Today, more than 15 million Americans serve as family caregivers for older adults. For older adults with chronic conditions and disabilities family care or “home care” can be substantial in scope, intensity, and duration. The overwhelming majority of family caregivers find great satisfaction and purpose caring for loved ones. Family caregiversassume day-today responsibilities even though sometimes they may feel unprepared to provide care. Most have limited knowledge related to coordination of care, including management of medication, pain, mobility, and symptoms. Such challenges and responsibilities can leave family caregivers feeling tired, isolated, and stressed.
More than half of family caregivers provide eight hours of care or more every week, and 1 in 5 provides more than 40 hours per week. Four out of ten caregivers spend five or more years providing support, and 2 out of 10 have spent a decade or more of their lives caring for their family member. The family caregiver themselves may be living with one or more chronic illness. The physical and emotional health of family caregivers has the potential to influence the health, welfare and rehabilitation of persons with chronic illness.
Receiving personal care in the privacy and comfort of home can be important for recuperating, chronically or terminally ill patients or persons with disabilities. In-home care facilitates independence and functional improvement. Home health patients receive medical, nursing, and/or therapeutic treatment through a wide range of health and social services. Receiving home health care reduces unavoidable readmissions, and studies have shown that patients recovering from injury, sickness, or surgical procedures heal more quickly and with fewer complications when recovering at home versus in a medical facility.
Hospice and palliative care management connect patients and advocates. Care coordination reinforces the care continuum for homebound patients and their caregivers. Homebound patients may need assistance with daily living or medication adherence. Patients that can’t leave home because they require help from others or need a wheelchair or walker, or need special transportation or their condition restricts movement can benefit from care coordination. Homebound patients requiring, physical therapy, intermittent skilled nursing care, ongoing occupational therapy, or even speech-language pathology services can progress with TCM and CCM services.
Caring for a loved one with chronic conditions or disability is rewarding – but it can also be challenging. In most cases a caregiver is the lifeline between the provider and the patient. As a caregiver for a family member or others with complex health concerns, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by a host of responsibilities. Some tasks may come easy or feel familiar, while others may be daunting and very intimidating. Over a period of time, caregivers can begin to feel frustration or fatigue and run the risk of burnout.
Caregivers who find the right support flourish in their role. Having a dedicated care coordination team behind you can help alleviate anxiety, stress, anger, grief or guilt associated with managing a multitude of care related issues. Care Coordination provides caregivers with the know-how to ensure that patients or family members with complex conditions or disabilities can realize and preserve physical, mental, or cognitive functioning.