The Primary Caregiver's Role
The primary caregiver may be a family member, friend, or hired caregiver. Several people may work together to provide care for the patient, although one person needs to be designated as the "primary" person. The primary caregiver is responsible for overseeing the care of the patient in the home, particularly when the patient is no longer able to care for himself/herself.
Although the hospice team provides guidance and support, it does not provide prolonged periods of continuous care, and it is not intended to take the place of the family and/or primary caregiver. Thus when the patient's needs are increasing, it is important that enough care be provided by non-hospice caregivers to ensure that the patient is kept comfortable and safe.
The role of the primary caregiver is to:
- Be responsible for the care of the patient in the home. This means to provide or ensure continuous care of the patient when they no longer should be left alone. If the primary caregiver is unable to fulfill this role, the patient's family and/or caregiver can work with Benton Hospice Service to develop a plan that will ensure optimal care for the patient.
- Communicate with the hospice staff regarding the status of the patient or changes in the patient's condition
The role of Benton Hospice in relation to the primary caregiver is to provide:
- Instruction related to patient care when appropriate.
- Emotional and spiritual support to help caregivers cope with the life-threatening illness. Hospice staff will also provide bereavement support.
- Intermittent assistance with caregiving (e.g., hospice aides, respite care volunteers).
- 24 hour/day, 7 day/week on-call nursing coverage for emergencies, support and symptom management.