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For the Caregiver

CaregiversWhile your loved one is in the hospital, who will speak up for him or her? You can, by being the patient’s advocate — the person who will help the patient work with doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

While you are making sure that your loved one’s needs are being met, don’t neglect your own. Caregiving is a stressful and time-consuming job. You may neglect your diet, your normal exercise routine and your sleep needs. You may find that you have little or no time to spend with friends, to relax or to just be by yourself for a while. But down time is important. Don’t be reluctant to ask for help in caring for your loved one. Take advantage of friends’ offers to help and look into local adult daycare programs. Find out more about how you can ease the stress of caregiving at www.caregiver.org


General Tips for Families

When a loved one is hospitalized, it is important that you take care of yourself, too. For you and your family’s convenience, there is a Nutrition Room on each patient floor that has a refrigerator for patient food, coffee and ice.

Here are some tips to remember:

  • Get proper rest and nutrition. You will need your strength when your loved one comes home.
  • Take a breather occasionally. Go outside and take a short walk to relieve stress.
  • Use the UF Health Shands Hospital chapel, the Sanctuaries of Silence and Peace in the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital and the Garden of Hope for relaxation, reflection and respite.
  • Bring reading materials, crossword puzzles or needlework to occupy your time.
  • Write down your questions for the doctors and staff.
  • Choose a contact person in your home community who can provide updates for others.
  • Use the Social Workers and Chaplains for support and assistance.
  • Always be security- and safety-conscious. Report any unusual activity to staff or security personnel.
  • Be supportive and tolerant of others who are experiencing stress.
  • Be careful when driving.

Shands Resources for Caregivers

Alcohol & Drug Programs

UF Health Florida Recovery Center
1-888-392-7181

Assisted Living

An apartment in a long-term care facility for elderly or disabled people who can no longer live on their own but who don’t need a high level of care. Assisted-living facilities provide assistance with medications, meals in a cafeteria or restaurant-like setting, and housekeeping services. Nursing staff is on site. Most facilities have social activities and provide transportation to doctors’ appointments, shopping, etc.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME)

Medical equipment that is ordered by a doctor for use in a patient’s home. Examples are walkers, crutches, wheelchairs and hospital beds. DME is paid for under both Medicare Part B and Part A for home health services.

Home Health Care

Part-time health care provided by medical professionals in a patient’s home to maintain or restore health. It includes a wide range of skilled and non-skilled services, including part-time nursing care, therapy, and assistance with daily activities and homemaker services, such as cleaning and meal preparation. Medicare defines home health care as intermittent, physician-ordered medical services or treatment.

Hospice

A licensed or certified program that provides care for people who are terminally ill and for their families. Hospice care can be provided at home, in a hospice or other freestanding facility or within a hospital. Hospice care emphasizes the management of pain and discomfort and addresses the physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, financial and legal needs of the patient and his or her family.

Independent Living Communities

For seniors who are very independent and have few medical problems. Residents live in private apartments. Meals, housekeeping, maintenance and social outings and events are provided.

Marshall M. and Paula P. Criser Jr. Cancer Resource Center

Located off the Crawford Lobby in the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital, the Criser Cancer Resource Center is a quite place to relax and enjoy. Here you will find:

  • Computers so you can get online, stay connected with family and friends, and access the most up-to-date healthcare information available
  • A library filled with healthcare and leisure reading materials and DVDs you can check-out and watch in your room
  • Programs and activities including arts & crafts, dance, yoga, and more
  • For more information, stop by Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. or call 352-733-0880

Mental Health Services

Nursing Home

A residential facility for people with chronic illness or disability, particularly elderly people who need assistance for most or all of their daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and toileting. Nursing homes provide 24- hour skilled care, and are also called convalescent homes or long-term care facilities. Many nursing homes also provide short-term rehabilitative stays for patients recovering from an injury or illness. Some facilities also have a separate unit for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or memory loss.

Volunteer

Volunteer Services at Shands contributes to the support of patient services by providing volunteers who assist patients, visitors and staff within Shands and associated facilities through the Volunteers, VolunTeen, Pet Visitation and Shands Auxiliary programs.

  • If you wish to volunteer, call Volunteer Services at 352-265-0360.