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Building a Caregiver Support Team

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Posted on July 1st, 2019 by Teri Dreher, under Caregiving, Medical Planning, Patient Advocacy

caregiver support team

More often than not, when a loved one falls ill, the initial reaction or decision is to take on caregiving for this person. There is an overwhelming desire to provide help, care, funds, or whatever else is needed or necessary to get our loved one healthy and back on track. Helping in any way is just human nature. However, you as the caregiver must eventually face the fact that no one can do everything alone. It may be time to reach out and build a caregiver support team needed to provide a successful outcome, not just for your sake, but to provide the patient with the best possible care. 

Articles That Can Help

Whether you are just beginning to care for a loved one or you are ‘in the thick of it’, you will eventually need some help and support along the way. There are a number of very good articles on the subject; I have included links to a few of them here:  

4 Tips For Building a Strong Caregiver Support Team

While this article is a bit dated, it provides an overall look at the caregiver’s situation and needs and suggests a possible ‘structure’ for building a Caregiver Support Team.

1) Plan a family meeting to evaluate the caregiving situation and discuss any concerns;
2) Consider the family dynamics and how this may influence the caregiving scenario;
3) Consult the professionals and seek the support and skills from people outside of the family.

Building Your Care Team

The article provides suggestions for steps to take to effectively move forward:

A list of possible ‘team players’ you can use to get started in building your care team includes:

• Family members, including children
• Professional Patient Advocates or Care Managers
• Physicians
• Pharmacists
• Medical professionals
• Clergy/Church members
• Neighbors/Friends
• Volunteers
• Caregiver consultant/Social worker
• Counselors/Therapists
• Adult day program staff
• Home Care Providers

As the article states: “The concept of building a care team is not new, yet many families and caregivers are unaware of its importance to their respective roles. Planning the team should begin as soon as it’s apparent that an individual is in need of care.”

Building Your Care Team

This article provides a unique and candid insight into the caregiver’s daily tasks and how to go about not only persevering, but prevailing.

The article reminds us: “You can’t go it alone. Ask for help. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness. Ask, then start building a Care Team to ride to the rescue.”

Building a Care Team

This article from the Alzheimer’s Association reminds us: “You are in the center, but you are not there alone.” and “The help provided by others can minimize stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. Developing your own network of helpers may help you lead a more productive, active and engaged life while living in the early stage of the disease.”

It goes on to give us some tips to developing a care team:

All of these articles provide useful information to garner when building your Family Caregiver Support Team.

• Identify which friends, family and neighbors may be willing to help you.
• Discuss the help you may need. Have a conversation with each person who may be willing and able to assist you.
• Be specific. State clearly what help is needed or may be needed in the future.
• Ask if you could do things together. Examples include shopping or preparing meals.
• When asking for help, seek individuals who are willing to listen and who care. Avoid people who seem judgmental, critical or blaming.
• If someone isn’t able to help you, don’t blame yourself. It’s usually not because of anything you did, but has more to do with what’s going on with the other person.
• Say thank you! Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and thanking people makes it more likely that they will help again in the future.

Minding Your Health

It is essential to remember to keep yourself healthy, by trying to eat healthy, get enough rest, and take some time to decompress from the everyday stresses involved. Not only is your health important, but that of your mental health as well, as you will be required to make many important decisions and must be thinking clearly. Take the time to take care of yourself first, as you cannot take care of someone else until you do. Again, reach out for help if it is needed.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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