Caring for the caregiver

1 July 2024

At Nurture Health, we aim to inspire, support and equip our patients to live meaningful, fulfilled lives with their families.

This includes providing medical care, and acute and sub-acute rehabilitation treatment for people with a wide range of temporary or permanent disabilities or impairments caused by illness or injuries.

Every team member is hand-picked for their humanity and expertise, and then trained to work for their unique role in our rehabilitation hospitals.

 However, while our staff have extensive training to perform these healthcare duties, very few of our patients’ families will be in this position.
We know the responsibility that comes with caring for a loved one and the impact this can have. Just as the patient needs attention, it is also important to take “care of the caregiver”.

If you are one of these special people, here are a few pitfalls to watch out for, and tips to help you cope.

Do not burn out

Caring for a loved one can be physically and emotionally exhausting, and there is a danger that you may burn out. There is truth in the adage “you cannot pour from an empty cup“, so make sure to prioritise health and wellness. And remember, you do not have to be the perfect caregiver, you can only do your best.

Be careful of becoming socially withdrawn

If you are the primary caregiver, you may feel that you cannot go out and socialise as much as you did before. Be aware of this, as prolonged isolation may lead to feelings of loneliness or even depression. Ask friends or family to visit, and at least to keep in touch on the phone or online. Be careful also not to become over-protective, as one of the goals of cognitive, physical or neurological rehabilitation is for the patient to achieve as much independence as possible.

Ask for help

This advice goes with the two points above: do not be shy to ask for help. If your loved one needs 24-hour support, then you may need a break from time to time. Among out-patient services, consider respite care, which will give you a chance to rest and refresh, or home nursing.

Financial strain

Ongoing medical expenses can strain finances. You are welcome to ask the healthcare team at Nurture Health rehabilitation hospitals for input, as they have years of experience in dealing with the medical aid schemes and can advise you on the best way forward.

Prepare yourself

When your relative or loved one is discharged and returns home, you may feel apprehensive about what lies ahead. Preparing the home environment will make this transition as smooth as possible, not only for them but also for you. You may need rehabilitation equipment, which sometimes can be hired or borrowed. There also may be modifications to be made, such as installing handrails or a shower seat.

You are not alone

We can’t promise that it will always be an easy road, as there may be accidents, setbacks, or other complications. However, you do not have to walk this road alone: rehabilitation is a multi-layered process, and you are part of a valuable team.
Remember that teamwork is dreamwork and you, as the carer, are a key member of the Nurture Health team.

If there’s a way we’ll find it!