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Caring for the Family Caregiver

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Case Study: Millie Larsen 

Millie Larsen is an 84-year-old Caucasian female who lives alone in a small home. Her husband Harold passed away a year ago and she has a cat, Snuggles, who is very important to her. Millie has one daughter, Dina Olsen, who is 50, lives nearby, and is Millie's major support system.  Millie is diagnosed as having delirium.  Her mental status starts to clear after treatment of a urinary tract infection but almost falls walking to the bathroom. A discussion ensues regarding discharge plans and Dina is concerned regarding Millie’s ability to manage at home. 

1. Utilize the caregiver preparedness tool to assess Dina’s readiness to take her mother home. 

  • How would you interpret the results of the Preparedness for Caregiving Scale?
  • What areas of concern do you have for Dina in caretaking her mother at home?
  • How can you best support the caregiver to prepare for successful transition to home?
  • Develop a teaching guide and action plan to help Dina recognize and begin treatment of delirium in her mother should it occur again. 

2. Develop a plan of care for offering Dina Olsen resources as she as she participates in discharge planning for her mother who has a resolving delirium and is functionally not quite back to her baseline. Look at the resources provided by American Association of Retired People (AARP) as providing valuable information to Dina as she plans her mother’s care.

3. Consider the following questions as you think about the needs Dina Olsen may have now as a caregiver and how these needs may change based on her mother’s diagnosis of delirium. 

  • How would you start to assess Dina’s needs as her mother’s primary caregiver
  • How would you collaborate with Dina and Millie to negotiate resources considering the risks and benefits of interventions
  • How might you initiate a conversation with Dina about caregiving? How would you access her readiness to accept resources such as those provided by AARP?
  • Prioritize 5 resources on the AARP caregiver resource page that you would refer Dina to as she plans care (see link below)

 4. Look at the AARP caregiver resource page:

 5. Legal Planning 

  • What legal planning do you anticipate may be needed for Dina and Mille in the future?
  • What are the parameters of a power of attorney? A medical power of attorney? A legal power of attorney?
  • How would you initiate a conversation between Dina and Millie regarding advanced directives?
  • What are the components of advanced directives? 

6. Self-Care 

  • How can you help Dina think about a caregiver team?
  • What signs of burnout might you expect to see in caregivers like Dina?
  • What resources do you think may be helpful to alleviate caregiver burnout?

7. Planning and Organizing

  • How would you define a caregiver strategy?
  • What are the considerations in hiring in home help? How is this financed?
  • Look at the 12 Resources Every Caregiver Should Know About and identify what organizations may be helpful to Dina as she plans care: 

- What important documents are vital as Dina plans care for her mother?
- Investigate the AARP app as a means of helping Dina to organize care for her mother

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