Taking care of a patient at home is never easy. You have to be on alert at all times and you constantly have to attend to their needs. You cannot leave them to be for more than a certain amount of time, especially if their condition is unstable. My experience with my late grandmother taught me that taking care of someone can really take a toll on your mental health and emotional health. It doesn’t matter even if you are doing it voluntarily and you are willing to give yourself to that person, it will affect you one way or another. Some just have it worse than others. The hardest thing on my part was that everyone had something going on on weekdays, like school and work. No one is at home to take care of her full-time on the weekdays and after we come back, we would be exhausted with the day that we were only able to provide her with the minimum care. Guilt was in everyone’s heart so to help, we hired a maid to take care of my late grandmother. She was used to taking care of patients, so she was very reliable in her job. I learned some tips from her while she stayed with us and here are the top three helpful tips for those who are taking care of a sick individual at home.
Alternate with other people
A person can’t always take care of the sick person all the time. If you have a family or other individual that is helping you with the care, try to alternate with them. For example, after hiring the maid, she did take care of my grandmother every morning during weekdays but at night, sometimes, during the weekdays, we would take care of her and on weekends, when the maid is off, we would also take care of my grandmother. It is how we alternate. The maid has a family to go back to, so it is only fair that on weekends we give her a day off and that is also her time to heal her mind and emotions by being with her loved ones. If we spend too much time taking care of our loved one that is sick without getting a moment to think about something else, we would slowly suffocate. We would wither on the inside and then eventually we would start to either blame the sick person or ourselves. We would wish the circumstances were different or why it happens to us and many more. Taking a little time for yourself to do other things is not something bad. You need it in order for you to keep taking care of them without getting overwhelmed by the situation.
Provide as much comfort as possible
When your loved one is sick, it is only natural that you want to make them as comfortable as possible. If it is necessary, try to find solutions to your problems when it comes to their comfort. For example, when a person is bedridden, to make maneuvering easier, it would be nice if you can buy them a hospital bed. They don’t have to sit up for mealtimes but rather, you can push a button and the bed would move for them. A bedridden person tends to get bed sores because the skin is under pressure when lying for too long. Applying bedsore cream regularly would help with this and at least they don’t have to experience more pain. If your loved one is terminally ill, you can call up Hospice and get some advice on how to further help them. For my situation, Hospice offered us a respiratory machine that helped her breathe because she had difficulty breathing. Providing them with maximum comfort is the best you can do for your loved ones. They are already suffering; we shouldn’t make them suffer even more.
Understand the consequences of your action
Taking care of a sick person will have its challenging moments and you will have to make a decision that can determine the future of this person. When that time comes, try to understand the consequences of that action before deciding on it. Get advice from medical professionals if you are unsure and communicate with your loved one, if possible. For example, if your loved one is diagnosed with an untreatable disease and they only have months to live, a doctor would advise making them comfortable until the day they pass but when you make the decision to go through with treatment, that can possibly make them suffer even more without any guarantee of healing. These decisions are between life and death; you should never take them lightly. Whatever the decision is, think twice and make sure you have fully comprehended the consequences of your decision because it could make all the difference.
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