Caring for another person is rewarding, although it can also be frustrating, difficult and challenging. Whether you are a professional carer looking after clients or a kind family member or friend, you need to ensure that you don’t injure yourself in the process of looking after someone else. Here are a few tips.
Protect your back
A carer’s duties will usually incorporate a fair degree of lifting and assisting a patient who has mobility problems. You may have to clean the house on behalf of the person you care for and ensuring that furniture is easy to move will help. One way in which you can make your life easier is to fit castor wheels – like these, from Tente UK – on chairs and beds so that these traditionally cumbersome pieces of furniture won’t present a challenge.
Talk to the physiotherapists
If you are looking after someone who has had a stroke you’ll also be combining a fair degree of therapy with your role. Talk to the patient’s physios about the type of physical treatment that your patient needs and see if you can help aid the stroke recovery process. The physiotherapists can also suggest how you can help yourself by learning how to lift someone properly. For example, learn how to bend your knees when lifting and always have your body weight evenly distributed before you attempt to lift someone from bed to chair, or from lavatory to chair.
Dignity is always important
Before you start any mobility procedure, you should always talk to the patient. Never use a patronising voice. In most cases you will be working with an adult, many of whom have all their faculties and won’t thank you for talking down to them – an infirm body doesn’t denote a feeble mind. The NHS website has some excellent advice for lifting and other procedures for carers. You should also check that your patient is comfortable. Ask them if they need any more cushions or pillows, for example.
Make use of mobility aids
If your patient needs extra help and you’re not physically strong enough to carry out all the lifting tasks single handedly, then get in touch with the Disability Living Foundation. This organisation will be able to put you in touch with other organisations and carers who will be able to advise on additional mobility aids that will make your life, and that of your patient, easier.
Take your patient outside
Just because your patient may have some mobility problems, this doesn’t preclude taking them outside for some fresh air and sun. The Red Cross can lend you wheelchairs and a whole host of other aids that might help both you and your patient. If the access to the property is difficult, see if your patient can get assistance with a ramp or siderails to ensure maximum safety.
Carers needs to possess bucketfuls of common sense as well as the ability to work out solutions for their patient’s needs. If you start by carrying out a risk assessment of what your patient can do you’ll be improving the quality of your their life as well as your own.