Principles of Good Caregiving

As a caregiver in a nursing home, it is your responsibility to help the residents you are assigned to stay happy, healthy and active in daily living. They may rely on you to get them in and out of bed, help them to the toilet and bath, administer medication and provide a quality of life that is still worth living.

It’s Your Workplace, But Their Home

As a caregiver, your job, in part, is to connect with your residents on a personal level. While you may be at work 40 or more hours a week, your residents are in the nursing home all day long, every day.

While it is human nature to have an off day or not look forward to going to work, remind yourself that your workplace is your residents’ home.

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Understand Their Health Conditions

Your role as a caregiver often involves emotional support, as well as physical and medical support. To best home care your residents, it is helpful to understand their illnesses. This will help you empathize with them, understand what behaviors and changes to expect and even help them understand the changes they are experiencing.

As a caregiver, you are a primary member of your residents’ medical support team. As the person who provides the day-to-day support, you will notice changes faster than doctors or nurses that only see the residents once a week or every few months.

It’s Not Personal

There will be days that one of your residents says and does things that are difficult not to take personally, and you will have some residents that are rarely pleasant. As challenging as their behavior and communication methods may be, remember that it is not personal.

The challenging behavior your residents display is most often due to their pain level, loneliness and conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. However, you will have many moments when your residents’ gratitude will overwhelm you with joy.

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Respect Their Privacy

When you are in the comfort of your own home, you have a sense of privacy you can’t achieve anywhere else. When a resident moves into a nursing home, they go from having a home with multiple rooms to one small room they may share with one or two other residents.

While they may need you for the activities of daily living (ADL), give them the respect of providing as much privacy as you can make available. This is of particular importance when someone is new to a nursing home and is grieving their loss of independence.

Balance Your Schedule

Being a caregiver can be both physically and emotionally exhausting, so it is important that you maintain work-life balance. Make time each week to squeeze in activities that are fun, relaxing and reduce your level of stress. If you feel as if you are burning out, contact your human resources department to inquire about the support they offer.

There are many life circumstances that bring people to nursing homes. Whether a person’s stay is short- or long-term, your role as a caregiver is to provide them with the support they need to recover and maintain their health.

Byline: Thomas Brimley specializes in issues concerning elderly folks, such as Elder Abuse, Retirement Communities, Medical Care and others as well. He recommends checking the site at for getting the quality home care or elderly care services.