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Caregiving and the Family

The word “caregiving” has come to have so many different meanings, especially at the end of one’s life. The family caregiver often plays the role of spouse, daughter, son, head-of-household, housekeeper, breadwinner, driver, and more.

Often we have families who are at home receiving visits from Hope Hospice staff and need the additional help from an outside caregiver. Caregivers provide peace and comfort to families during end-of-life transitions. These home workers can assist with a number of tasks so that family can have time and energy to provide the much-needed love and companionship to their families.

What Can a Caregiver do to Help?

Caregivers generally assist with non-medical tasks such as:

  • Companionship

  • Bathing

  • Toileting

  • Dressing

  • Oral Hygiene

  • Grooming

  • Medication Reminders

  • Continence care

  • Transferring

  • Meal Preparation

  • Light Housekeeping

  • Driving/Errands

How do I select a caregiver?

Caregivers become a part of your family. They are in your home during one of the most personal experiences of your life, so it is important that you are comfortable and have a good connection with this person.

Here is a list of questions to help guide you in searching for the right candidate:

  • Can you provide a background check and fingerprints?

  • Do you have a driver’s license and clean driving record?

  • Are you licensed to provide care through the Illinois Department of Public Health?

  • Do you have experience working with hospice patients?

  • Is there an hourly minimum?

  • Are you comfortable and experienced providing personal care?

  • There might be a lot of time when a hospice patient is sleeping or doesn’t require hands-on care. What will you do during those hours?

  • Why are you interested in this kind of work?

What if hiring a caregiver is not an option for me?

Hiring outside help is not a viable option for every family. In this case, why not accept the offer of those friends who always ask, “How can I help?” Create a short list of ways that friends and family can come over and provide care. Think:

  • Dropping off a meal

  • Creating a memory book

  • Sitting with a loved one

  • Having a cup of off coffee with you (the family caregiver)

  • Doing a load of laundry

  • Making a trip to the grocery store

  • Walking the dog

  • Taking the children to activities

Don’t be afraid to ask what you want and need. Those who love you derive pleasure from helping, so allow them do so!

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