People caring for an ailing or ill loved one who is geographically distant face a unique set of caregiving stressors, including guilt, helplessness and worry, according to a study conducted by nurses in the Oncology Nurses Forum, according to the Oncology Nurse Advisor.
These long-distance caregivers often struggle emotionally about when to call or visit the patient, feel concerned about the person's wellbeing, and want more information from the healthcare professionals who are managing the patient's care, the study reports. In addition, the number of long-distance caregivers is expected to grow to about 14 million by 2012.
Those who conducted the study reported that nurses may be able to play an integral role in aiding long-distance caregivers in many of these areas. They can provide information about the disease process, treatment experience and side effects, as well as offer tips on home care, local resources and housekeeping.
The Alzheimer's Association reports that long-distance caregivers can stay involved in the loved one's care process by reaching out to family, friends and neighbors near the patient as well as his or her doctor to stay updated. In addition, the organization says that long-distance caregivers can research home health or medical staffing agencies to help the patient stay safe and healthy.