The Role of the Primary Caregiver

| By Jodi Horton

When you are admitted to our hospice program, you will be asked to identify a person as your primary caregiver. If you are living at home, your primary caregiver is responsible for providing your daily care, with assistance from the hospice team. If you are living in another care setting, your primary caregiver is consulted regularly regarding your care.

The role of primary caregiver is very important. This role can be demanding, but also deeply rewarding. Primary caregivers actively participate in meeting their loved one’s needs, adding greatly to their comfort and quality of life.

Your primary caregiver ensures that care is provided to you 24 hours a day, as needed. Often, this means sharing the responsibility of care with other family members, friends, or hired caregivers. Your hospice team does not provide 24-hour care, and cannot take the place of family and friends.

Your primary caregiver is considered a member of the hospice team. Team members depend upon her/his observations of your daily progress and your needs. S/he is included in decision making regarding your care. When the hospice team makes regularly scheduled visits to your home, they teach your primary caregiver how to provide your physical care as well as extend emotional and spiritual support to both you and her/him.

In addition to scheduled visits, Casa de la Luz Hospice team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A nurse is always available to speak with you by phone, or to visit if needed. In the case of an emergency, or a change in condition, the primary caregiver should always call Casa de la Luz Hospice. A Casa nurse will assess your situation promptly.

At Casa we value the commitment primary caregivers make to their loved ones, and we will do our very best to provide caregivers with the support and resources they need.

Adapted from Care Companion, a Casa de la Luz Hospice publication

If you are caring for a seriously ill loved one who is in the last six months of life and would like more information about hospice care, contact Casa de la Luz Hospice at (520) 544-9890 to schedule a no-cost evaluation with a registered nurse.

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