Alleviating Family Caregiver Stress

A lot of people, medical professionals included, do not know the difference between home health and non-medical home care. Home health is provided by registered nurses, physical therapists, medical assistants, speech therapists and occupational therapists. These professionals make short visits, usually an hour or less, to the home of patients to conduct specific, medical procedures and tests.

Non-medical caregivers whether they be family members or hired, professional home care providers, help older adults with non-medical activities of daily living (ADL’s.) Activities of daily living include meal preparation, assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation and much more. Independent Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s) include going on doctor’s visits, meal preparation, shopping, household management and much more. Additionally, many older adults face the issue of being socially isolated because their ability to drive, walk and communicate are compromised by their illnesses. Children and spouses can feel a high degree of stress if this issue is not ameliorated by professional companion care.

It is very important for discharge planners, patients and their family to identify, acknowledge and plan for non-medical home care for patients and their elderly spouses with chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, ALS and Parkinson’s disease.

Over 90% of the medical professionals in attendance at a recent continuing education seminar about caregiver stress reported that they would change their professional performance by both a) Making an effort to determine if the family members would be available to provide the home care that the patient needs; and b) Recommending that families use professional non-medical home caregivers if there is a need.

So, when confronted with the problem of caring for an older adult, using a professional non-medical caregiver is an option that can enhance the lives and well-being of both family members and the older adult who needs extra care. Here are some examples of outcomes created by families who chose to use professional, non-medical caregivers:

“Martha arrived and the entire household spirit changed. Words cannot adequately convey the peace that Martha brought to Mum and the family as a whole.”

“You don’t know how much I needed you all. Thank you is not enough!”

“Very personable service. The staff are very professional, courteous, and understood our needs. The help was outstanding and much needed and exceeded our expectations during a great time of stress.”

Editorial Note: This article was submitted by Jared Caplan, M.S./Administrator License #017091 with Home Care Assistance of Dallas and may be reached at 214-363-3400 or by email at jcaplan@homecareassistance.com. See add on page 101 & 105