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Becoming an Excellent Caregiver: The 10 Most Important Characteristics

 

There are many important qualities a caregiver must possess in order to be considered not just good, but an excellent caregiver.
He or she must really be much more than patient, much more than compassionate, and much more than dutiful. An excellent caregiver must reach for noble qualities— self- discipline, extreme selflessness, sober judgment, integrity, etc.
Excellent caregivers do more than just look after their patients and attend to their needs. They nurture, and foster a bond between them and their patients. Most times, the caregivers provide more than what is required of them.
In simple term, a caregiver is any person who gives care to people who need help taking care of themselves, including children, the elderly, or patients who have chronic illnesses or are disabled.
A Caregiver may be a health professional, a family member, friend, or a social worker. He or she may be skilled, unskilled, independent, professional or a volunteer caregiver.
These are the 10 most important qualities that define an excellent caregiver:
1. An excellent caregiver knows how to empathize. Being able to empathize allows the caregiver to put himself or herself in the patient’s shoes, and identify and ease the patient’s fears or discomfort.
2. An excellent caregiver is passionate about what he or she does. This means that they are not only in it for the compensation but genuinely care for people in need. These caregivers are constantly looking for ways to improve how they perform their jobs, and ultimately, to make the lives of their patients better.
3. An excellent caregiver is attentive and responds to situations in a timely manner. Paying close attention to the patient’s needs is crucial because in many cases, the patient is unaware that they require help from their caregivers, and with little or no warning, the caregiver must respond to those needs to avoid untoward events.
4. An excellent caregiver always puts the needs of his or her patient first and is able to take charge when necessary. There are times when circumstances and even people, including the patient’s family, make it difficult for the patient to receive the care he or she needs. When this happens, the caregiver must put the patient’s welfare first and he or she should be able to take charge and do everything possible for the patient to receive the required attention.
5. An excellent caregiver is a good communicator. Being able to communicate crucial details regarding the patient’s care in clear and simple terms fosters understanding and trust. This helps the caregiver perform his or her job better.
6. An excellent caregiver is creative and innovative. Engaging the attention of patients is not easy if they are given the same activities day in and day out. Therefore, it is necessary for a caregiver to be creative in coming up with activities to keep the patient interested, involved, and excited.
7. An excellent caregiver is committed and dependable. The caregiver should be someone that can be depended on by the patient and the patient’s family. These are crucial traits because more often than not, the patient is left entirely in the caregiver’s hands.
8. An excellent caregiver is able to maintain confidentiality. Part of a caregiver’s job is to be privy to a lot of information about the patient and the patient’s family. An excellent caregiver knows how to keep things to himself or herself unless divulging the information is essential for the safety, well-being, and protection of the patient.
9. An excellent caregiver should be physically and mentally fit. Most patients  are often too frail to do everyday things on their own so it is important for a caregiver to have the physical strength or stamina to assist if the patient needs to move from one room to another.
10. An excellent caregiver is experienced in monitoring a patient’s vital signs and medications. Knowing how to monitor and interpret a patient’s vital signs is an essential skill, especially if the patient is suffering from a particular medical condition. It is also important to keep track of the patient’s medication and when medicines should be taken.
Being an excellent caregiver involves more than just having adequate training and experience, they possess the above listed qualities and the sincere desire to help their patients to the best of their abilities.
Ike M. Okoye
MD/CEO
Prompt Home Health
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