People who need hospice care are often incapable of managing all of their own needs. They often require assistance with eating, personal hygiene, mobility, and caring for their medical needs. These patients also need company to keep up their emotional well-being. With all of these round-the-clock needs, it takes someone caring and dedicated to meet them. And that’s where hospice caregivers come in.
Hospice caregivers can be family members or trained professionals from facilities. If you’re reading this article, you may be a hospice caregiver. Perhaps you’ve stepped away from a job for a time to be the caregiver for a parent or sibling. Maybe you share the caregiver role with other family members and take turns. Some caregivers invite their loved one to reside in their homes while they receive hospice care. Or, perhaps you are a trained caregiver and do this work full time.
Whatever hospice arrangement you have taken part in, it is important to recognize caregiver burnout. For the sake of your wellbeing, your family, and your loved one, we strongly recommend getting ahead of burnout and taking care of yourself.
So, why does caregiver burnout occur? What can you do to get ahead of it? And how can hospice facilities help you overcome burnout and provide the best care possible for your loved one?
Why does caregiver burnout happen?
Burnout, or exhaustion from a job, can happen to anybody and in any function. It can happen to teachers, doctors, drivers, or caregivers of children or the elderly. In many cases, taking advantage of paid time off or sick leave can help people to feel refreshed and ready to start work again. However, being the caregiver of a family member can present unique challenges.
Caregivers may not have the option to take paid time off or take a vacation. This is especially true when there is only one primary caregiver, and he or she doesn’t have any local family members to help. Caregiver burnout is quite evident when the patient is declining in health or nearing the end of their life. This kind of work can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting.
As a patient is able to take care of fewer and fewer of his own needs, their caregiver must take on those responsibilities. The more a patient declines in health and mobility, the more their caregiver invests effort into meeting his needs. It is not uncommon to see caregivers working through the night to care for the needs of their loved ones.
Caregivers are generous with their time and efforts. Caregiving by nature is an act of self-sacrifice and love. Home hospice wouldn’t be possible without caregivers — they make it so that loved ones can live out the rest of their lives in the comforts and joys of home. This is why it’s so valuable to prevent caregiver burnout, by respecting the needs of the carer.
How can caregivers prevent burnout?
First of all, keep in mind that you may experience burnout as a caregiver differently than you would at your normal occupation. You probably have some experience taking care of your loved one, but taking on this responsibility full time can be a big change. Anticipate that there will be monotony and frustrations. Give yourself grace and be kind to yourself.
Second, get ahead of burnout by having a helper on standby. This person could be another family member, a trusted friend, or part of your hospice care team. Caregiver burnout can be much more manageable when you can get regular breaks and have someone to confide in about your experiences. Even if you can get one hour away to take a walk, a break is a great way to refresh and restart.
Don’t underestimate the value in taking breaks for your mental health. Recharging your batteries is important in any job. When you are caring for someone around the clock, your well-being plays a big role in the life of the patient.
So, are caregivers left alone to work this out for themselves? What if there aren’t other family members around to help? How can they recharge their batteries without a trusted helper nearby?
What hospice care facilities can do to help caregivers
Hospice care facilities like Envision Hospice can ease the burden of caregiving. When developing the plan of care for your loved one, we anticipate caregiver burnout and prepare ahead of time.
Having a care team helps tremendously. The care team consists of a variety of people such as ministers, nurses, and volunteers. Our volunteers are here to provide temporary relief to caregivers. Breaks can be scheduled regularly and caregivers are always encouraged to call when they feel overwhelmed. Envision Hospice also has counselors to help provide emotional and mental support where needed, for caregivers and family members as well as the patient.
Envision Hospice volunteers are qualified individuals who are prepared and experienced to care for your loved one. They go through our HR department the same way that our hired employees do, so we are sure that they are safe, professional, and kind hearted.
If you are seeking relief from caregiver burnout, please contact us today to get help. If you’d like to volunteer as part of our team, please contact Elizabeth Solis at 915-778-0028.
Interested in what hospice care might look like for your loved one? Or, are you looking for some support in caring for a patient at home? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact our compassionate team.