Caregiving Without the Burn

Posted on

Aug 15, 2019

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When a person becomes impaired by age, illness or injury, a friend, family member or other relative may take responsibility for their care. This primary caregiver helps a patient remain at home, rather than in a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility.
For four decades, VITAS Healthcare has delivered expert hospice care to patients with terminal prognoses. Caregivers have been crucial in shaping and administering VITAS patients care plans, informing the hospice team of status changes, and handling patients personal and minor medical care. The significance of that role, however, means that an overworked caregiver can negatively impact the patients health as well as their own.
CAREGIVER BURNOUT caring for a loved one can be emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. Eventually, it can lead to caregiver burnout, a debilitating psychological condition brought about by unrelieved stress. Symptoms include:

overwhelming fatigue
sleep problems
changes in eating habits

Because a caregiver might continue to work outside the home, the impact of burnout can extend beyond the caregiver and their patient. A 2017 study published in
Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare found that caregivers miss more work than non-caregivers (8% vs. 4%), experience greater impairment of job productivity (24% vs. 14%), and higher rates of depression (53% vs. 32%) and insomnia (46% vs. 37%).
VITAS hospice teams are trained to keep an eye out for overworked caregivers. We encourage all caregivers to:

ask for help when necessary
tend to your own needs
find time to take breaks or pamper yourself

This keeps caregiver, patient and family happier and healthier. Additionally, VITAS offers up to five days of inpatient respite care, so a caregiver can take a vacation, attend an important event or simply get some rest. Caregiving isnt easy, but youre not in it alone. If the person in your care is nearing the end of life, hospice can offer comfort and dignity for them along with support and guidance for you.
Editors Note: Article submitted by Cathy Carlson, general manager for VITAS Healthcare in Chicago. For more information about end-of-life care options,
call VITAS Healthcare at 866-759-6695 or visit

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