you are the primary family caregiver, you will work with the health care team to make
sure that all your loved one's needs are met. This can be
an overwhelming and strenuous task, especially if you try
to handle all of the responsibilities on your own. It may
not even be possible for one person to perform all the
duties required in caring for your loved one. In order to
gain some control over the situation, you must make a plan
||Determine the needs of the patient
List the activities that must be done for the patient
to be properly cared for. Using the Patient Needs Checklist,
record all of the patient's needs, being as specific as
||Decide which needs you can or would like to meet on your
Once you see exactly what caring for the patient will
require, you can assess your resources. There will be
caregiving responsibilities you can handle on your own,
and some that will require assistance. On the Checklist,
check off all of the tasks that you will perform yourself.
||Determine which needs can or must be met by others
Though you may feel the desire to do everything on your
own and not "burden" others, learning to ask for help
is vital to minimize exhaustion -- a condition called
"burnout." Circle all of the tasks on the Checklist
with which you would like or need help.
||Identify family and friends to whom you can turn for help
Family members and friends may be able to contribute to
caregiving in many valuable ways. It helps to know
who you can count on to give you a hand. It is also useful
to know which of your family and friends have skills in
areas that could be of use. On the Assessing
Your Resources Form, list all the family members and
friends that you can ask for help. Next to their names,
record any specialized skills or resources that they may
be able to offer. This may include legal advice, knowledge
about medical insurance, cooking, money to spare for a
loan, and time to run errands or provide companionship.
||Establish the need for outside professional help
You may find that there are patient needs that require
professional assistance, such as nursing care, transportation,
or respite care. You may not feel comfortable performing
certain medical procedures or you may need help with patient
care. The patient may also rather have professional
assistance for more personal care to help maintain a sense
of privacy and dignity. If this is the case, it
is important for you to seek the appropriate assistance.
Here is a list of home care agencies
and organizations that offers such services.
If the patient has a social worker from a hospital stay,
he/she can be contacted to help you think things through
and make arrangements.