Photo by Min An

All caregivers have one thing in common: they desire to help and care for other people. However, they still vary in specialty and types of patients to attend to. Regardless, we will look into the kind of caregivers and what they specifically do.

The caregiving profession covers many specializations, just like other healthcare professions. Providing non-medical services to the elderly, sickly, injured, and disabled are the primary focus of most caregivers.

For those who may not be familiar with this line of work, a book about life as a caregiver by Eleanor Gaccetta would be a great place to start learning. Her book provides terrific insight into caregiving life and their daily turmoil and challenges. 

Here are some of the most common types of caregivers and the patients they take care of:

Family Caregiver

A relative will take on the responsibility of caring for the disabled loved one in terms of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking needs, etc. They take care of the sick intermittently or daily at home. Family caregivers are the most selfless. They dedicate their time, energy, and effort without expecting any payment in return.

Professional Caregiver

They are the type who are paid to provide the utmost patient care. Professionals can provide medical or non-medical care at home. They also offer their service in a facility like nursing homes. Assisting another patient is part of their job. Professional caregivers ensure that the patient will have an improved quality of life. They’re usually under a staffing agency, where clients hire their services and deploy people to provide care.

Independent Caregiver

It is the most common term among home care professionals not under an agency. Independent caregivers either work individually or under the direct employment of the family. They can earn income freely on their terms compared to an intermediary agency that requires a pay cut for profit.

Private Caregiver

Private caregivers provide varying services – from medical, nursing, and even other responsibilities like bill payment and transportation. Their goal is to provide personal needs for the senior or any ailing patient and for them to live independently at home. Private caregivers work for 3rd party agencies or individually.

Casual Caregiver

Also called informal caregivers, they provide the usual care to family, friends, or anyone they have a personal relationship. What makes them different from family caregivers is that they don’t have to be necessarily related to the patient.

Volunteer Caregiver

Volunteer caregivers typically work in a respite or hospice care facility. Volunteers act in a substituting way toward the initial caregiver who requires a break. They also take care of people with disability, chronic illnesses, or frail health. Aside from healthcare, volunteer caregivers also provide companionship and careful supervision.

They serve as a breath of fresh air for patients, especially for people with special needs. Hospice care recipients and family members are typically familiar with volunteer caregivers, perceived as heroes and angels within the community.

The duties and responsibilities of a caregiver

Caregivers have a set of things to embody and fulfill daily for the patients they must care for. Families must be familiar with what caregivers do before they decide to put their loved ones under supervised care and companionship.

1 – Examine medical needs

Part of the caregiver’s responsibility is regularly checking the senior/ill patient’s health. They need to keep track of their subsequent medical appointments and monitor their chronic conditions with appropriate medications. They also assess each patient’s pain tolerance, especially those in recovery.

2 – Assist in the preparation of various care plans

Caregivers are the ones who have all the time to devise ways for efficient care for the elderly. Basic activities such as eating, bathing, and going to the toilet are usually called “activities of daily living.” For such patients, the simple things non-disabled people do are difficult for caregiving patients. Caregivers pay attention to particular signs among patients and execute a plan that caters to their needs.

3 – Offer constant companionship

Providing a company is the most overlooked part of the job. Caregivers must offer the best emotional support to patients when their loved ones aren’t always around to be with them. There are serious health issues that come with loneliness, which caregiving patients are vulnerable to. Caring for an aged loved one provides excellent opportunities to build connections and solidify the bond.

4 – Housekeeping assistance

Caregivers also take on the task of caring for the living space their patients are in. Aside from the usual medical care, they ensure the maintenance and upkeep of the patient’s quarters. Older adults can’t do their dishes that much anymore. Other activities like taking out the garbage, vacuuming, and other house chores are challenging for them to do. Patients and their families benefit the most from the convenience they bring.

Caregivers have a lot on their hands, and this career path can be eventually exhausting. They also experience the struggles any medical professional would, yet they still go out of their way to provide the best quality of life an ailing patient could have.

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