Your Roles as Caregiver
Understanding the Nature of Illness and Treatment: You
and your care recipient must understand the nature of illness. This
is crucial for both of you to participate in all treatment and care. Knowing
the side-effects of medications, for instance, will help you to recognise
adverse reaction promptly. You have the responsibility to question your
doctors when in doubts. Be an educated caregiver. Reading on the related
illness and treatment will further
broaden your understanding.
Involve the Person in His Care:
Encourage the person to be as independent as he can. You
have to assess the level of care required because the person may
only need partial assistance. Assuming full responsibility in his activities
of daily living is not going to help in his recovery. You should
also encourage and support the to communicate with his
healthcare professionals and when necessary intervene on his behalf. Do not just focus on positive
outcomes. Sometimes you have to
be realistic when you speak with
your care recipient. You have to
exercise your judgment, in that
given situation, on what to say
and what not to.
Build Up Your Confidence: Nursing skills are best learned
by practice. You may be new in performing some tasks, nevertheless
you should take every opportunity to learn and brush up your skills.
Get the nurses to supervise you and allow return demonstrations until
you are comfortable in doing it yourself. Your confidence and competency
in handling any procedures is important not only for the person's safety
but also to win his trust on you.
Ensure Your Care Recipient's Privacy:
Always preserve the person's dignity by ensuring privacy when
rendering your care. When performing any procedures that requires
to be undressed, never expose him unnecessarily. Towel or blanket,
for instance, can be used to cover the person's lap when using a commode.
In addition, do not reveal or share
the person's information without
his consent, even to close
Plan Your Care:
there are a few caregivers, schedule your duties. Make a list of the
tasks required in the care.
A time-table for the day is also
useful for every member to
follow. Each one can
take their turn in caring, with perhaps one member of the family taking
overall responsibility. Also identify a family doctor
who can help you with the long-term medical care. He will also be
able to help you to decide on the best way to manage your care recipient.
the consistency of care.
Carry Out Instructions Punctually
and Exactly as Ordered: All prescribed treatments such
as medications, ryles' tube feeding, changing of wound's dressing etc,
has to be carried out punctually. The implications for not doing
so could cause irreversible harm to the person. Be firm about
any medical instructions you have been asked to carry out. You have
the full responsibility to ensure that all treatments are given at your
best capabilities. If you are afraid of forgetting the schedules,
write them down in a time-table. Also keep a note book to remind
you of any follow-up appointments.
Be Patient and Comforting:
When attending to the person needing care, before you begin any procedure,
explain what you are going to do, what is required of him and
how you will help. This is important to alley his anxiety and
to gain co-operation. You may need to reassure the person or
repeat an explanation if necessary. Do not be in a hurry. Your movements should
be gentle and calm whether or not a person can respond; a stroke person,
for example, may be unable to speak but will be aware of your mood and
your concern for his welfare.
Be Discreet and Observant:
Watch the person's progress so that you can report any changes
to the healthcare professionals. Make it a habit to record and report
any abnormalities you have
observed to your
assume any signs and symptoms
presented as expected outcomes
of treatments. In any cases, do not alarm the
person by your observations.
Work as a Team:
Team working with all caregivers, including your healthcare
professionals and community
services, is important. Sharing
of information with your team
members, such as discussing the
person's condition or reporting
an observation, will ensure that
your care recipient receives the best
possible care. If condition allows, feedback
to him his progress so that he understands and appreciates the treatments
Breed Resentment: Your care recipient is likely to be more self-centred
due to his illnesses and hence may make unkind or hurtful remarks
on you. Even you know that he may not mean to hurt you, it is better
to tell him if he is upsetting
you. Keeping your feelings
hidden will soon breeds
resentment. Also learn to be
tolerant when the person is difficult to help or is slow to perform everyday tasks.
Remember that your assistance and company is very valuable to someone
who is ill. Always speak to
the person in his presence, not about him. Careless conversations
over an unconscious person are sometimes clearly heard by that person.
Hearing is thought to be the last senses to fade.
Practise Good Hygiene: Be clean and
tidy, both in your person and in the way you work. Proper
washing is important. Always
wash your hands before and after a procedure that involves direct or
indirect contact with the person, after contact with any wastes or contaminated
materials, before handling any food or utensils, or at any time hands
become soiled. Avoid wearing accessories such as jewelleries or
wrist watch because it provides a place to cultivate microorganism and
may also scratches the skin of the person who you render care.
Care Recipient's Interest Comes First:
If you find that you can no longer manage the person,
let him know rather than compromising your care. Never
be afraid to admit to having problems or to ask for help.
is a list of community resources
that may be useful to you.
If you just need a listening
ear, here are some
provided by voluntary welfare
organisations in Singapore.
Know What are the Resources
Available to You: There are
various resources in Singapore
that are useful to caregivers. You must know
what are the resources available
and where you can locate them.
Keep a list of the contacts
that are relevant
quick reference. You may refer
here for more
services from voluntary welfare
organisations in Singapore.
by commercial companies, please
Nursing Services and
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to Ask When a Treatment is
When a treatment, procedure or test is
recommended to your care recipient, there are some questions you
should ask your healthcare professionals:
Why is this
treatment, procedure or test being
recommended at this time?
Is this treatment, procedure or test
absolutely necessary? What are some of the other options available?
What are the risks and benefits from the
test, treatment, or procedure?
What are the implications if is not done?
How long will the test, treatment, or
How soon will the results of a test be in?
How much will this cost, and how much
is covered by Medisave or insurance?