Heartland Oncology & Hematology

Caregiver's Checklist

This checklist is designed to serve as a reminder of medical, legal and financial concerns caregivers will need to consider when a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.


  • Referral to a physician (neurologist, psychiatrist or geriatrician) knowledgeable about patients disease
  • Complete diagnostic work-up
  • Discussion with the physician regarding what is happening and what to expect
  • Regular medical checkups
  • Determine the individual's current level of functioning
  • Know patients medical history, medications and dosages


  • Learn as much as you can about the disease and caregiving techniques specifically helpful in coping with this disease
  • Identify/attend local support group meatings
  • Attend caregiver training
  • Develop knowledge of community resources
  • Develop caregiving plans, including alternate plans for care of patient in the event of your illness
  • Determine what you are emotionally/physically able to do. Arrange for additonal assistance through family, volunteers, respite care (home health care, adult day care or short-term respite care in a facility)
  • Make the home safe for the patient (accident-proofing)
  • Schedule regular medical care for yourself, reporting any changes in your health to your physician


  • Determine if the patient needs assistance to manage his or her legal/financial affairs
  • Consult an attorney knowledgeable in issues such as Medicaid, Medicare, Guardianships, Estate Planning, Trusts and Advanced Directaves
  • Contact an attorney for advise regarding:
    • Durable Power of Attorney
    • Health Care Surrogate Power of Attorney
    • Living Will
    • Will
    • Trusts
    • Guardianship
  • If documents have been prepared previously, know location and check that they are up to date wiht current state laws.


  • Someone should assume the responsibility for:
    • Checking Account (bill payments)
    • Savings Account
    • Other Assets (Money Market, Stocks, Bonds, CDs)
    • Real Estate and other property (location of deeds)
    • Safety Deposit Box -- Co-signer for box access (location of box and keys)
    • Security Box or home sage (location and key/combination)
  • Review and determine the location of all insurance policies (Medical, Disability, House, Car, Long Term Care, Life Insurance, Cancer Policy, VA.)
  • Check for Waiver of Premium Clause on insurance policies
  • Investigate patient's eligibility for financial assistance programs
  • Determine the amount and source of all monthly income. Are any checks (Social Security, Retirement, etc.) sent via direct deposit?
  • If the patient is reciving Social Security, do you want to be designated as the Representitive Payee?

Funeral/Burial Arrangements

  • Know previously made arrangements for cemetery lot, funeral, etc.
  • Are wishes known regarding burial/cremation?
  • Autopsy arrangements


  • Driving (You must judge when the patient can no longer safely operate a motor vehicle.)