Question:

What are some of the things I should do as a caregiver?

Caregivers: A Guide for Caregivers

A caregiver plays an important role in the life of a chronically ill or terminal patient, but the caregiver must keep up his or her own health in order to be able to care properly for the patient.

  • The caregiver should make sure all emergency contact information for all of the patient's doctors is easily accessible.
  • Make sure all of the patient's medical information is easily accessible. Should there be an emergency, do not count on yourself to remember pertinent information such as medications, dosages and treatments.
  • Write down all of the medications and treatments on a schedule, so that you do not miss a dose or a treatment.
  • If the patient requires extensive nighttime care, hire a nurse or contact hospice to have someone help during the nighttime hours.
  • Take a couple of hours to yourself every day. If this means having hospice or a private nurse coming in every day, then this should be done. This will help keep the caregiver from suffering from burnout.
  • Arrange to have another family member, hospice or private nurse to spend one entire day in the home so that you can get out and do errands or even just take a day to pamper yourself.
  • Make sure you do not forget to eat properly and do basic maintenance for yourself. If your health declines, you will not be able to continue caring for the cancer patient.
  • Keep in constant contact with the cancer patient's doctors. Make sure you are aware of any changes in care protocol. Write the new changes down and adjust any other records as applicable.

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