pass (on) the torch to someone : to let someone else do the work that you were doing or support the ideas that you supported

-Macmillan Dictionary


My mom could do nothing but lie in bed after breaking her ankle. For trips to the bathroom, doctor and physical therapy, and all her basic needs she relied on my dad. Providing such physically-demanding support 24/7 was hardly feasible for my elderly dad, let alone for my brother and I.

The solution? Pass the torch. My brother and I took turns staying with my parents for two weeks at a time. Dad helped as much as he could. Between him, my brother and I, Mom always had someone to lean on. Not only did she require assistance for physical rehabilitation and care, but she also needed us to take on the responsibility for making key decisions on logistics and managing non-medical caregiving duties that were also pertinent to her successful recovery.

Passing the torch means more than just a shift change. In the Olympic torch relay, Olympic champions pass the Olympic flame from torch to torch. That flame symbolizes “the light of spirit, knowledge and life.” That’s why we, at Outpatient Inc, refer to family caregivers as Champions. They take the lead in nurturing an ill or injured family member and disseminating care instructions, progress updates and other pertinent information in Outpatient.

Working alone, the primary family caregiver eventually ends up burnt out and depressed. Outpatient helps the family champion to cull their resources and to pass the torch to family and friends. No one has to do it alone, forever.

Think of it this way: A basketball defense strategy in which players are not confined to one specific position but are free to guard at other positions. It’s a trend in the professional world popularized by the Golden State Warriors. Everyone on the team can guard the other team’s players, switching between positions throughout the game. The strategy preserves fluidity, the team’s energy, and ultimately they become NBA champions.

Outpatient provides families a huge advantage in healthcare.

Without Outpatient: One person makes all the decisions and does everything. For example, they provide transportation to and from appointments, decide on which lifelong friends are capable of acting as a home nurse and teach friends and family how to use medical devices or how to administer medications. The result? An overworked and less effective caregiver.

I know that feeling of exhaustion. And, I remember the relief I felt when my brother’s flight arrived and I could pass the torch to him. For a stretch of time, the duties of managing all the aspects of my mom’s recovery were his. I certainly enjoyed taking that same burden off my dad. He could take a break from administering my mom’s medication and from carrying her up and down the stairs. I also saved my dad from weeks of frustration by doing all the internet research (an absurd amount) and phone interviews to find the right home nursing aides.

The experience inspired me to start Outpatient. I wanted to ease the burden on Champions. That’s central to achieving our mission of simplifying health for families. We’re building a product (sign up for our beta here!) where it will be easy and fun to Pass the Torch without loss of context or information. Stay tuned for some major product updates!

#GetOutpatient   #WhosYourChampion   #BeAChampion   #FamilyChampion   #PassTheTorch   #AgingParents   #ElderlyPatients

Brian Corey

Author Brian Corey

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