In the United States, there is a huge emphasis on doctors as caregivers and experts, and that is why we need a new definition of caretakers that takes into account their role in their patients’ lives.
Dr. Dara A. Katz, an associate professor of health policy and management at the University of California-San Diego, believes that doctors can and should be part of the caretaker role, and the definition should be “caretaker” to include “care providers, caregivers, social workers, and community-based care workers.”
Katz said the term “caretaker” was created by the U.S. Census Bureau, and as such, it’s not clear what other professions could be included in the definition.
“We need to have a way to think about the role of the caregiver in our society and what the role is, and we’re going to need to figure out a way of describing that role,” she said.
Katz’s proposal is to redefine the term in a way that makes it more clear that the person being cared for, or the person caring for someone else, is a caregiver.
KatZ believes the definition needs to be flexible so that it does not apply to those who are not involved in the day-to-day care of patients.
“It needs to capture caregivers who are really engaged in caring for the patient, and who are also involved in their community,” she told News24.
“The definition should reflect that fact.”
A doctor who is not engaged in the care of a patient, or caring for a patient’s caregiver, could be defined as a “care worker” in a different way, she said, depending on the specific circumstances.
Katzer believes the new definition is important because, until now, the definition has been very narrow, and has not considered the fact that caring for patients, not necessarily their caregivers, is an important aspect of a doctor’s role.
“I think we’re missing a big opportunity to rethink how we think about our profession,” she added.
“This has been the job of our profession, this has been what we do, and it has a real place in our profession.”
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