One of the most important roles in hospice care is that of a caregiver. Though the simplicity of the name may undercut the immense value that this individual adds to the total sum of the service, it is a role that is not to be taken lightly. The quality of the services that a caregiver is able to offer can determine the overall satisfaction that a patient is able to receive from the hospice care. Thus it can be argued that the caregiver role is just as essential as the more somewhat professionally based roles that can be found within a hospice related service.
The Role of the Family and Caregiver
It should be noted that a caregiver can either be a friend or loved one who has been trained for the role, or a professional who has been hired for that period of time. In most cases, a member of the family or loved one is encouraged to take up this post where possible as it is an essential part of the Hospice care. The caregiver will in most cases spend more time with the patient than all the other service providers and as such, it would be a source of comfort for that person to be somebody that the patient is familiar with.
The main role of a caregiver is to ensure that the patient and family are comfortable as much as can be allowed by the circumstances. The caregiver provides the patient with their primary source of assistance in matters that they might not be able to handle on their own anymore such as taking their medication, physical exercise or the consumption of certain foods. The caregiver can also teach those around the patient how to care for them in this regard as well.
What are the Responsibilities of the Caregiver?
As the name suggests, the main responsibilities of a caregiver has to do with the provision of support and assistance to the patient. The caregiver is considered to be the patient’s right-hand man in a manner of speaking and should be available for a majority of the time that the patient is awake and in need. The caregiver assists the patient with objectives that they might find too physically tasking to complete on their own.
These objectives can vary depending on the particular situation of the patient and could consist of simple tasks such as bathing and eating, to more complex activities such as prescribed exercises to maintain muscular functions within the body. The main aim of the caregiver is to ensure that the patient is able to enjoy a higher quality of life due to their presence.
Support for the Caregiver
The caregiver is not always capable of handling all of the patient’s needs on their own, especially if the needs in question are multiple in number and/or require around the clock attention. This is especially difficult if the caregiver does not reside in the same house as the patient. In such cases, the caregiver will require support from the patient’s family and loved ones. This support can be in the form of taking over some duties whilst the caregiver is away or simply trying to get some rest in between shifts. The caregiver can train such family and friends to take over some of the simpler duties required in this particular role.
Bereavement Support for the Caregiver
In cases where the caregiver of a patient happens to be a member of the family or a loved one, the need for support once the patient is bereaved may be required in order to carry on. Losing a friend or a loved one is not easy and such a loss can have a lasting impact on a person’s life if it isn’t dealt with properly. Counsellors and religious clerks are availed by some hospices during this particular stage to help the caregiver cope with the loss they have experienced.