With help from the hospice team, a caregiver can learn to control the patient’s symptoms, provide day-to-day care and administer pain medication.
A primary caregiver is a family member or friend who is responsible for making sure a patient’s day-to-day needs are met. It can be difficult emotionally, physically and spiritually, but family members and friends are often the best people to provide care. The presence and touch of someone who loves a patient benefits them the most.
Caring for a terminally ill patient is challenging. Many caregivers will experience some common feelings, including:
These feelings can cause stress, leading to a decline of your own health and emotional well-being. Signs of stress include:
- Feeling irritable, worried, pessimistic or preoccupied
- Having trouble sleeping
- Showing physical symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation
- Being unpleasant to people you care about
To help relieve stress:
- Get enough rest and good nutrition
- Have time away to do activities you enjoy
- Have someone to talk with about your frustrations
- Write your feelings in a notebook
- Do stress relieving activities such as deep breathing, listening to music or relaxing
- Join a support group