Beginning Questions to Ask

Father and son Who are the caregivers in this particular case?
  • Who functions as family in this case? Care recipients may receive care from a variety of people who function as our culture presumes family would – sharing in the obligatory and emotional roles of sharing care with each other
  • What are the distinct needs of caregivers, given their official/legal roles that may include or exclude them from participation in care delivery systems, sharing care information, and sharing in decision making?
What evaluations of the care-recipient’s condition have been done?
  • Are they adequate in your professional opinion?
  • Do family members have the results of those evaluations?
  • What have family members been told by professionals?
  • What do family members understand or misunderstand from the results?
  • To what degree do they accept the diagnosis?
  • What have they learned from informal sources about their loved one’s illness or disability?

What is the etiology of the illness or disability? The common symptoms?

  • What is the expected course or trajectory of that condition?
  • How will care demands likely change over time if the illness or disability progresses?

What is the family context of care?

  • What is the family’s development stage?
  • Who are the primary and secondary caregivers?
  • How much stress and burden are the caregivers suffering?
  • What are the social, cultural and spiritual contexts of the family’s caregiving experience?
  • In what stage of caregiving is the family?
  • What are the logistical, financial and psychological impacts of the illness or disability on the family?