Watching a spouse, a parent, a partner, a friend or neighbor die is not easy. Serving as a caregiver for this dying person can be especially difficult. At Hope Hospice, we recognize and salute all caregivers for the support and love they provide during this stressful time.
The role of the caregiver is one that constantly changes. One week, the patient may feel good and need little more than companionship. The next week, the patient can suffer physical and mental decline and require constant attention. One week, the patient may want to talk freely about death, the family and the future without him or her around. The next week, the patient may be uncommunicative or even hostile.
When a patient goes on hospice care, the hospice team goes into action. At Hope Hospice, our team includes doctors, nurses, home health aids, a social worker, chaplains and a massage therapist. These hospice professionals work closely with caregivers to offer support and guidance. They also depend on caregivers to share information about the patient’s condition and attitude.
Making sure the caregiver knows how to respond to certain patient situations is a big part of what hospice team members do. Experienced hospice personnel can also counsel the caregiver regarding his or her own mental and physical well being.
For caregivers, having good backup from another friend or family member is vital. Getting away from the house or apartment and taking time away from this stressful circumstance is essential. Caregivers must be sure to take care of their own needs, such as getting proper sleep and nutrition.
As a patient declines and loses his or her appetite, a caregiver can experience frustration when the food she or he prepares is not eaten. Among other serious concerns are patient hallucinations and loss of memory, which can result in caregiver stress. At Hope Hospice, we help caregivers both anticipate and respond to these occurrences.
The most important thing for caregivers to know is that hospice personnel are available to provide assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To our hospice patient caregivers, we salute you for all you do.