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What Are the Duties of a Patient Companion?

July 12, 2023

You’ve probably heard patient companions can transform your or your loved one’s healthcare experience from stressful to soothing just like in-home companion care would. But how? 

What services do patient companions provide that you can’t (or won’t) receive from other health professionals? What are the typical duties of a patient companion? What are common patient sitter job requirements? 

We’ll answer these questions and more in our exploration into the duties of a patient companion. So if you want to be able to make an informed decision for yourself or your loved one, you’ll want to keep reading! 

What Does a Companion Do for the Elderly?

Professional companion services fill a crucial gap in elder healthcare. 

As healthcare providers find themselves stretched thinner by the day, elderly individuals have seen a drop in attentiveness, interaction, and supervision from traditional caregivers both in the home and during appointments and hospital stays.

Patient companions solve this emerging issue by offering compassionate reassurance, an empathetic ear, and positive social interactions.

Patient companions can also enhance elderly patients' health outcomes by providing an additional layer of supervision, making it easier to catch changes in vital signs, abnormal behaviors, or similar warning signs earlier, faster, and more reliably. 

This additional supervision is also beneficial for elderly patients that are likely to attempt to engage in activities that go against their doctor’s recommendations, such as moving, dressing, or accessing the bathroom alone following recent injuries, illnesses, or surgeries. 

By providing easy access to enthusiastic and experienced support, elderly patients and their families can rest easy knowing they’ll be able to address any challenges that arise without unnecessarily risking their health or safety.

What Is the Difference Between a Caregiver and a Companion?

Caregivers and companions both play vital roles in the healthcare ecosystem, but it's important to understand that their primary responsibilities and scope of care differ significantly.

Caregivers, like nurses' aides, nurses, doctors, and similar specialists, provide a range of medical care that can include everything from giving medication and monitoring vital signs to physical therapy, surgery rehabilitation, wound treatment, and more. The treatments and services caregivers provide also typically require advanced education, training, and licensing.

Patient companions, however, are typically responsible for supporting their patients' emotional and mental well-being. 

Instead of focusing on providing direct medical care, patient companions prioritize combatting the anxiety, depression, loneliness, and feelings of isolation that occur at alarming rates while dealing with health issues  - particularly among older individuals. As such, companions are a great option for at-home care. 

Understanding the roles caregivers and companions play in the healthcare system reveals the complementary nature of their efforts. 

On one side of the coin, caregivers work tirelessly to ensure your loved one's injury, illness, or condition improves. 

On the other side of the coin, patient companions provide cheerful, compassionate support that protects your loved one's mental and emotional well-being, streamlining their recovery and setting the stage for successful reintegration into their regular routine at home. 

Together, caregivers and companions provide a comprehensive and holistic healthcare experience that protects, supports, and nurtures your loved one's physical, mental, and emotional health.

What Are the Duties of a Companion Worker?

Companion workers fulfill a wide range of duties that enable patients to enjoy a restful, restorative life at home. 

While service options vary between providers, the majority of professional companion services fall into one of two categories: companionship and personalized non-medical care. Let’s break both of these categories down further to gain a more comprehensive understanding of patient sitter duties. 

Companionship - Health challenges can be stressful, scary, and overwhelming to experience - especially for older individuals. With already alarming rates of loneliness and isolation, the added pressures of recovery and rehabilitation can pose significant risks for elderly patients. Patient companions solve this all-too-common issue by providing engaging conversation, an empathetic ear, and enthusiastic mental and emotional support.

Personalized Non-Medical Care - Patient companions also improve healthcare experiences by providing a more attentive level of non-medical care than patients ordinarily receive from caregivers. Patient companions provide quick, convenient, and friendly access to:

  • Mobility Assistance
  • Dressing, undressing, and grooming
  • Meal assistance
  • Patient Advocacy

What Is a Hospital Companion?

A hospital companion, also known as a patient companion or hospital sitter, provides additional support to individuals that are disabled, elderly, or in need of compassionate supervision during their hospital stay. 

Hospital companions provide services that go beyond medical care by providing emotional support, friendly conversation, and assistance with day-to-day activities. 

These services offer more holistic and balanced healthcare experiences, particularly for individuals with physical, mental, or age-related disabilities, mobility challenges, mental or emotional struggles, or phobias of doctors, hospitals, or needles. 

Hospital companions’ encouragement, physical and emotional support, and ability to provide multi-faceted comfort to patients during nerve-wracking or emotionally draining hospital stays are essential for replacing the loneliness and isolation that often occurs during hospital visits or stays with clarity, confidence, and peace of mind.

How Senior Home Companions Can Help

Since 1992, Senior Home Companions has been facilitating in-home companionship and exceptional care. To learn more about how in-home companionship can benefit your loved one, or to learn more about what we at SHC do, contact us today! After all, when it comes to making the most out of your loved one’s time, it’s essential to get it right.