Honoring Family Caregivers for their Round the Clock Care
Each November, family caregivers are honored as the month is recognized as National Family Caregivers Month. This year’s theme is “Caregiving Around the Clock” which highlights the challenges that family caregivers face and how they manage them day and night.
“Caregiving can be a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week job,” states the Caregiver Action Network, which spearheads National Family Caregivers Month. Around the clock care means that family caregivers face unique challenges at each daypart:
- Mornings are a balancing act of preparing children and one’s self for school, work, etc. while ensuring a loved one has what s/he needs for the day.
- During the day, the family caregiver will manage the medications for the patient which entails making sure a loved one is taking medication correctly and maintaining an up-to-date medication list.
- During the Workday: Many family caregivers work full or part time in addition to juggling their caregiving responsibilities at home. Given the responsibilities of caring for a loved one, some family caregivers are forced to reduce the number of working hours, take a leave of absence, or leave their jobs.
- In the evening, family caregivers need to address mealtime responsibilities and provide their loved ones with optimal nutrition while also participating in family time with other family members.
- In the late evening, family caregivers may have an opportunity to grab a little time to rest and recharge. However, in the middle of the night, family caregivers may be monitoring their loved ones’ condition from time to time.
Helping Family Caregivers with Virtual Care
The concept of “caring for the caregiver” is increasingly critical to addressing the complex demands place on family caregivers. Synzi’s virtual care platform is used by home health agencies to provide care management services – such as training skills, counseling, and immediate answers – to improve the caregiver’s confidence and quality of life. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, home health nurses can use video and messaging to help family caregivers better care for their loved ones around the clock:
- Real-time training or reinforcement of medical/nursing tasks can be provided over video. Nearly 6 in 10 (57%) caregivers assist with medical/nursing tasks such as injections, tube feedings, catheter and colostomy care, and other complex care responsibilities; however, almost half (42%) of caregivers are doing these medical/nursing tasks without any skills training. When caregivers were asked how they would like to learn a medical/nursing task, the most popular method was having a qualified person show them how to do it (61%).
- Messaging can help caregivers bolster their confidence and comfort. More than 8 out of 10 (84%) caregivers indicate they could use more information on or help with caregiving topics. Although information on how keep their loved one safe at home (42%) and about managing their own stress (42%) are most valued, almost a quarter of caregivers (22%) also want help about making end-of-life decisions.
Also, the family caregivers themselves may use the Synzi platform for their own self-care. By enabling caregivers to use their devices from the comfort of their own home, home health agencies can provide their patients’ caregivers with convenient access to behavioral and mental support. Providing caregivers with easier access to emotional care can help the caregivers continue to provide the challenging and demanding care needed by their loved ones.