Caregiver Contest Runner Up Tina: Care for the Caregiver

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
03/08/18  1:18 PM PST
Care for the Caregiver

Tina R. is from California. Photo of her coming soon. Tina is currently working in Home Health with a goal to be certified in wound and ostomy management by the end of this year. Besides spending time with her family, Tina enjoys running, yoga and meditation. After receiving the email informing her of her win, Tina wrote, “Wow! I can’t believe I won! What an honor, thank you!”

What advice would you give a fellow caregiver?

Care for the Caregiver

Caregiving for a family member or client is a challenging job that requires an ability to empathize, problem solve, troubleshoot and improvise. The most successful caregivers are resilient, task-oriented and have a good amount of patience. As a registered nurse in Home Health, I interface with caregivers every day. Caregivers are the point person for the Home Health nurse and are always included in the care plan. I tell my patients and caregivers on an almost daily basis, “If we lose our caregiver, where will we be?” Caregivers are fundamentally important to the plan of care for all patients.

No matter how calm, skilled and resilient the caregiver is, caregiving is a stressful job with a high burnout rate. Caregiving often requires around the clock availability with little or no time off. When a family member cares for a loved one, there is often no one else to fulfill the role of caregiving. In this case, I often check in with the caregiver and ask them what they have done for enjoyment recently. It is important that caregivers get even small breaks where they do something that is just for them.  All of us need to do things on a regular basis that we enjoy and that allow us to fully relax.

When we feel responsible for another person at all times it is difficult to achieve any sense of relaxation. I advise caregivers to pull in friends, family, church members and utilize community resources to ensure that they get the time off they need to relax and take care of themselves.

Caregiver role strain is a common nursing diagnosis and is one of the reasons that patient outcomes and goals are not met.

Caregivers have to realize that they are only human but are often trying to perform a super human task. I advise caregivers to make a list of their resources and to use them. Today a patient’s caregiver asked about continence supplies in a state of frustration. She stated that she is having to place a sanitary pad inside the patient’s brief in order to absorb the amount of urine that the patient has been producing between changes. I reminded the patient of her Shield resource. I suggested that she call Shield and explain the problem she is having with the products she is currently using. I assured her that Shield would assist her in finding the right products for our patient’s continence needs. The caregiver expressed immediate relief that the solution could potentially be so easy.

Caregivers are the foundation for patients who are trying to stay at home and live their lives to the fullest. Because of this, caregivers must also be cared for. In my career as a nurse I have the utmost respect for caregivers and make every effort to provide whatever support I can to assist them in their important role. I am grateful to Shield because I always get the support and information that I need to provide my patients and caregivers with the wound, ostomy and continence supplies needed to simplify and improve their quality of life.

Click here to return to the contest home page and read more winners’ advice.

Winners were selected by a panel of independent judges, including: Sandra Mitchell, Award-winning KCAL 9 news anchor and breast cancer survivor, and the Landers family: actor and comedian David Landers (“Laverne & Shirley”) who is living with MS, his wife Kathy and his daughter Natalie (“The Middle”). Click here to learn more.

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