Helpful tips for caregivers

Our team members will listen to you and respond quickly at any hour of the day or night. This includes making home visits at any time to address symptoms or issues that develop. Be sure you keep the 24-hour emergency number for hospice in a visible place for all caregivers and loved ones. We will work with you the patient as comfortable as possible.

  • Keep a notebook with all caregiving information in one place; have this notebook with you when you talk to the staff.
  • When you are describing a new symptom, give as many details as possible. These details help your hospice team find the best solutions.
  • Always feel free to ask questions and seek help from the hospice staff.
  • If you do not understand something, keep asking questions until you completely understand.

A caregiver will usually be responsible for keeping track of many kinds of information. This includes setting up and maintaining a record keeping and organizing system that will help to make life as a caregiver easier. Some people are able to organize all of these tasks and schedules by themselves, but many people need help. Hospice staff can help assist to set up an organizational system that will work for you.

Patient’s needs will change over time, and we will help you understand and watch for these changes. If you have any questions, you can contact a member of our team at any time.

A hospice social worker can help with many practical concerns such as:

  • Explaining and helping to complete advance directives, if requested
  • Explaining what services hospice benefits pay for
  • Help schedule and participate in patient/family conferences with the care team
  • Setting up a system for staying organized
  • Linking caregivers and family to community resources
  • Setting up services with a licensed counselor or support group
  • Assist with the arranging for respite care to give caregivers time off
  • Contacting friends and relatives
  • Assisting with funeral arrangements

Taking care of your own needs

Serving as a caregiver during hospice care can be a very loving and fulfilling experience. Many who have worked with hospice programs describe the experience as the most meaningful and rewarding work they could have done.

Caregiving for a loved one with lifr-limiting-illness can be very different than caring for someone who has a chronic (ongoing) illness. Caregivers must take care of themselves or they will not be able to care for the patient when he or she may need the most care.

Caregivers also need breaks (respite) to avoid physical and emotional exhaustion. Respite care services can provide this type of relief for caregivers for up to five days. Hospice benefits may pay for the patient to be cared for outside the home in a nursing facility for five days. During this time, the caregiver can visit the patient.

Some ways to make caregiving easier include:

  • Asking for help with anything and everything
  • Keeping a baby monitor near your bed to better hear if your loved one needs anything while you are resting
  • Appointing one person to keep loved ones and friends informed
  • Developing a back-up plan in the event caregiving becomes overwhelming