What is Chronic Care Community Corps?
Chronic Care Community Corps (4C) trains and mobilizes people in the community to support their friends, co-workers, or others who are caring for older adults with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
Once trained, Corps members are able to offer more meaningful support, as defined by the caregiver, through listening, inquiry, perspective taking, goal setting, and resource identification. These Corps members can also share their wisdom and experience as well as the helpful resources they have discovered via this website.
The heart of 4C is an interactive seminar delivered in many settings, including workplaces, places of worship, and affinity groups such as neighborhoods, alumni groups, book clubs and others—places where caregivers often struggle in isolation and without meaningful support.
4C seminars equip participants with tools, strategies, and information to proactively support the caregivers they know. Seminar participants are trained to listen carefully and to practice their inquiry skills rather than simply offering advice. This helps participants learn to better understand the challenges facing a caregiver and identify strategies and resources helpful to his or her unique situation.
The seminars explore the following topics:
- Role of family and informal caregivers
- The role of healthcare professionals
- The role of friends atnd neighbors
- Context of health care today
- Family meetings and goals of care
- Continuity of care during the arc of an illness
- Difficult conversations during illness
Why is 4C needed?
In the United States, the fastest growing age groups are those individuals 65–84 years of age and those over 85 years:
- By 2030, more than 70 million people will be over the age of 65.
- By 2050, 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 years or older. And of these, 80 percent will have at least one chronic illness, and 50 percent will have two llor more.
According to a 2003 Rand Corporation report: “Supporting elderly persons with serious chronic illness will be a dominant challenge for healthcare in the next half-century. And, meeting the need for caregivers may prove even more difficult than the financial strain imposed by the aging baby boomers . . .” The subsequent smaller percentage of the population serving as professional and informal caregivers to support the growing number with longer and more complex illnesses will create new pressures on families caring for a loved one. Family caregivers lack the necessary support to navigate the complex journey of chronic or life-threatening illness. They struggle to make sense of a system ill-equipped to handle their most pressing needs, resulting in a lower quality of life, undue financial and emotional burdens, and severe economic and societal consequences. As the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law states in a 2007 article, “family caregivers – untrained, under-supported, and unseen – constitute a ‘shadow workforce,’ acting as geriatric case managers, medical record keepers, paramedics, and patient advocates to fill dangerous gaps” in the health care system. Family caregivers gain critical knowledge, often becoming experts in the many facets of providing care. Yet this valuable knowledge is routinely left dormant at the end of a caregiving journey. There is simply no community strategy in place that enables those who have been through the experience of caring for a seriously ill loved one to share their wisdom with those just beginning the illness journey—until now! Chronic Care Community Corps believes there is a vastly untapped and under-utilized resource that can bring great value to family caregivers: a mobilized and trained community of support. That means you!
Loring Conant, MD
Board of Advisors
Breck Arnzen, Arnzen Group
Janet Simpson Benvenuti, Circle of Life Partners
Annie Brewster, Massachusetts General Hospital
Andrea Cohen, HouseWorks
Loring Conant, Chronic Care Community Corps
Barry Dym, Boston University
Andy Gupta, ArcLight Capital Partners
Charlie Lord, Renew Energy Partners
Shashi Rajpal, Entrepreneur
Ned Rimer, Chronic Care Community Corps
Winnie Suen, Inova Fairfax Hospital