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Take Time

By Amy Kaser, RN

(Page 1 of 2)

As a Registered Nurse, my previous practice has been primarily focused on the individual with the disease process. I am now in a position that is focused on the Caregiver. The National Family Caregiver Program under the Older Americans Act of 2000 has been the catalyst to change how our health care system is viewing Caregivers. My new role is a Caregiver Support Coordinator for The Area Agency on Aging, Region 9 in Byesville, Ohio.

The past year has taught me many things that we, as professionals, need to consider when treating our patients.

TAKE TIME TO LISTEN TO THE PRIMARY CAREGIVER

Many times in our busy day, we hurry through our conversations with the caregivers. I have learned that caregivers have a wealth of information to share with you about their loved one. Why reinvent the wheel if you donít have to?

ASK THE CAREGIVER FOR THEIR INPUT WHEN DEALING WITH UNIQUE ISSUES.

Remember the primary caregiver is oftentimes with the patient 24/7 and they face and have found creative ways to deal with many issues such as toileting, bathing, dressing, etc.

BE SURE THE CAREGIVER IS TAKING CARE OF HIMSELF OR HERSELF

Studies have shown that the stress caused by caregiving leads to depression, poor health, and even death. By giving the caregiver permission to take care of themselves, and at times insist they do, could literally be the difference between life and death.

TAKE TIME TO GUIDE THE CAREGIVER TO THE PROPER ASSISTANCE

Many caregivers are willing to do the leg work if they only knew what direction to turn. The Area Agency on Aging is a great first step. Our agency has many contacts, and assessors that will come into the home and inform the caregiver of the options available to them. The assessment is free. This may be different in your area, but every Area Agency is a good place to start.

ALLOW THE CAREGIVER TO VENT THEIR CONCERNS

I have found that many caregivers just need to vent and not be judged. Allowing the caregiver to openly express their concerns and desires is of utmost importance. Remember, their concerns may not be a personal attack on the care being received, but a way for them to release stressful feelings, etc.

 

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