23 August 2008

Carer & Caregiver

Here's an article I help my mother worked out. You should read it if you're into this kind of field.

Carer or Caregiver

Caregiver or carer can be anybody who takes responsible to care for a patient when he/she is sick or struck with disabilities.

The person can be a family member, like brother, sister, father, mother, uncle or auntie. The person also may be a relative, friend, colleague, classmate, church members or maid, even a stranger as well.

The caregiver is the person who spends time, put in effort to help a patient during his/her recovery period. He/she needs to sacrifice himself/herself for this noble deed. This is a pain taking task, it can be a paid job or it can be only free or volunteer service. It can be very rewarding if the patient recovers, it can also make you distress with the disappointment from the patient’s demand and poor progress.

Family member is usually the main caregiver. When a family member falls ill, the impact on the family is great. The main concerns are:

  1. What happens?
  2. Why he/she is the one?
  3. How he/she will face it?
  4. Where is the best place to get treatment?
  5. Who will bear the medical bill?
  6. When will he/she get well?
  7. Who will take care of him/her?

If it is a short term illness which is treatable e.g.: appendicitis, pneumonia, benign growth etc, the recovery is fast. During this short difficult period, the family members and friends are able to pay attention to the patient. But, if the patient is having chronic problems like after a stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury who needs long term treatment with slow progress to recovery, those people who are supposed to offer help, may turn away due to the burden.

Caregiver has to see to the following needs of a patient:

  • Informational
  • Spiritual
  • Household
  • Personal
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Recreational
  • Financial and others

As a caregiver, you need to know the ability to:

  • Shift role flexibly
  • Communicate freely
  • Observe the physical functions
  • Tolerate disability
  • Learn the abnormality or warning sign of patient’s situation
  • Tolerance of stress
  • Deal with body products or surgical wounds

A nurse in the hospital is always the trainer for the carer. She has to equip the carer/caregiver while the patient is still staying in hospital.

A nurse needs to have good rapport with the patient and carer. This will smoothen the process while guiding the carer/caregiver.

A carer/caregiver needs to stay in, with the patient, to be involved in the daily activities while patient stays in hospital. She has to work hard in hand with the medical team so that she will be familiar with her duty once patient is discharged home.

Take care of yourself

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat sensibly
  • Light music
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Get relief when necessary
  • Keep in touch with friends, relatives and neighbours who are good listeners to ease off your tension.
  • Anger management

As a caregiver or carer, you must take a break when it is necessary, not only to reward yourself but a retreat will make you a better carer/caregiver. A burn out carer/caregiver will not be a happy carer/caregiver.

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