Becoming a caregiver for someone that has had a recent surgery
The role of a caregiver for someone that had a recent surgery is probably the most important role in the patient’s success to recovery. Having that support system will keep you on track to achieve your goals. The caregiver wears many hats, probably too many to list. There are obviously many levels to being a caregiver. Caring for an Alzheimer’s or cancer patient will require different roles. This article is geared towards those who just had surgery, something that might not be as long term as a cancer patient. It will provide things to consider or expect if you take on the role of caregiver for someone that had a recent surgery.
Are You The Right Caregiver?
Don’t just assume that your spouse would be your best choice as a caregiver. Maybe the role the spouse needs to take is maintaining the home or taking care of the children as opposed the patient. Those roles are just as important. Sometimes a parent/child or friend might be better suited for the job. The decision would need to be made by the patient and at their comfort level.
Seeing someone at their most vulnerable can take an emotional toll on both parties. The caregiver only wants to make them feel better and most times that is not physically possible, however, being there emotionally will help aid in the recovery. When we are in pain, the worst can sometimes come out. It is important going into caregiver role to remember this. When someone is in pain there may be expressions of frustration due to inability to carry out a normal routine tasks. Short temper may manifest itself but this is due to the frustration. Providing the person you care for with emotional support and encouragement will only give the reassurance they need to work hard at their recovery.
Yes, financial commitment. It is a given that the caregiver may have a financial commitment. In most cases, they are not a paid employee. They are a loved one that takes on the role out of genuine care and concern. Most likely the patient and caregiver will both need to take time off work. This can result in lost wages on both ends. They may need help with paying bills, prescriptions, and gas money to get them to and from appointments, groceries or other medically necessary items. Know as many of these costs as you can up front as there will always be unforeseen surprises. There is also the possibility that a hired caregiver may be warranted. Think through these options prior to your surgery and have a solid plan to avoid any lapse in recovery.
Advocating for someone ensures that person has their own personal cheerleader and voice working for them. Knowing you need a surgery is stressful enough and can put your brain on overload. This might result in you overlooking important questions that might need to be asked. Having the caregiver as your advocate can give you a second set of ears to make sure all questions are asked and other options explored. Caregivers can also be there to help lobby for something you need and speak up for you. Most of all, they will need to understand the patients health needs before, during and after surgery.
The Many Hats
As indicated earlier on, a caregiver wears many hats. Here are some possible things that may be required:
⁃Personal nurse to monitor and administer medications and/or changing of dressings
⁃Assist in home physical therapy
⁃Personal assistant for running errands
⁃Companion and comfort provider
⁃ Assistant in personal hygiene such as bathing or dressing
⁃Physical role in helping them get in and out of bed (This can be strenuous and physically demanding)
To make things easier for you, preparing meals in advance that can be easily heated is helpful. Stocking the refrigerator to avoid a trip to the grocery store or already having items necessary such as gauze and tape for the dressings is another way. When possible, delegate jobs out and be sure that you are taking time out of each day for your own mental health break. That is just as important as your loved ones recovery.
Being a caregiver is hard work but also very rewarding. You get to play an instrumental part in the recovery of your loved one. Assisting and nursing them back to their normal selves is usually worth all of temporary inconveniences you may experience!
For more information on 5 steps for a newly diagnosed cancer patient click here: https://www.healthvantis.ca/category/oncology/