Caregiving is a demanding role and one that more and more Americans are taking on. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 65 million people in the United States provide unpaid care a family member, friend or neighbor.
Becoming an effective caregiver requires lots of skill and patience. A good caregiver will know how to control the spread of infection, care for someone who is bedbound, and manage the sometime difficult behaviors that can come from a patient feeling tired, sick or confused.
But perhaps the most important skills are ones that go beyond mere technical competence and help the patient achieve optimum results.
Excellent communication skills
A caregiver must be able to understand a patient’s needs and to communicate those needs to the appropriate healthcare providers as well as help the patient understand instructions from healthcare personnel.
Keen observation skills
The caregiver is on the front lines of their patient’s or loved one’s well-being. They need to be able to spot when something is off and report any changes to the appropriate medical providers.
Empathy and compassion
Perhaps the most important skill of all, caregivers must have an ability to understand the challenges their patient or loved one faces and feel compassion for their situation.
Accepting help from others
If you’re a family member caring for a loved one, you need to recognize that no one can provide superior care by themselves. Friends, family, and home health or private duty caregivers can provide much-needed support. This allows you to take care of yourself, another essential skills that caregivers need.