What are Caregivers?

Often times patients requiring home care and home nursing services need assistance with non-medical tasks and activities as well. Family and friends frequently provide non-medical home care assistance, however in many cases arranging for a caregiver or home health aide is also necessary.

While home nurses are crucial to ensuring health and wellness of individuals requiring home care and home nursing, assistance with non-medical needs can often best be provided by caregivers. Caregivers are also known in the home care industry as home health aides and home care aides. They provide life assistance services necessary to allow health challenged individuals to safely and comfortably continue living independently. Sometimes caregivers are licensed as Certified Nurse’s Aides. Other times they are individuals who have been trained specifically to provide home care assistance by a licensed home care or home nursing agency.

Services provided by caregivers and home health aides vary greatly depending on the needs of the client. Sometimes a caregiver’s primary function is that of social companion or guardian, while other times they may take on a role supporting the work of in home nurses. When patients require wound care or blood sugar testing, for example, a caregiver may be instructed and trained in these procedures by an in home nurse. The procedures will initially be performed by the in home nurse, then by the caregiver under the supervision of the in home nurse, and ultimately the caregiver will be able to safely and adequately perform the procedures on his or her own.

caregiver_grocery_shoppingCaregivers and home health aides offer assistance with life skills such as bathing, dressing, transferring, eating, walking, and using the toilet. These tasks are considered activities of daily life. Other tasks such as housekeeping, cooking, taking medicine, shopping for home essentials, using the phone and managing money are considered instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs.) Caregivers can be scheduled for frequent visits, overnight attendance, and even offer live-in arrangements for individuals needing more assistance.

Although it is non-medical in nature, the care provided by home care aides and caregivers can greatly improve the quality of life for many individuals. Caregivers offer companionship and compassion. Caregivers are able to monitor the health and wellness of the patient and are often the first to notice when medical attention may be necessary. Individuals recovering from strokes and acute physical injury, those with illnesses such as Alzheimer, diabetes, or dementia, or individuals who simply need companionship and assistance as they age in order to safely remain in their homes, can all benefit from the care and attention provided by caregivers and home care aides. Home nursing and home care agencies offer these services as a complement to the care provided by in home nurses.