Doctor gives elderly lady a shot.

Caregivers: Members of the Healthcare Team

As healthcare professionals our number one priority is to our patients. But how do we begin incorporating family caregivers into the health care team, and how do we effectively communicate to all individuals involved? There are a few things we as healthcare professionals need to keep in mind in these circumstances. 

  1. Ask about their role as caregiver. Are they just a facilitator, the primary caregiver, or a friendly companion? It is important to ask both the patient and the caregiver what role this person plays in the healthcare team.

  2. Keep the patient involved. Many times family caregivers want to make decisions for their loved ones, but it is important to remember the patient’s rights and wants need to be followed foremost.

  3. Acknowledging the caregiver’s concerns. Many times, caregivers are juggling both the patient’s health needs, as well as their own. Be patient, clear in communication, and listen. 

The family caregiver can be an invaluable resource in the delivery of a patient’s health care. Including the caregiver, with the permission of the patient, in the healthcare team will not only benefit the relationship between patient and provider but will improve the healthcare process for the patient. 

With this, it is important to keep in mind the family caregiver’s limitations and parameters they may face while caring for their loved one. Provider knowledge on available resources and respite options targeting helping the caregiver is a must. Providing family caregivers with these resource options and encouraging their participation can mean a healthier healthcare team as a whole. 

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Blog by Kara Boyerkidder

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