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Valuable advice from suprima

It means big changes for you and your family if a loved one becomes dependent on care. Especially those family members entrusted with the care often experience a lot of emotional stress. Pity and the desire to help can alternate with times of helplessness, anger and sadness. It is therefore very important to get the support you need in good time and all the information available about the illness in question and about remedial measures. Over time, more awareness about the right way to deal with a care recipient and relevant communication can be developed. The important part here is that the hours spent together can still be enjoyable despite the illness.  Here we offer a couple of tips that may help you in your work caring for a family member or patient:

  • Why not register for a carer course if you are unsure or feel stressed? There you will gain knowledge and learn how to correctly handle patients to give you the confidence you will need looking after your patient. Some nursing care insurers, charitable organisations and health insurance medical services offer free courses for family members of care recipients. 

  • Choose the living environment for your patient wisely to ensure that all rooms and utensils are within easy reach.

  • Wherever possible, install hand grips in the bathroom or by the bed to help patients with mobility issues.

  • Medical aids, care products and medication should always be within reach of the patient.

  • Protect your own clothing and the bedding of your patient. Disposable bibs or mattress protectors can be very helpful tools. 

  • Ensure your patient’s psychological comfort as well. Simple aids can help incontinence patients to never feel uncomfortable because of wetness or malodours. 

  • Maintain a routine for body hygiene, medication and rest periods. These will help the patient to manage their time and gives them a feeling of security. 

  • Plan your care schedule in advance to avoid a rush and stress. It will make the whole experience a better one for you and for your patient.

  • Choose your words carefully when communicating with your patient. Don’t give false hope and avoid hurting your patient’s feelings. Approach your patient with respect, praise and affirmation. 

  • Don’t address your patient from behind or from another room. That could – specifically in patients with dementia – lead to confusion, because their field of vision may be severely restricted. 

  • It is important to always speak openly and truthfully to the patient about his or her health situation. Don’t hide anything, but still think about approaching certain topics gently.

  • Don’t ask questions with multiple possible answers like “Do you want tea or coffee?”. It is always better to offer up the choices directly for the patient to select. This will be less trying for your patience. 

  • Never talk about future outlooks with dementia patients. “Our daughter will be coming next week”, is information your patient will not be able to process correctly, because of the loss of future orientation. 

  • Schedule a little time every day for activities beyond physical care. That might be a little conversation, a walk in the park or working on a crossword together.

  • Try to stimulate your patient into activity! Motivation and autonomous activities are very important for rehabilitation. Help your patient by all means, but don’t do everything for them! 

  • Be positive! Please remember that someone, who is ill, will have a negative outlook on life and be under stress and may even be scared.

  • Watch your patient’s behaviour and body language. That will make it easier to recognise needs and wants and improve overall well-being.

  • A simple human touch says more than a thousand words! Don’t forget that little kind gestures like stroking a hand or a hug can go a long way and can help alleviate suffering.

  • And don’t forget – you are not alone. There is a lot of help out there for you aside from your neighbours or family members. Local charitable organisations can help you find volunteers to assist in looking after your patient. Meals on Wheels services can deliver wholesome meals to your doorstep. You can get a household helper to go shopping for you, do the laundry and clean to take some of the workload away from you. 

  • It is also very important to get help quickly in case of an emergency. An emergency call system in the home of the patient may be a worthwhile investment. This would entail the patient wearing a radio emitter with an emergency call button around the neck or arm at all times. In some cases, the health insurance may cover all or part of the cost. 

Additional pointers:

  • Should you, the carer, ever get sick or simply be in need of a break, then the care insurance will pay up to six weeks a year or hourly wages for a replacement carer.
  • You can also apply for short-term care depending on the level of care your family member requires. The patient will then be cared for in a nursing home for that period of time. 
  • You can alternatively have your family member cared for at an outpatient facility during the day or over night. Depending on the level of care needed, your care insurance will cover a part of the costs. 
  • There are also some hotels that offer short-term care facilities if you are considering going on holidays with your patient. 
  • And then there are rehabilitation clinics for therapy if you yourself are at the end of your tether and in desperate need of a break. There you can learn relaxation techniques or ergonomic work practices to alleviate back pain. 

suprima GmbH does not provide any guarantees that the information provided on this website will have the desired results. We therefore do not accept any liability in that respect. 


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