First Time with a Caregiver? Here’s What to Expect

May 11, 2023

The Caregiver Decision

If you are the primary caregiver for an aging loved one, you may hear from family and friends, or even a doctor, that you should hire some help. Having a caregiver come to the home and help with some of your workload may seem appealing, but it can be hard to make that decision. First, you may get some resistance from your loved one, who might only want care from you. Then, too, you may be a little bit uncomfortable about having someone you don’t know in your home. You might also be nervous about what to expect from a caregiver. Here, we give you some information to help you make an educated decision.

How a Caregiver Can Help

There are many tasks involved in caring for an older person, and when you hire help, the caregiver can take on some of these jobs. This will give you the opportunity to take care of other needful items on your to-do list, whether that means running errands, taking care of your own health, getting some sleep, or taking a break to connect with friends. Depending on the level of care your loved one needs, a caregiver can take on various responsibilities. These include:

  • Personal Care: Bathing, dressing, helping with mobility, transferring and positioning, toileting, oral hygiene, and help maintaining good nutrition.

  • Companionship: Conversation and simple companionship, sharing meals, recreational activities, communication with family members.

  • Household Care: Cooking, cleaning, laundry, assisting with mail, organization, and staying on top of bills.

  • Errands: Grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, transportation to medical appointments or outings like going to the park or to church.

  • Medical Care: Managing and administering medication, monitoring vitals, physical therapy, helping with safety measures, along with other medically related tasks.

Choosing a Caregiver

The type of care you determine that you need will inform the type of caregiver you require. If you are only looking for companionship and light housekeeping, you don’t really need skilled help for that, so you may just need a personal care aide (PCA). If your loved one requires personal help, as with toileting and bathing, a home health aide may be the perfect fit (HHA). However, if you need help with medical care, especially specialized care, as for someone with dementia, you will need skilled nursing help. The more extensive your care needs, the more qualified your caregiver will need to be. Licensed nursing assistants (LNAs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) can take vital signs, set up medical equipment, clean catheters, monitor infections, provide walking assistance and conduct range of motion exercises, and administer certain treatments. All of these medically related tasks will be performed under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a nurse practitioner. CNAs also help with personal care. Skilled nursing providers, also called licensed practical nurses (LPNs) meet federal standards for health and safety and can provide direct medical care like administering IV medications, tube feedings, shots, and providing diabetes care. Some LPNs are also trained in various types of therapy. Registered nurses (RNs) hold a nursing diploma or associate degree in nursing and can perform most medical procedures.

Getting Settled with a Caregiver

What can you expect from your caregiver’s first visit? A thorough assessment will be performed before home care services begin, to help create a comprehensive care plan. On the caregiver’s first visit, he or she will take some time to get to know your loved one, check vitals, and address any hazards in the home that could be a safety concern. Once a care plan is in place, the caregiver will be able to provide the help you and your loved one need, in the comfort of familiar surroundings, with attention given to the needs and wishes of the person in need of care, as well as the person’s family.

The Right Care Can Help Smooth the Way

Ultimately, caring for an elderly loved one can be physically and emotionally draining. With high-quality help, though, you will find that everything goes more smoothly, and you don’t feel as overwhelmed. At BrightStar Care of Delray Beach, Florida, we work hard to deliver the right care for older people and to be a partner their loved ones can turn to for support. Because we believe that caring is more than just a job, our team of nurses, therapists, CNAs, and caregivers offer the most professional compassionate care available. In the comforting, familiar surroundings of home, we offer a full range of care services to meet your loved one’s needs and help you when you need it most. Visit our website to contact us or apply now, or call 561-921-0550 to learn more about joining the BrightStar Care family.