver burnout.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re the best you can be, despite the emotional and physical challenges of caregiving:

  1. Take time to do small things that bring simple pleasures: Take a walk, listen to music, engage in a hobby or bake a favorite dessert — anything that makes you happy.
  2. Pamper yourself with a massage, pedicure, yoga class – whatever makes you feel relaxed and renewed.
  3. Take care of your body: Eat a well-balanced diet and be sure to get enough sleep. Take naps when you need to. Exercise as much as possible – but realize that even a short, brisk walk is helpful to your mind and body.
  4. Don’t lose your sense of humor. Call a friend who makes you laugh, read a feel-good book or rent a light-hearted movie. Continue reading