When outfitting an expedition, one has to plan for everything: from the rare but potentially catastrophic dangers (raging lions, swollen rivers, thunderous storms) to the mundane, commonplace annoyances (fleas, thorns, thirst, hunger) that can be just as deadly. Caregiving is also often a long and difficult journey. There are harrowing crises mixed in with the mundane challenges of everyday caregiving. Both can be overwhelming, but the latter has been neglected. We can and must do better in outfitting caregivers — with technologies, services and support — for all aspects of their journey.
At Australia's Health Informatics Conference 2012 in Sydney, I gave a keynote address on "Outfitting Families for Caregiving Journeys" highlighting the importance and challenges of dealing with the mundane aspects of caregiving -- the overwhelming, and seemingly never-ending, torrent of widely varying, trivial tasks shared amongst a loose network of family and friends. Through stories of actual caregiving situations I make these issues "real". In the talk I also describe my own efforts over the past few years to address this issue, and the opportunity for healthcare professionals to better prepare families for caregiving crises via addressing the mundane.