COVID-19: Tips for Caregivers

Tony Back, MD, a doctor in Seattle, has very useful and clear tips for caregivers caring for someone with a serious illness during COVID-19.  What you do is so important to the person you care for—so first, Dr. Back and all of us want to shout out a huge thank you. 

Many of you want to know what you should be doing now about coronavirus. And you’re saying, we’re already staying at home. What else can we do? Well, there are three other good things you can do now.

As Dr. Back explains, “I just did these things with a great guy who takes care of his wife who is also my patient. He always shows me pictures of his garden. He said, that wasn’t hard. I feel good, like I changed the batteries in my smoke detector. I said you got it. My three good things took him 10 minutes.”

As Dr. Back explains, here are the three good things: 

  1. Know who their proxy is
  2. Ask about what kind of care is important
  3. Find out what helps them feel safer and stronger

Dr. Back’s gardener had never been a caregiver until a few months earlier. It was nerve-wracking at first. But now, he’s got it, and he is proud of the job he is doing. You can be awesome too. 

We’ve got all this, and more, on a tip sheet. You can find it here

Dr. Anthony Back, MD, is Co-founder of VitalTalk and Co-director of the University of Washington Center for Excellence in Palliative Care

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