How to help a loved one?

As a caregiver for a loved one, you play an extremely significant role in ensuring both physical and emotional well-being at the end of your loved one’s life.  It is important that you, your loved one, and your loved one's health care provider discuss what quality of life means to you and plan together to achieve this goal.  You will need to consider your loved one's care needs, your own ability to provide care in a home or hospital setting, what support services are available and accessible, and the availability of home care, hospital care or hospice facilities in your local area. Once you have made the necessary contacts, be sure to inquire about volunteer support and respite care, to give you a much needed break as necessary.

Both the Virtual Hospice and the Victoria Hospice websites have excellent sections on what is involved and how to plan for caring for a loved one.   

Caring for family members who are severely ill, debilitated, or dying can be an all-encompassing / overwhelming task.  Providing emotional, physical, social and spiritual support can be demanding.  All too often people sacrifice their own health and needs in favour of helping their partner of family member.  But burnout can be a severe problem, and often overlaps with "compassion fatigue."

It is essential that caregivers ensure that they have the support of the whole care team, whether that be in the home or in a facility. One of the most difficult decisions for both the patient and the family may be in deciding which would be most  appropriate.

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