Caregiver, by definition, is ‘a person who provides direct care for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill.’ About 44 million Americans provide 37 billion hours of unpaid, “informal” care each year for adult family members and friends with chronic illnesses or conditions. At Hosparus Health we consider caregivers either family or close friends of the patient, someone who aids in making decisions. They could be the obvious members: a spouse, son/daughter, or brother/sister; but they could also be a grandchild, a neighbor, or a fellow church member.
If you are a caregiver of someone with a serious illness, you know the struggles the role presents. The reality is, 1 in 5 caregivers reports a decline in the quality of their physical, emotional, and social well-being. It is important for you to understand that our team is here to help you in this role.
Caregivers are a vital part of our team. Our circle of care demonstrates how all Hosparus Health team members connect. The caregiver role is just outside the patient but inside the rest of the interdisciplinary team, labeled “Family & Friends.” Just as you may look to Hosparus Health staff for answers and support, we look to you for communication. We aim to meet the physical, spiritual, psychological, and social needs of the patient, but we cannot do so without knowing what those needs are. Hosparus Health volunteers can help with companionship and respite; chaplains and social workers support you in difficult moments; and grief counselors provide comfort before and after a death.
If you are a caregiver, consider these tips:
- Don’t be reluctant to raise questions or concerns. You know your family member better and will be providing valuable information for to the Hosparus Health team, which will allow us to manage symptoms.
- Discuss finances and end of life decisions with your family. Complete legal paperwork, e.g., Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives.
- Bring family and friends together to discuss care and share the role with you.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to talk to the nurse and ask for help, they are here for you 24/7.
- Remember: You can’t properly care for others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Try activities to decompress, such as yoga, meditation, going for a walk, or watching your favorite show.
Our mission of improving the quality of life includes you as well as the patients we serve. Caregiving can be stressful, but you are not in this alone; We are here for you throughout the entire journey.