Caregiver duties and responsibilities vary depending on the patient. Areas that are often considered part of caregiver duties are cleaning, shopping, cooking, assisting with personal hygiene, transportation, housekeeping, medication reminders, etc.
Caregivers may be required to perform unusual or strenuous tasks for the patient to avoid serious health consequences. This may include getting up at night or in the early morning to check on or feed the patient, bathing and dressing the patient. Some patients may need help in cleaning up bodily fluids such as urine and feces. While most of the time cooking meals, providing transportation to appointments for the patient are major tasks.
Similarly, caregiver job descriptions also include tracking the patient’s finances, filling prescriptions, paying bills, balancing checkbooks, and various daily activities.
Caregivers are generally expected to act as advocates for the patient in front of medical professionals in the health care system and be liaisons between providers and family or friends of the patient.
A caregiver may also assist with activities of daily living (such as getting out of bed, walking, or getting dressed) for more impaired patients or may help with grooming (such as bathing, shaving, brushing teeth, etc.) and combing hair.
Now that we have summarized major activities that should be performed by caregivers in home health. Let us discuss in detail what to expect from caregivers and how to wisely handle duties.
caregivers are employed by hospitals, nursing homes, or long term care facilities. However, recent reports indicate that in home care is increasing.
Caregivers in Home Care have a variety of duties depending on the needs of the patient, financial resources, location, available help, and what is being provided.
In this blog, we will discuss in detail about needs of patients and what caregivers can provide in difficult times of life.
Preparing meals is one of the most important aspects of family caregivers for aging parents. Prepare meals food preparation Caregivers are often expected to prepare foods that meet the special dietary needs of the patient.
This includes taking into account the required number of calories, which type of nutrients are necessary (for example, proteins for muscle mass), and avoiding ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction.
Sometimes, the caregiver’s job description requires him/her to monitor the patient’s medication and act as one of the health professionals regularly. For example when administering insulin. This involves taking into account mealtime, regular use of medications, and dosage guidelines.
Caregivers have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for the patient. This includes preventing falls, isolation, and self-neglect. It is important that a caregiver can recognize when a person is at risk of falling or other accidents. They also need to be able to assess whether the home may present other hazards.
Like many other professionals caring for children or adults in need of assistance, caregivers are typically responsible for keeping documentation related to the care received by the patient. These records should be kept in a designated place, organized, and properly labeled. They may include doctor’s reports, medications lists, daily activities logs, etc.
In addition to the activities mentioned above, caregivers also provide transportation to medical appointments and therapies. They may help with rehabilitation exercises or other treatments that the patient.
Caregivers must help the patient with socialization. If someone is on bed rest, a caregiver can sit with him/her or take him/her on walks according to ease. For patients living at home, counselors suggest that caregivers plan activities out of the house once in a while, such as going to a movie or shopping for groceries.
Conversation with Patients is crucial to caregiving.
A caregiver can help with conversation by providing stories or reading to the patient. A patient living in an assisted living facility may find it especially difficult to make friends, which is why caregivers can take him/her on walks around the building and invite other patients out for activities.
Protecting Patient’s Privacy
Because many patients in assisted care do not have family members nearby, caregivers are responsible for protecting their privacy. They are supposed to carry out the patient’s wishes with regard to whom he/she wishes to visit, when, and why.
In cases of a patient living in an assisted living facility, the caregivers should know which activities to avoid. In order to maintain the confidentiality of their patient, caregivers should be discreet about discussing personal matters. Moreover, they should not share any information with family members without the patient’s consent.
Caregivers aren’t just limited to helping patients eat, bathe or even dress.
One of the most basic duties of any caregiver is ensuring his/her patient is clean. Depending on where patients live (i.e., in the home or assisted living).
This may be easier said than done. However, caregivers are responsible for making sure their patients are clean, healthy, and comfortable. A caregiver can help with mobility, toileting, and skincare.
Washing Patient’s Hands Regularly, Bathing
To avoid infection, caregivers should make sure to wash their patient’s hands with anti-bacterial soap before and after feeding or help him/her use the bathroom. Some patients may need extra help getting in and out of bed; in which case, the caregiver is responsible.
Ideally, caregivers will bathe patients in a bathtub or shower stall that is accessible to wheelchairs or walkers. This way, the caregiver doesn’t have to lift the patient.
Another responsibility is to plan activities for the person who needs care so his or her days are filled with interesting and productive events.
A caregiver also may help the patient with meal preparation and clean-up, laundry, shopping, paying bills, household chores, and transportation to activities or to visit others. Many caregivers take their charges to medical appointments.
Though most patients are cared for at home by family members or friends, many institutions employ professional nurses, therapists, or other caregivers to help with basic needs (e.g., dressing, grooming, toileting), as well as medical care. Hospitals usually have nurses on staff, but skilled care facilities and nursing homes hire caregivers for patients.
Many people think that caring for someone is a natural gift or talent that some individuals are just born with. However, many studies have proven that the “art” of caring is taught and learned. The training of clinicians and other health professionals is designed to equip them with the skills needed to give appropriate care that not only ensures comfort but also reduces pain and stress.
Caregivers are expected to know the patient’s basic medical history. This includes the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis, as well as allergies, recent treatments, and prescribed medications.
Caregivers should know who to contact in case of an emergency. They should know what symptoms to monitor for that would require immediate assistance (e.g., fever or trouble breathing). They also must record specific observations such as blood pressure, pulse rate, and weight.
A caregiver should know when to report changes in the patient’s condition, such as reduced energy or unusual behavior, and be able to describe these changes in detail e.g., The patient said I feel like I’ve lost my mind.
Caregivers must communicate with other members of the patient’s medical team. They must be able to listen carefully and ask pertinent questions during the course of treatment (e.g., instructions, treatments), such as:
Caregivers also must be familiar with each medication prescribed for the patient. He/she must have knowledge of proper dosage and be familiar with possible side effects. He/she must know when to report changes in the patient’s condition to a doctor or nurse and can handle emergencies.
Caregivers employed by institutions i.e. Golden Age Companions usually follow a schedule of eight or more hours per day, five days per week. Although, the shifts may be longer during night time sleeping hours if necessary. The schedules are set up so there is always an adequate staff to provide for patients’ needs.
Training and education requirements for caregivers at institutions vary considerably. The education varies from a high school diploma to experienced personnel with degrees in nursing, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. Caregivers usually need a thorough knowledge of medical procedures and equipment; familiarity with safety precautions.
While caregiver job description is not limited to these aspects mentioned in this blog. However, it requires lots of love and prayers to serve those in need.
Also Read: Home Health Aide Costs