Caring for Yourself

Hospice care can be very draining physically and psychologically. Caregivers must keep their own needs in mind and learn to take care of themselves while taking care of others.  It is easy to get “burned out” when working in Recognize the stress.  Just realizing how stressful it is to work with clients who are dying is a first step toward caring of yourself.  Talking with a counselor about your experiences at work can help you understand and work through your feelings.  Remember, however, you must keep clients’ specific information confidential.  Your supervisor may be able to refer you to a counselor or support group.

Take good care of yourself. Eating right, exercising, and getting enough rest are ways of taking care of yourself.  Remember to care for your emotional and spiritual health, too.  Talk about and acknowledge your feelings. Take time out to do things for yourself, such as reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or whatever you enjoy.  Spiritual needs may be met by attending religious services, reading, praying, meditating, or just taking a quiet walk.  Meeting your needs allows you to best meet other people’s needs.

Take a break when you need to. Find ten minutes to sit down and relax or stand up and stretch. These ideas may be enough of a break in some situations.  There may come a time when the demands of hospice care are too great.  You may need to request a change of assignment from your supervisor.  Do not feel guilty about doing this when you need to.