Becoming a family caregiver

When a loved one becomes ill, it’s typically the family that first steps in to take on the care of the patient.
Family caregivers are already coping with the stress and emotional aspects of a loved one’s illness. The tasks of full-time caregiving can quickly become overwhelming.

As the primary caregiver, family caregivers will have to tend to a patient’s personal care, manage their medications, perform other medical tasks such as changing bandages and monitoring vital signs, among others. Family caregivers are also tasked with managing medical equipment, including oxygen machines, wheelchairs, a lift to transfer patients and a hospital bed.

Family caregivers must become well-versed in their loved one’s condition and try to predict future needs. There will come a time when a patient requires 24-hour attention, which is difficult for anyone to tackle on their own.

Family caregivers can’t do it alone

Family caregivers often take on too much and experience burnout.

Other family members can often pitch in to take on some of the day-to-day care, such as preparing meals, running errands or providing respite for the primary caregiver. A family caregiver needs to be willing to delegate responsibilities and recruit family members to help in whatever ways they can.

When a patient has been admitted to hospice, there are many resources available to families who need assistance with care and help to cope with the stress of a sick loved one – and losing a loved one.

What can Hospice do to help family caregivers?

  • Provide general companionship for the patient and respite for family caregivers.
  • Help with personal care and household tasks such as bathing and dressing, chores, food preparation and laundry.
  • Manage pain and other symptoms
  • Assiste the patient and family members with the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying
  • Arrange for medical professionals to visit the home
  • Arrange for needed medical equipment and supplies to be made available in the home

United Hospice can help with these challenges and more. Our services include Hospice Care, the Joe Raso Hospice Residence and Bereavement Services. We help patients and families develop personalized care plans that will address all of their needs in a way that is most comfortable and supportive to everyone involved.

To learn more about United Hospice services, visit