The Importance of Caregivers

Caregiver holding patients hand

Professional caregivers and hospice aides give more than just physical help through their work. They are also there to provide emotional and moral support while always providing a level of comfort to their patients. The end of life stages undoubtedly will be filled with ups and downs that families and patients have to work through. Caregivers are there to help during this emotional process. Whether it be helping with at home tasks which helps families make most of the time left together or simply be there to help the family understand and process the situation, caregivers provide compassion and reassurance for all involved. Caregivers also help discuss all end of life options with their patients and their families. Keeping them well informed, helping them understand all the options and helping see those plans through.

A Deeper Look Into Caregiver Responsibilities

Caregivers will meet many needs during the end of life stage and after death. For starters they provide practical care and assistance which include but are not limited to:

  • Bedside manner
  • Transportation
  • Meal preparation
  • Bathing/dressing
  • Routine activities

Caregivers also always provide not only comfort but dignity. Whether they are being cared for at home, hospital or hospice building, caregivers will be there to ease any discomfort, pain, fears or insecurity for their patients. This is because mental comfort is just as important as physical comfort in the end of life stage.

Besides just the day to day process of comfort and responsibilities, caregivers also help patients navigate and decide end of life options. Whether a burial, cremation, or whole body donation they are there to discuss these options, aid in the process of choosing one and help prepare the necessities for whichever path is taken.

After death, grief support is also provided. Caregivers help prepare for the coming loss and after loss. From feelings of sadness, anger or numbness, your caregiver is there to consult and help you through the grief process. They can also help with a necessary moving of personal effects or completion of paperwork within the patient’s wishes.

All in all, professional caregivers and hospice aides and their relationship with their patients are important. Caregivers are there to bring peace in a difficult time. They are there to make the end of life transition easier, have the patient’s after death wishes honored and help the family with the grieving process. It is important to have open communication with caregivers because they are ready, willing and committed to do anything to help ease this process for patients and family alike.

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Research For Life - Understanding Whole Body Donor Consent

Hello, my name is Garland Shreves, CEO of Research For Life. I want to take a moment to discuss some very basic information with you regarding consent forms, in general, that you may encounter when considering to donate to a whole body donor organization.

First and foremost, you need to understand and read the consent form, also known as the authorization form or document of gift, so you know what you are consenting to.  Ask questions of the organization if you don’t understand something. 

 All states require, under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, that consent be granted by an authorized agent of the donor or self-authorization before death.

Each state defines who in the consenting class has the most authority to direct donation. Such as the medical power of attorney, spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, etc. and differs slightly in each state. 

Consent may be given by means of a verbal recorded consent or by a written document of gift.

Research For Life uses a written consent form which can be found on our website.

Understand that the donor or authorizing agent is giving the body to an organization. Once given it belongs to the organization to use in accordance with the consent form.

In other words, the donor organization is free to use the donor provided it does so within the terms

of the consent, it may not use the donor in a manner not consented too.  

The consent may state how the body may be used.  Educational and/or research purposes or some other purpose may be stated or in the discretion of the donor organization.

Research For Life provides cadavers and/or anatomical specimens for education and research purposes and does not do ballistic testing.

The consent may state that the body will be used in whole or in parts. It may also state that the anatomical parts may be used domestically and or internationally.

And most consents will cover some basic things like consent to test the donor for diseases and order medical records to help best determine the medical suitability for the donation.

The consent may also touch on issues like for profit or nonprofit status and if the donor or anatomical specimens will be used by one or more or both types of entities.  Remember that regardless of an organizations tax status they all charge fees to end users who order anatomical specimens and offer those specimens to both for profit and nonprofit entities.

From the very start of the donation process costs to the donor organization begin. 24-hour answering service, transport team to respond 24/7, qualified trained staff paid a livable wage with benefits and retirement, electric, gas, phone, insurances, building payments, maintenance, medical director, and regulatory requirements, and cremation fees. And these are just some of the expenses that an organization may have to cover.

Another item you may see on most authorization forms is a release of liability, a hold harmless agreement, excluding misconduct of course.  

Research For Life states clearly it will not and donor or agent agrees that Research For Life will not be held responsible for acts of third parties in connection with the donation.

Another item that reduces a donor organizations liability is the Anatomical Gift Act prohibits criminal, civil or administrative actions provided there is no intentional misconduct on the part of the donor organization. In other words, if the donor organization acted in good faith it is immune and provided some protection from lawsuits.

Another important part on a consent form is the person signing the authorization attests (affirms) that they have the authority to direct the donation. The donor organization accepts the authorizing agent’s authority in good faith barring any information known to it at the time of donation that would contradict the authority of the person authorizing donation.    

Remember, should you decide to register, tell your family and friends about your decision.

Also, the donation authorization form is not valid until notarized or signed by two witnesses; one witness must be non-family or disinterested party. 

Consent forms contain other important information that you need to read and understand.

All documents of gift or authorizations can be cancelled prior to death.

I want to thank you for taking the time to watch this video and I hope it helped provide you with some basic information regarding whole body donation consent forms.  Thank you.