Saturday, August 9, 2008

Caregiver Organization Tips

I found some helpful tips for caregivers on organizing when searching on
Live Strong, the Lance Armstrong website. If you are a caregiver, doing some of these suggestions will reduce your stress and will help you stay organized. It can be overwhelming to keep track of medications, symptoms, and other information as well.

Caregiving is 24-7 job that never ends. Even when you are away from your loved one, you may be thinking about what's happening and may be very distracted trying to get your own tasks done. If you begin to feel frustrated or depressed, you may need to get respite care, so the situation does not become uncomfortable or threatening. Respite is a service where you can take that person to a facility or a professional caregiver can come in to relieve the caregiver of their duties.

So, the first tip is to write down a list of helpers that can be called on if necessary. Make a list of relatives, friends, neighbors, hospice volunters, church members, and paid professionals who can offer assistance. Write down their name, telephone number, e-mail, hours/days available, and what they can assist with.

Another helpful tip is to keep a notebook or binder available. Keep it in an easily accessible place so other people can find it if you are away from the place of care (home, nursing home, etc.). The notebook will be an easy way to keep track of:
  • medications - how much to give and at what time they need to be given
  • a detailed description of symptoms and when they occur
  • hospice staff instructions
  • list of phone numbers and other emergency contact information, including the 24-hour emergency hospice number
  • medical information
  • questions you have for hospice staff as you think of them

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