Caregivers are superheroes in our book. To the staff of Above and Beyond Home Health Care, trusted friends or family members can be there day-in and day-out and they have our gratitude. Taking care of a loved one requires a commitment for months or perhaps even years, plus, in some cases, a financial sacrifice if someone has to leave their job to help care for someone.
A recent report by the Merrill Lynch Bank of America Corporation and Age Wave interviewed 2,000 caregivers and found that a majority of them found caregiving to be physically and mentally challenging. However, a significant amount of the surveyed caregivers don’t mind helping improve the quality of life for their loved ones.
For instance, adult children may appreciate returning the favor to assist either or both of their parents who nurtured them earlier in life. A wife may take on the role of primary caregiver for an ailing husband, or vice versa.
But there are certainly limits. Burn-out can be a constant challenge, especially in dementia situations where the patient may require extra monitoring for security, memory loss or irregular sleep cycles. Caregivers also can become fatigued assisting with mobility needs or taking care of personal care activities like bathing or grooming.
Caregivers can be even more emotionally drained by someone who is progressively declining mentally or physically. This can be even more of a concern when their provider recommends palliative care.
Some people may try to push themselves harder or enlist other trusted family members to take on more responsibility. But there are other resources that caregivers in the Cedar Rapids area can explore to give themselves a break and allow health care professionals with more training and experience to step in at this difficult time.
Palliative care isn’t the same as hospice care, but hospice care is a type of palliative care. Generally, palliative care is where the focus is on providing additional relief for serious health conditions. Sometimes the patient may recover, but other times they may need to move to a hospice setting and their condition is diagnosed as terminal over the next few months.
Discussing care levels
Switching to palliative care from general care may require more medical expertise and training than many caregivers possess.
Family caregivers may have a good attitude, the trust of a loved one, and are willing to do whatever they can to help with basic needs, but they may not be as familiar with some of these types of conditions, procedures or life stages that may merit advanced care.
In the greater Linn County area, Above and Beyond Home Health Care is able to offer a variety of services and therapies, everything from skilled nursing to hospice services.
By making contact with us, you can learn about different types of services we can provide, what the patient may be going through and where we can come in to assist if that’s a direction you and your family want to go now or in the future. We’ll also learn information about your family member, including their current condition and prognosis, and share some of our expertise and familiarity with this stage of life.
More importantly, we can discuss how our staff can transition in to help that won’t be disruptive to the patient and also make sure levels of care and comfort are maintained. We can also discuss possible roles for family members that may not be as hands-on but still provides a familiar and trusting presence.
While this situation may be new and unfamiliar to you and your family, our staff has worked with many families in Grand Rapids and Eastern Iowa for years at many points of their lives. We’ll be happy to provide reassurance that working with advanced care will benefit everyone.
In all situations, the focus is on the patient and their quality of life. In many cases, he or she will be able to receive adequate care and therapies at their home. In other cases, they may want to consider moving to a group living situation where care may be able to be delivered better.
Some of these services trained professionals can include:
- Skilled nurses: A licensed professional nurse can determine a customized plan for each patient, including certain procedures that address certain conditions.
- Home health/hospice aide. This person works with a nurse or therapist to provide a variety of services to patients to improve or maintain their comfort levels, including helping with exercises; personal care like bathing or other hygiene tasks; housekeeping duties like laundry or meal preparation or making sure the patient takes their correct medication and correct times and dosages. Some of these tasks may overlap with activities that a caregiver can provide, but the aide is professional and focuses on patient comfort.
- Hospice services. Along with the physical care that’s provided, patients and caregivers often have other questions or concerns. Social workers can help with some of the procedural end-of-life topics. Bereavement information is also available for people with questions about the grieving process.For more information or assistance in transitioning to more advanced care visit Above and Beyond Home Health Care.