If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one who is receiving hospice or palliative care services, you understand the challenges that accompany being an advocate for your loved one while also prioritizing your own health and wellness. Offering support, comfort and care to someone who has reached their end of life journey requires selflessness and compassion.
However, caring for the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs of a loved one receiving end of life care may begin to feel overwhelming. If you find yourself in this role, below are several caregiving tips and resources through Concordia’s hospice programs and palliative care services that can help support you as the caregiver as well as your loved one.
Prioritize Your Health and Wellbeing
One of the most important aspects of being a caregiver is ensuring your own health and wellness needs are being met as well as your loved one’s. Take time when you can to focus on your health and mental wellness. This can seem like a monumental task when your loved one’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs are top priority, but ultimately caring for yourself will allow you to be a better caregiver for your loved one. Below are several examples of how you can make your wellness a priority:
• Exercising regularly can help alleviate your stress and increase your energy to help get you through long days.
• Maintaining regular check-ups with your doctor can help you stay healthy and provide you with the opportunity to speak about the stress you may be experiencing.
• Establishing a healthy eating routine can provide you with energy and help you maintain a schedule. By preparing meals that have multiple servings, you can help ensure healthy choices for both yourself and your loved one.
Connect with Support and Hospice Services
Having a personal network of friends and family for support as well as receiving support from your loved one’s hospice care team can greatly help you as a caregiver. Services available to caregivers provided by the hospice care team while a patient is enrolled in a hospice or palliative care program may include:
• Volunteer visits to help with errands or offer emotional support
• Spiritual care services
• Group therapy services
• Financial support services
• Respite visits
The type of support available to caregivers depends upon whether a loved one is receiving in-home hospice care or care at an inpatient hospice facility. Concordia’s hospice services, including Good Samaritan Hospice programs in Wexford, Cabot and Beaver as well as Concordia Hospice of Washington, provide these services as well as many others to caregivers and families when a loved one is enrolled in hospice care – whether they are inpatient or in-home care. Additionally, both Good Samaritan Hospice and Concordia Hospice of Washington follow families for up to 13 months after a loved one has passed to check in with the family and offer supplementary services.
Related: 4 Types of Hospice Care
Become an Advocate for Your Loved One
You know your loved one best. Having an open discussion with their hospice or palliative care team about your loved one’s needs as well as taking some time each day to check in with your loved one will help you become an empowered medical advocate for them. Additionally, the more you discuss your loved one’s needs with their care team, you will be able to create a comprehensive care plan that focuses on breaking down daily caregiving tasks to make them more manageable.
Related: Family caregiver tips and tools
For more information on the services provided through Good Samarian Hospice, a mission of Concordia, and Concordia Hospice of Washington, call us at 724-933-8888 (GSH) or 724-250-4500 (CHOW) or contact us any time via our online contact form. If you have a question about how we can help your loved one or if you want to learn more about the different services we offer, you can also visit the care levels and services page of our website for details on a number of services we offer, including Personal Care/Assisted Living, Long-Term Nursing Care, Adult Day Services and more.
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