Caring for a Family Member

Ideas on Caring for a Family Member Who Just Had Surgery

The process of taking care of people who have just undergone surgical procedures can be challenging to unprepared individuals. The complications arising from the surgical stimuli are just not limited to pain and immobility. The patients require close monitoring with the frequent assessment of the vitals and psychosocial support; some patients also require support during micturition and defecation since most of them are immobile, in aseptic cleaning of the wounds, and feeding with patient-friendly foodstuff.

Get the necessary education to help

The patients also require education to give them information on self-care, mental health, and personal and social lifestyle. Postoperative care arrangements need to be formulated and documented to help optimize the patient and assist in faster healing and return to normalcy. The home-based caregivers also need to be educated on the basics of post-operative care, the fundamentals of mental health and psychological support, and how to manage medical or surgical postoperative complications like infection.

Be prepared for the task

The events that surround surgery, recovery, and return to normalcy may not be a smooth ride for most individuals. Watching your loved one’s struggle to return to normal physiology and pre-morbid functionality can be depressing for many caregivers and thus it is recommended that they be mentally and physically prepared for the task.

Have the right equipment

The home-based caregivers should be well equipped with gadgets and medications that are vital for postoperative care, especially if the patient is on home-based postoperative care. Some of the gadgets essential for home-based care, for instance, automated blood pressure machines, medical IV pole, glucometers, just to mention a few, are easily available and are also relatively affordable.

Caregivers give of their time

The caregivers require a lot of their time to take care of these patients, they sacrifice their responsibilities and take up the jobs and duties of these patients until the time when the doctors approve the resumption of duties and responsibilities.

What can make it easier?

Some of the ideas that can make it easier to care for a family member or other individuals who have just undergone surgery are broad and involve taking into note the patient factors, the factors surrounding the caregiver, and the environment in general. The whole process requires adequate preparations and arrangements with the surgeon and the hospital team. Some of the ideas include:

  1. Financial preparations – since the process involves the use of a lot of resources and funds, it is vital to inform the caregiver on the expected financial expenditure and repercussions and advise them to prepare adequately. The caregivers need to purchase several consumables, medications, and feeds that are relatively expensive and are sometimes required daily. In severely debilitated individuals, it is recommended that emergency funds are raised to be used in cases of emergency.
  2. Make the house recovery ready – In cases that are going to involve home-based postoperative care, the caregivers are required to make arrangements to optimize the house and make it recovery ready in that it is conducive for the stay of the patient. The caregiver needs to put in place strategies that are going to cause less physical trauma, be conducive for the mental and psychological well-being of the patient, be hygienic to avoid possible infection of the surgical wounds, and be able to promote the recovery of the patient.
  3. Take important contacts and addresses – the postoperative period is accompanied by several unpredictable events some of which can be life-threatening and pose a great risk on the health of the patient. It is recommended for the caregiver to document the important contacts, for instance, of the surgeon seeing the patient, the nutritionist, the psychologist, and sometimes the contacts of the emergency department of the hospital.
  4. Take up the duties and responsibilities of the patient – Arrangements should be made on how the house chores and domestic duties and responsibilities will be done or delegated. Some of the duties involve laundry, cooking, and general tidiness. The caregiver is also involved in planning the nutrition and diet of the patient that should be patient-friendly.
  5. Make a plan or schedule – this is the most vital aspect of postoperative care since effective postoperative care requires proper scheduling. This helps the caregiver plan their schedule effectively, save on time, delegate duties, and can help in cases where certain medications are supposed to be administered at a specific time. Proper scheduling will also allow for proper planning and scheduling of postoperative clinics and reviews that are conducted by qualified medical personnel.

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