Part 2 - From Loved One to Caregiver: The Toolbox

Advocacy is the ability to know what you need and how to get it.

In this session, participants will build on their self-awareness training in Part One by learning how to navigate helpful resources in the community. Caregivers will learn to identify unmet needs for support or treatment in the family and to develop a strategic plan to meet those needs. Tools such as matching family needs to the right resources, strategic information gathering and the use of briefing notes will be presented.

Specifically, participants will:

  1. Learn to identify needs and state caregiving challenges
  2. Execute the process of strategic information gathering about resources in the community
  3. Build an advocacy mini-team and keep everyone coordinated by using a briefing note.

This presentation will be followed by a question/answer period.

“Using these techniques doesn’t guarantee success in advocacy, but it makes the chances of getting what you need much, much greater.” Donna Thomson

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  1. Donna Thomson began her career as an actor, director and teacher, but when her son Nicholas was born with severe and multiple disabilities in 1988, she embarked on her second career as a caregiver. Now also a caregiver for her mother, Donna is the author of The Four Walls of My Freedom: Lessons I've Learned From a Life of Caregiving. She teaches families how to advocate for care at The Advocacy School and consults to various hospital navigator programs. Donna's blog/website is The Caregivers' Living Room ( and she can be reached via email at

  1. Zachary White, PhD. is an Associate Professor of Communication. He received his Ph.D. in communication from Purdue University. His published and presented academic research addresses end-of-life communication, health care transitions, and caregiver communication practices. He teaches university courses addressing health and illness narratives, digital health literacy, interpersonal communication, online social support and disclosure, the management of health-related disclosures in the workplace, and sense making amidst life transitions. Dr. White blogs regularly at The Unprepared Caregiver (

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