Specialized Home Care » Glossary » Primary caregiver

Primary caregiver

What Is A Primary Caregiver?

A primary caregiver is a person who assists an underaged child or a sick, elderly, or disabled relative at home or care settings for professional caregivers. The patients may require assistance with daily activities and access to health care at home. A primary caregiver can be one of the family members, or family friends, but not hired service specialists. The family member or family friend who can be a primary caregiver does not require educational attainment or professional experience.

A primary caregiver can be a person who fits the following criteria. The first criterion is that the person must be an American resident of a state. The next criterion is that the person must be at least 18 years of age. Another criterion is that the person must have a relative who requires assistance in critical tasks. Lastly, the primary caregiver must be a person that has a designation from the ward’s practitioner.

Responsibilities Of A Primary Caregiver

There are several responsibilities of a primary caregiver or carer when it comes to taking care of a loved one. The first responsibility of a primary caregiver is to help the patient in personal care. Helping the patient in personal care involves assistance with bathing, grooming, toileting, exercising, and other tasks.

The next primary responsibility of a primary caregiver or carer is to do day-to-day tasks like food preparations for the patient. Food preparations involve shopping for and preparing the meals of a loved one.

Another responsibility of a primary caregiver when it comes to taking care of a loved one is to assist with errands. Assisting with errands, such as dropping off mail at the post office, picking up doctor’s prescriptions, providing transportation, and others, are the most common tasks done by a primary caregiver for the patient.

A primary caregiver also has a responsibility to provide general care to the patient. General care includes making sure that the loved one being taken care of is taking medications, getting to all the medical appointments, and keeping in constant communication with the patient’s healthcare provider.

The next responsibility of a primary caregiver is to provide emotional support for the patient’s mental health. Emotional support can be shown by lending a shoulder to cry on or listening to the loved one’s feelings and concerns. The loved one’s personal and emotional health issues, as well as mental health, are also given priority by primary caregivers.

Another responsibility of a primary caregiver is to help a loved one or patient with mobility challenges. Offering assistance to a loved one with mobility challenges include helping getting in and out of the wheelchair or into the shower, and also providing assistance in navigating around the house.

A primary caregiver also has a responsibility to do health monitoring for the loved one. The patient’s vitals and health changes must be kept tracked by the primary caregiver. The primary caregiver should also report the differences to the patient’s health care providers.

One more primary caregiving responsibility in terms of taking care of a loved one is to make financial decisions. Making financial decisions can be very stressful, especially for the loved one being taken care of which is why the primary caregiver is given the task of managing the loved one’s finances.

What Is The Role Of The Primary Caregiver?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has published a study on the roles of primary caregivers of patients. The primary caregiver roles are classified into different domains. The first domain is household tasks. Household tasks include assisting with bills, dealing with insurance claims, managing money, performing home maintenance, doing laundry and other housework, preparing meals, doing shopping, and providing transportation.

The next domain is self-care, supervision, and mobility. Self-care, supervision, and mobility include helping with bathing and grooming, dressing, feeding, toileting, transferring, and getting inside and outside the house. A primary caregiver also supervises and manages behavioral symptoms.

The next domain is health and medical care. Health and medical care involve encouraging a healthy lifestyle, encouraging self-care, encouraging treatment adherence, managing and giving medications, pills, or injections, operating medical equipment, preparing food for special diets, responding to acute needs and emergencies, and providing wound care.

The next domain is advocacy and care coordination. Advocacy and care coordination includes seeking information, facilitating person and family understanding, communicating with health care providers like doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and others, facilitating provider understanding, making appointments, negotiating with other family members on their roles, ordering prescription medicines, and dealing with insurance issues.

Another domain is surrogacy. Surrogacy involves assistance in handling financial and legal matters, managing personal property, participating in advanced planning, and participating in treatment decisions.

Examples Of Primary Caregivers

Examples of primary caregivers, in general, can be a spouse, other relative, neighbor, or friend. These people should provide care without compensation.

Examples of primary caregivers for children are teachers. Teachers are assigned to children based on the children’s parent’s schedules and personality compatibilities, according to the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). The DPHHS is aimed at enhancing the health and well-being of all American citizens through effective health and human services and sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.

A study published in the Monographs of the Society for Research and Child Development journal discusses the roles played by parents in parental caregiving. Parental caregiving is done by mothers and fathers. The results of the study suggest that mothers are generally more likely than fathers to engage in caregiving tasks.

What Is A Primary Caregiver To A Child?

A primary caregiver is crucial to a child in terms of having a special person whom each parent can contact. Being the special person, the primary caregiver is an expert on each child, an advocate, and a coordinator of children’s and parents’ experiences. To ensure a positive experience for children and their parents, the American primary caregiver works with other program staff, according to the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS).

The DPPHS states that primary family caregivers to children should not be exclusive. Children must also develop warm relationships with other staff aside from teachers. Staff members and teachers must also provide caring and learning interactions with children. Primary caregivers of children must not have a powerful influence over children’s and parents’ experiences. The learning experiences for children are not determined by primary caregivers but by leadership staff with training and experience in program planning.

A primary caregiver must possess important qualifications, according to the DPHSS. These important qualifications include sensitivity to children and parents, caregiving skills, and an understanding of the program’s philosophy and practices.

Why Is The Mother A Primary Caregiver?

The mother is a primary caregiver because traditionally, mothers have been cast as caregivers and home managers in the family, while fathers are seen as more powerful and separated from the family, according to a study published in the Monographs of the Society for Research and Child Development journal. The study also mentions that American mothers have served as the primary caregivers of infants and young children. Mothers are more likely to engage in caregiving practices than fathers.

In high-income countries, the study mentions that fathers are more involved with child care compared to mothers. However, because of the absence of equal parenting, American fathers still do fewer child caregiving duties even though they can provide more care for their children. 

What Is Primary Caregiver Tax Credit?

A primary caregiver tax credit recognizes and supports financially individuals who served as primary caregivers for over 90 days. This program aims to keep the recipients of care independent on a long-term basis. Recipients of care may have cognitive, physical, and behavioral barriers, which is why primary caregivers are needed to complete personal care services , homemaking activities, and use community resources.

Primary caregivers who provide unpaid care can claim a flat tax credit of $1,400 per year. The tax credit is eligible for American primary caregivers whose care recipient must be a resident of the state, must live in an area under the jurisdiction of a Regional Health Authority, must reside in a public residence, must be assessed as having care level requirements equivalent to level 2 or higher, and must designate only one primary caregiver or without a secondary caregiver. A secondary caregiver has less responsibilities compared to primary caregivers. Primary caregivers must also be an American resident of the state, should provide caregiving for more than 90 days, and should personally provide care and supervision to the care recipient without reward or compensation.

How Long Is Primary Caregiver Leave?

The primary caregiver leave is different in every state in the United States. It ranges from six to twelve weeks over any 12 or 24-month period. The earnings range from 60 to 90 percent of the primary caregiver’s pay. Primary caregiver leave has a positive effects on caregivers in terms of preventing burnout because of limited leisure activities during work.

The primary caregiver’s leave for the military takes up to 26 weeks per year in order to take care of a family member who is an American covered service member or an American veteran with a serious injury or sickness, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH also states that military caregiver leave is provided once per service member, per serious injury or illness.

For more information on Primary caregiver roles please contact Specialized Home Care to get you the care that is right for you.