In the midst of all the emotions that follow a spinal cord injury (SCI), you must also determine who will care for the person in the days that follow discharge from the hospital or rehabilitation. Caregivers may be hired help, or a family member or friend. Before you commit to taking on the role of caregiver, it is important to address some of the concerns that you may have or will have in the future.
Before determining who should serve as the main or primary caregiver to your loved one, you should consider some of the aspects of your own life.
- Are you mentally and physically healthy enough to manage another person’s advanced and possibly around-the-clock care?
- What are some of the doubts you have about taking care of a loved one with an SCI?
- Are you financially able to leave your job to take on the role of a full-time caregiver? Or, are you able to work and be a caregiver?
While your loved one is in the hospital and early stages of rehab, their healthcare team will likely take on much of their care. Your first experience as caregiver will most likely come during your loved one’s rehabilitation stay. While your loved one’s rehabilitation team will still take the lead during this time, there are things you can do to address some of your concerns or concerns that you may have in the future.
- Get involved with their learning. Help them as they develop new skills.
- Make yourself aware of what your loved one can do by themselves and what they need help with.
- Find out what you will need to do when your loved one is able to come home. Will you need to help them with toileting and showering? Will they need assistance eating or drinking?
It is essential when taking on the role of full-time caregiver to remember to take time out for yourself. Keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy will help you and your loved one in the long run.
Remember, too, that while it may seem easier and quicker at times to do certain care activities and tasks without the recommended equipment, it can result in you injuring yourself during these everyday tasks. The continuity of care that you provide to your loved one could be affected while you recover. Be sure to use the prescribed and recommended equipment – such as safe patient handling devices – and that the equipment is in good working order. Report any equipment concerns to the provider as soon as possible.
Source: www.webmd.com, Accessed: 9/7/17