There are times in life especially during health crisis, when a loved one needs you to be their pillar and support. When a family member falls sick or is recovering from a stay in the hospital, you may need to modify your habits, lifestyle and schedule in order to help them get better.
This might not be an easy change especially if you have a set routine you already follow. Your caregiver role may simply involve checking up on the patient once in a while, or spending considerable time with him or her, taking care of their every need and assisting them with everything from bathing to meals and medication.
You cannot play a helpful role if you don’t know that first thing about being a caregiver. To help out, travel nurse job agency, Gifted Healthcare has put together this comprehensive guide to help people care for their sick, elderly or disabled loved ones at home.
Information is key
Before you can offer your sick loved one the much needed help and support, you have to first know and understand everything about their illness. Knowing more about the illness can help you anticipate your loved one needs and make you feel more in control and capable.
It is important that you ask questions from the doctors and medical specialist in order to fully grasp the scope of the illness and understand how best you can manage it.
Doctors are known for using rather bogus terms, so anyone you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to ask for specifics. If you have a family member who has some form of medical experience or degree, it might be a good idea to involve them in the discussion.
Always be prepared
If you are the sole caregiver to your sick family member, you need to always be prepared for contingencies. Complications can arise at anytime so you need to always have the number for your loved one’s doctors close at hand at all time.
The difference between life and death can be the speed at which a sick person receives medical attention. Apart from help during emergencies, the doctor’s number can come in handy when you need to ask questions or get clarifications on how to proceed in a situation.
Provide a conducive atmosphere
The atmosphere at home will play a huge role in how fast your sick relative gets better. A happy, healthy and bright atmosphere encourages speedy recovery while the opposite will result into complications and relapse.
Ensure that your home is happy at all times. If you have little children around, talk to them about the need to maintain peace and quiet in the home. Invite friends and relatives over for dinner, fun and games and make sure to involve your sick relative in the activities.
It is important however, that you find out from the doctor what kind of activities the patient can comfortable indulge in that would not hurt the recovery process.
Maintain familiar routine
If you are a family that sits together after dinner watching the TV or playing games, continue the fashion. Do not stop your familiar routine simply because you have a sick person in the house as long as it is not detrimental to the healing process.
Your sick relative do not want to feel helpless, neither would he or she want to feel like they are disrupting your system. Keep to your daily routine and involve them as much as the illness will allow. It can be very helpful when your sick relative is part of your routine. It gives them something to look forward to besides the regular medication and examinations.
Have a backup
Taking care of a sick loved one can be overwhelming and tiring. If not well managed, it can result into caregiver burnout as well as emotional and health complications.
It is a good idea to have someone else, maybe a friend or family member that you can call on when you need a break. It is even better if you have someone readily available so that you both can take care of the patient in shifts.
This way, you both have enough time to rest and build up your strength. Caregiver burnout is one of the reasons why it is advised that you engage the services of a qualified home caregiver for your sick loved one. Home healthcare providers are also better qualified and well suited to cater for your sick, aging or disabled relative.
Keep a record
When caring for a sick loved one at home, it is important that you keep records of the situations, medications and detailed home care that you provide. This can be useful if you need to provide information to medical specialists anytime in the future.
In the event that your loved one has to visit the hospital for any purpose, the doctors would want to know how they have been responding to treatments and any decisions you took during the home care. This will help them make an informed and accurate diagnosis. It would also help them decide the next line of action to take.
You will need tons of patience to provide care to your sick family member at home. There are times when it would seem like they are not getting any better and you want to give up. Other times, it will appear as if they do not appreciate your efforts.
All of these should not weigh you down or wear you out. Always remember that you are doing a good thing, and they would do the same for you if the tables were turned.
Take care of yourself
You don’t want to fall sick caring for a sick person. It is important that while you are providing care to your sick relative, you do not forget to take care of your own health.
Eat a healthy diet, have enough sleep and exercise regularly. You need to be healthy to help someone else get healthy. After all, if the caregiver falls sick on the job, who will care for the caregiver.